County Commissioner, Sheriff candidates throw their hats in the political ring for 2022 election

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Tekoa Shalom is running for District 3 County Commissioner.
Melissa Peters is running for Grand County sheriff.

Two more Grand County residents have come forward to formally declare their intent to run for local office in 2022.
Melissa Peters, of Fraser. filed a candidate affidavit for Grand County Sheriff on November 17, and Tekoa Shalom, of Hot Sulphur Springs, filed a candidate affidavit for Grand County Commissioner, District 3, on December 13.
Melissa Peters is a Grand County native. She attended elementary school at West Grand in Kremmling, finishing middle school and graduating from Middle Park High School in Granby after her family moved east.
After high school, Peters explains that she pursued various opportunities for school or work, such as dog and horse training, which took her all over the United States, and a stint with TSA (Transportation Security Administration) in Las Vegas.
However, she is quick to point out that she has never stayed away from Grand County for more than a year at a time. “It’s in my blood,” she laughs. “I just can’t help myself. This is my home and where I always come back to.”
Peters describes her pull to law enforcement as being the same. “Law enforcement is my greatest passion–my first love.”
Peters carried and grew that passion into and within positions as a detention officer and patrol deputy with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, as a TSA agent, and as a dispatcher with Summit County.
Peters was working in that dispatch role two years ago when, on Christmas Eve, she received a breast cancer diagnosis. “My priorities shifted. I decided I wanted to be back in Grand County, my home, and the place where my parents still live.”
And now that she is in remission, Peters is ready to bring her collective experience–over 12 years in law enforcement along with the challenges and experiences of other areas of life–to serve her home community in the role of Grand County Sheriff.
“I want to help my community here as much as I can,” Peters notes. “While the national view of law enforcement can sometimes be pretty negative, Grand County has always supported law enforcement and first responders.
“But we are no longer ‘a sleepy community where nothing happens.’ I want to bring the community into partnership with the [Sheriff’s] department, so the residents feel that they are part of shaping and protecting our community–ensuring it can be the same safe community that I grew up in.”
Along the line of bringing the community together, Peters notes that she is running as an independent candidate.
“The job of sheriff is a bipartisan job,” she observes. “The job of law enforcement is bipartisan, and the department should be bipartisan. We should serve everyone the same, and everyone should see our local law enforcement as being there for everyone.”
A parallel priority, were she to be elected as sheriff, Peters explains, would be to address the department’s facility needs.
“The building is over 40 years old,” she observes. “It has had a fire and multiple floods in the past months; it is coming apart at the seams. Our sheriff’s department needs to have a facility that is up-to-date, a safe place to work and house inmates, and which is capable of handling the growing law enforcement needs of our county.
“We can’t keep band-aiding the problems,” Peters continues, pointing out that, if the county doesn’t make a decision and “move” on the problem, the Department of Justice could force the issue. “We can be pre-emptive, making our decisions as a community, or be caught in a situation we don’t fully control.”
Through building greater community ties and a facility that meets the safety and technological needs of the community, Peter hopes the Grand County Sheriff’s Office would grow into something more than its historical image of a “stepping stone” department–a place for an officer to gain training and experience before applying for a bigger and (perceived) better police department.
“I’m incredibly excited,” Peters states, “to be part of building a department that people want to work for and a place where good officers can spend their entire career, making it their home, and becoming part of the community.”
Peters will be setting up meet-n-greet opportunities in each of Grand County’s towns in the coming months and hopes people will come out and say hi. In the meantime, she invites questions from anyone in the Grand County community and can be reached through email at [email protected]
Currently serving Sheriff Brett Schroetlin has yet to decide whether or not he will run for another term in 2022.
“I have not announced my candidacy to run in the 2022 election,” Schroetlin responded. “I am currently focused on what’s happening now as we finish 2021, and look forward to further discussions after the first of the year.”
The Republican was first elected as GC Sheriff in 2014 and is completing his second term. He is eligible to serve three more four-year terms, if he were to run successfully.
