Andy Miller – Democratic District 1 Commissioner Candidate


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

40 years, past 20 in the town of Fraser

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

Fraser Town Trustee, 2 years

Family/Family Life:

Two sons.  Forest, CSU Mechanical Engineering major, Navy vet, 28. Skyler, operates a forest management business, Steamboat, Milner – 25.

College/Degree/Employment background:

Denver native, Grand County adventures began at Miller’s Idlewild Inn, the family ski lodge built in 1946 by my father, Woody, and Uncle Dwight and Aunt Jean.

BA in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, taught in the Cherry Creek, Jefferson County, and Lander, Wyoming schools. Director of Fraser Day Care (now the Creative Learning Center), later founded and directed the Corona Education Center for Children, a parent co-op childcare.

Political Editor of the Winter Park Manifest, seven years covering town and county (Commissioner) beats and wrote Cops and Robbers.

2000, General Contracting business, M3 Property Service. Community projects include the Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado River pedestrian bridge and many innovative houses and crawl spaces. Since 2014, Fraser Town Trustee.

Other county experiences include: miner at the Henderson Mine, member of the first Board of the Grand County Housing Authority, construction of the first trails in Devil’s Thumb Cross Country system, “Pearl Diver”, Home James Taxi, Equipment Manager for the Winter Park Nordic Jump Program, and Planning Director for Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails (establishing the groomed Nordic trail from Fraser to the Ski Area).

Exploration adventures along the way – Base Camp Manager, McGuire North

Pole Expedition, four field seasons in the Juneau Icefield Research Program – completing the second 120-mile crossing of the Icefield.

Other projects: Demolition of the 30 by 60 foot Winter Park Railroad station to build first home, built the High Lonesome Hut – your cabin in the woods for the past 20 years.

In 1996 founded the non-profit Grand Huts Association, facilitated the 17-year USFS permit process culminating in the Broome Hut. The Hut required helicopter construction and 10,000 hours of volunteer time and is now enjoyed by countless hikers, skiers and snowshoers. Part of the process involved spearheading the passage of a new Colorado Statute allowing for rooftop collection of rainwater.

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

Our fine community has afforded me many challenges; I look at this run for Commissioner as a culmination of my 40 year training in Grand County University. “Building Bridges” is my campaign slogan – a tip of the hat to a building career which has fed my family most consistently during my tenure here. My slogan also recognizes the critical need for all of us to work together to accomplish the governmental repairs needed to move our community forward.

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

As I started this campaign, stories of dysfunction in the courthouse were, to be blunt, rather depressing. I’m an optimist, motivated by an innate disposition founded on deep knowledge of our county history and an abiding respect and love for the talents of my friends and neighbors. We live in an amazing community.

The emotion fueling my day-to- day labors in this campaign is one of excitement. I’m fueled by a love of projects. Our national economy is blossoming. I have been here long enough to know we must take advantage of a good (and no doubt

short) gardening season. We must quickly get the courthouse working effectively – as it has in the past – so we can proceed to community building. I am fully confident we can complete governmental repair. I am also confident I bring the requisite understanding of our community to serve as a Commissioner who has the fortitude to accomplish the heavy lifting.

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

Community projects are a passion. For example, there are three underutilized industrial areas near Fraser, Granby and Kremmling. The county can work with the respective communities and landowners to identify and cooperatively facilitate the potential establishment of light industry, business and perhaps housing ventures on these sites. A first use of the Fraser site might be the new bus barns for the new transportation district in the Valley. This facility could include employee housing.

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

We must balance infrastructure maintenance and upgrade requirements with the needs of our citizens. For example, The Mountain Family Center serves 1,800 low income county residents who would like nothing more than to not need the Center’s services. Facilitating the creation of opportunities for these citizens will return public investment many times over. We must examine closely the funding of discretionary projects which can be paid for either by those who created the need or from outside funding sources. We should work hard to lobby for available State and Federal dollars for projects tied to those agencies.

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?

Commissioners center on their respective districts, but cannot accomplish anything without coalition building. The same can be said for

our overall county community. We rise separately from a solid base created by each community’s assets – the wonderful National Park and lakes playground of Grand Lake; the nation’s largest complex of Nordic ski tracks and mountain bike trails and the state’s third largest ski area in the Fraser Valley; and the rural ranching, mining, river and motorized recreational open spaces of the west half of our huge county centered on Kremmling. These three communities seem sometimes to work at cross purposes but in fact – with effective leadership – can rise on a tide bringing up all community boats.

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

I have learned from 8 years as a community journalist, a lifetime of commitment to volunteer agencies, my time as a school and child care teacher and two years as an elected official that patience and perseverance are at the heart of service to the place we commit our lives to. I share the feeling of most citizens government moves glacially; unfortunately I am gaining an understanding of why. I will work as hard as I can to roll the proverbial rock uphill.

Last evening at the City Market gas station the service person emptying trash cans told me she had no desire to go into public office. Sharing with her my belief I have some talent for this role I pledged “I will be a good person to serve as your representative.” My promise is I will collaborate with you to create an excellent team working to improve our Community.