Chas McConnell – Republican District 1 Commissioner Candidate



How long have you been a resident of Grand County, and where do you currently live?

I have lived in Grand County for 36 years. I currently live in the Fraser area – Winter Park Ranch – in a house I personally built in 1993.

Current appointed or elected office(s) and length of holding office:

I do not currently hold any elected or appointed offices.

Family/Family Life:

I have been married to my beautiful wife, Ann, for 25 years. We are blessed with two fantastic kids: our son Lucas is a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Aerospace Engineering and our daughter Kaitlin, is an honor roll sophomore at Middle Park High School.

My passions are anything outdoors: skiing, hunting, fishing, spending time on a horse. I am also passionate about our communities and remain committed to provide whatever assistance I can to help the many non- profit organizations in our county.

College/Degree/Employment background:

I graduated from California University of Pennsylvania in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. My field of study was Printing Technology with a minor in Business Administration. I have owned and operated McConnell Printing, Inc. in Winter Park for the past 27 years.

Why do you want to be a commissioner? What qualities do you possess that make you a good candidate for commissioner?

Grand County is in desperate need of strong leadership. For many years, Grand County has not approved a realistic budget. Understating revenues and overstating expenditures made forecast budgeting impossible and has contributed to our state of financial distress.

I have developed a strong business background by starting and operating a business in Grand County for the past 27 years. I understand the challenges and rewards of making a living in Grand County. I have employed many people over this time. I know how to manage employees as well as a budget. I have a deep understanding of how Grand County Government works (and doesn’t work). I am committed to improving our county and am willing and able to make the hard decisions that will be needed going forward.

In your opinion, what are the top challenges facing Grand County today? How would you address those challenges?

Number one is addressing the Budget. Number two is getting back the trust of the citizens, who have every reason to not trust Grand County government. I would address these concerns by always making sure I have all of the information needed to make an appropriate and informed decision; remove the emotion and look at all of the facts. I strive to always be fair and honest in any decision. Having the upmost respect of every citizen and every county employee is a key to success. I feel transparency is the only way to rebuild the trust of the citizens and feel that all commissioner meetings should be conducted in public and properly recorded as such.

What steps would you take to help Grand County move toward economic stability?

A zero based budget to start, don’t spend more revenue than is brought in, pretty simple. Every family in Grand County lives by a budget, the county should too. In the long term, we must rebuild the county’s reserves.

There are a number of mandated programs that must be administered. What priorities would you have for discretionary spending?

Every bit of discretionary spending will need to be addressed. We are on the edge of a financial cliff. Good, sound, fundamental financial decisions must be made. Our future depends on it.

Grand County has several distinct communities. How do you plan to help communities maintain their identities and yet work together on issues of countywide interest?

The first thing, and most important, is that I understand that we have very distinct parts of Grand County with differing needs in their communities. A rancher in Kremmling may not have a lot in common with a ski lift operator in Winter Park. However, we are all similar in our love of Grand County. We must have respect for each other. I believe that we need to all work together for the greater good of Grand County. If we can improve the overall well being of Grand County, all of its citizens will benefit.

What promises do you have for your constituents if you are elected?

Our county is in crisis and we need strong leadership; one who is not afraid of research, not afraid to ask the difficult questions or make the hard decisions. We need to reevaluate the current policies to identify and create efficiencies. We must ensure that our internal controls are effective. We must rebuild the trust of the community through transparency, honesty and integrity. We need to establish a realistic zero based budget that adequately provides the services expected by our citizens. We need to protect their investment in our community and rebuild our reserves for the future.

You can rest assured that I will do all that I can possibly do to be a strong leader for all of you. To work diligently to set our county back on the right track and moving forward.