Tekoa Shalom grew up in Paonia, Colorado, and spent most of his adult life in Mesa County. He is a self-described life-long student and completed numerous educational tracks, all focused on serving his community in areas of physical, mental, and economic well-being.
To date, he has achieved a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, a master’s of science in human environmental science, and a master’s of public health, with graduate certificates in mediation, human resource management, and accounting.
In 2015, Shalom was offered a position with the State of Colorado, serving the Grand County community as the sole employee of the Colorado Workforce Center, previously located in Granby. He relocated but, coming from the Western Slope, found himself unprepared for mountain resort cost-of-living, especially that of housing paired with a shortage of available/affordable housing.
Like many in the mountain communities, Shalom recognizes, he had to take on a second job just to (barely) make ends meet. He ultimately left Grand County due to those challenges.
But after living in Summit County in 2019/2020 on an Americorps Vista stipend, learning how to budget for mountain living, and picking up some other tricks along the way, Shalom moved back to Grand in September 2020, hoping to make it his long-term home.
Shalom has been working for Grand County Public Health (GCPH) as a Consumer Protection Advocate, helping local businesses with COVID-19 compliance and compliance with employment law, and helping towns delineate COVID-related issues. The job, he says, has been a great opportunity to rekindle many relationships with individuals and businesses that he had first known through the Workforce Center.
In January, Shalom will take all of that experience into a newly-created position as Emergency Preparedness & Response Coordinator. “I’ll be looking for and helping those affected maneuver through situations that could create or are creating a public health emergency,” he explains. “That could be COVID-related, or it could have to do with, for example, a water well becoming contaminated, prompting the need for safety protocols being put into place.”
Shalom’s new role will also see him working with other public health issues, such as tobacco cessation, and his hope is to be able to expand outreach and education opportunities for the community.
Shalom would also like to bring his education and experience to the greater community as the elected County Commissioner for District 3, which extends from the Summit and Routt County lines near Kremmling to Highway 125, near Granby.
“Returning to Grand County after a couple years absence,” Shalom observes, “I noticed that many of the pressing issues the county is facing are the same as those faced in 2015-2016. I’ve always been a creative problem-solver and an accomplishment-driven individual. I want to work toward solving the problems of Grand County and make it a better community.”
Shalom is quick to point out that his candidacy is not a political drive. “Affordable housing and economic development are important for all people in Grand County,” he notes. And these issues are at the top of his list of concerns.
Shalom recognizes that these are not easy issues and that they require a multi-faceted approach to solve. For example, he explains, building new affordable housing is costly and takes a long time. But if there were a focus on job creation and better wages while housing was being built, more people would be able to live safely and comfortably in Grand County.
A second example goes back to water wells. In preparing for his new job with GCPH, Shalom says he has been studying the locations and information about town-used water wells across the county. “The age of many of these wells is a concern,” he details. “There is a real chance for failure in some cases. And in the long run, the number and capacity of wells will directly coincide with how much Grand County can grow–its capacity for ongoing housing development and more.”
Shalom believes that, as commissioner, he could bring his experience and training in economic and job development, insurance planning, capital management, retirement planning, cost/benefit analysis, and the “five social determinants of health”–economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, and social & community context–to bear in helping to build a stronger, healthier Grand County.
“It’s not political,” Shalom repeats. “I want to be a benefit and blessing to this community in whatever ways I can. And I want the community to know, when considering their 2022 vote, that a vote for me is a vote for them.”
More information on Shalom can be found on his website, www.grand.community. Questions and concerns can be addressed to him at [email protected]
Another candidate, Kremmling resident David Buckley, announced a run for the District 3 commissioner seat in October.
Kristen Manguso currently serves as Grand County Commissioner in District 3. She will complete her second term in 2022 and has officially announced she will not seek another term. The county offices of Clerk and Recorder, Treasurer, Assessor, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Coroner are also up for election in November 2022.