How long have you been a resident of Grand County, and where do you currently live?
I have lived in Grand Lake for the past 30 years.
Current appointed or elected office(s) and length of holding office:
I began working for the Assessor’s office in 2001. I was elected and currently serve as the Grand County Assessor since 2006.
My wife Kathy and I have been married for 40 years and we have 3 grown children. We are blessed with 5 grandchildren. College/Degree/Employment background: I graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Real Estate and Construction management. Prior to moving to Grand Lake, I worked for Ideal Basic Industries and Johns Manville in corporate real estate. My wife and I built and operated Grand Lake Lanes for 14 years and sold the business in 2001.
Why do you want to be a commissioner? What qualities do you possess that make you a good candidate for commissioner?
I feel strongly that the County has been going in the wrong direction for some time now and a change in leadership is necessary. I am deeply troubled by the lack of communication, the toxic atmosphere in Commissioner meetings, and the dysfunction currently seen throughout many of the county departments. I believe that if you know something is wrong you need the courage to stand up and say so. My experience being on the Grand
Lake Town Board for 18 years, the Grand Lake Fire Department Board for 20 years, and the Grand Lake Planning Commission has given me the managerial, financial, and people skills required to be an effective Commissioner.
In your opinion, what are the top challenges facing Grand County today? How would you address those challenges?
The number one challenge is the current financial situation. Until recently, the county operated on a balanced budget. Approximately 4 years ago they began to spend down the reserves, putting the county at risk. This has to stop! Property tax revenues have been flat for the past several years, and adding to this are the deep cuts in tax revenues from the Henderson Mine. I will look thoroughly at EVERY department and make the necessary cuts and changes to bring the county back to a balanced budget, which will include replenishing our capital reserves. Another key challenge is reestablishing the public’s trust. This can be accomplished through honest and responsible governance. Elected officials are given the responsibility and need to always remember that they were elected to serve society, not themselves.
What steps would you take to help Grand County move toward economic stability?
Grand County has traditionally been driven by three major revenue sources: tourism, agriculture/ ranching and the Henderson Mine. Nearly 70% of property owners are second homeowners. We need to attract people to live here full time and be invested in our communities. We need to encourage additional light manufacturing, promote our unique lifestyle, and work with the state economic development agencies. Get the word out that we have up to date and efficient broadband accessibility to attract those that choose to work from home.
There are a number of mandated programs that must be administered. What priorities would you have for discretionary spending?
I would first investigate what programs/resources we could co-op with other agencies within Grand County, the state, and the federal government. I would prioritize people over things, we need to serve our citizens first.
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?
It is imperative that we expand the communication process with all communities. As a prime example, with the current situation with the mine, it will have a major impact on the west end, but will also have an impact for the east end (school enrollment, EMS, libraries. etc). These major decisions must be discussed with all parts of the county and done so in a timely and open manner. No more meetings in secret. We need to expand community workshop meetings to fully understand each community’s individual needs.
What promises do you have for your constituents if you are elected? A chicken in every pot, or is it “pot” with every chicken?
Seriously, as commissioner I intend to seek solutions from everyone; elected officials, appointed department heads, employees AND most importantly the public we serve. One of the key attributes of a Commissioner is open and honest communication. It is critical that the Commissioners have the managerial expertise and people skills to guide and manage the County while maintaining a positive report with the public. I am honest, have strong moral principles, and hold myself to the highest ethical standards. I will treat each person with the dignity and respect they deserve.