The Spokesman-Review

Mayors’ stories: Sandi Bloem, Coeur d’Alene

Sandi Bloem, 66, is mayor of Coeur d’Alene and a small-business owner.

Her mentor: My maternal grandmother, Clara Dingle, was a strong woman but a true lady. She graduated from college, which was unusual for women of her generation. She played basketball in college at Washington State, and later she would put on her hat and go to work in ways that women didn’t then. My family was in the hardware business. She said, “As much as I like selling hammers and nails, I’m going to carve my own place here.” So she ran a gift shop in the hardware store.

What she still uses: My grandmother was a team player. The first picture I put in my office was her team at Washington State. It was never about her individually, but the team she was on. I try to do things in teams, too.

How she passes it on: If there was criticism, she would say: “I believe in what I’m doing. I can let it go if it is not something I should own.” I tell young people: “All your life you’ll hear negative comments about you. There will be times people won’t agree with you – that starts in the first grade when you are in the playground – but don’t let them drain your bucket.”

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