by Marissa Lorenz
Kremmling resident and business owner David Buckley is the first person to file an official affidavit with the State of Colorado, announcing his candidacy for the office of Grand County Commissioner, District 3, in 2022.
Buckley has been a full-time resident of Kremmling since January of this year, when he purchased Strands Salon and the former Mason’s Lodge on the Kremmling Town Square, but his ties to Grand County go back much farther.
Buckley moved to Colorado as a youth and graduated from Golden High School. He attended radiology school, receiving his certificate/licensure in radiology and eventually graduated from Regis University with a degree in radiology-related medical management and a minor in healthcare administration.
This would set Buckley on a nearly 30-year career path in healthcare that progressed from radiology to healthcare administration to health plans to a final 15 years in what he describes as Medicaid/Medicare transport-related advocacy.
“I traveled across the country, working with legislators in all 50 states, talking about healthcare, how it’s evolving, and so forth” Buckley explains, identifying this role as his first introduction into the political arena.
Along the way, Buckley met and married a “lovely woman whose family is from Grand County, specifically the Fraser area. She’s part of the Murphy Clan.”
They began visiting Grand County together in the ‘80s and, though Buckley notes that they are no longer married, he assures that they remain great friends. They brought up two daughters in Douglas County, where they owned acreage, participated
in 4-H and other ag activities, and raised livestock, primarily for show.
Buckley left healthcare in 2016, entering into a franchise opportunity with a high school friend with whom he owned hair/beauty salons in the Denver area. COVID-19 and the long moratorium on personal services heavily impacted their business.
But the timing also coincided with one of his daughters being welcomed into another Grand County pioneering family, this time on the west side of the county. He recognized it as a time to transition both professionally and personally, so he sold his home in Douglas County and settled in Kremmling.
Buckley purchased the downtown salon and pursued his CDL, finding work with Grand County Road & Bridge. The seemingly very different opportunities mean that he has quickly learned about the county, both from the perspective of a resident business owner and from that of a county employee with front-row viewing of local government.
“I am really enjoying myself here,” Buckley states. “I love the salon. I love the team who works there and being able to interact with them and their clients. Being part of a business in the community helps me stay attuned to what is going on–hearing and talking to other business owners about economic challenges, such as finding and keeping employees.”
He goes on to say that working at Road & Bridge “has been great.” Buckley is based in district 4, on the west end of the county, but had the opportunity to work across all of the districts this past summer. “I got to spend time all over the county, meeting people and learning about some of the diverse views and wants.”
And that contact contributed to Buckley’s decision to run for political office.
“I have had a very fortunate and diverse career,” Buckley observes.
“I think that experience has led me to a point where now is a great time in my life to be a public servant and to be able to bring all of the experience that I’ve gained to the betterment of my community.”
With his professional background, Buckley is obviously interested in issues of healthcare and health insurance coverage.
“Over the years, healthcare has become more and more expensive, and people have lost more and more benefits. It is a delicate balance, from a cost perspective, but insurance needs to be worthwhile to employees,” he comments. “But there are still lots of options and things to explore. The good news is that healthcare is ever-evolving–it has to be. There are options that don’t even exist yet. We just have to continue to explore them.”
Buckley also identifies water management as among the greatest political challenges to Grand County.
“We’re the central source to the greatest water resource in the southwestern United States,” he explains. “There are a lot of people who are dependent on water from this county. At same time, we need to make sure we preserve our share, as water becomes more scarce.
“It is a significant issue, especially here on the west end of the county where agriculture is more prevalent. Water is essential to preserving our agricultural life and production that continues to feed the world.
“If I can do anything to help with the water management and preserving water, that would be a good achievement.”
Finally, Buckley recognizes a loss of faith and trust in politics and politicians as another challenge faced locally and across the nation.
“We need to bring trust back into the political arena and help citizens rebuild confidence that our political leaders are looking out for our best interests.”
Buckley filed his affidavit as a Republican candidate with the County Clerk and State on October He is the first to declare a run for the District 3 commissioner seat, a position that serves the whole county but primarily represents residents west of Highway 125. The office is currently held by Kristen Manguso, who will complete her second four-year term in 2022.
Manguso has yet to announce whether or not she will run again. But Buckley says he’s heard rumors of others who may be interested in tossing their hats into the ring.
“The more the merrier,” Buckley says of any opposition in the election. “Grand County needs to know that they have options.
The citizens need to know that they have choices and that it’s up to them to pick the best candidate. Hopefully, there will be more.”
The county offices of Clerk and Recorder, Treasurer, Assessor, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Coroner are also up for election in November 2022. To date, only one other candidate has declared, Jamie Lucas, former Kremmling Police Chief, who filed an affidavit to run for Sheriff in February of this year.
To search for registered candidates and see their filings, go to https://tracer.sos.colorado.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/CandidateSearch.aspx.
by Marissa Lorenz