Q: What is your occupation, education and family?
A: I've worked at Trapper Mine since 1978. I graduated from high school, went to college for one year, and then enlisted in the military. I'm a single man these days. I have two sons who live in the Denver area, a sister here in Craig, and one in Longmont. I also have brothers who live in other parts of the country.
Q: What qualifies you to be a county commissioner?
A: I'm an experienced team leader and team builder. I have many years of supervisory and leadership experience. I understand the importance of careful planning and organization. I also know the importance of cost control and budgetary constraints. I'm active and involved in the community, participating on a number of boards, including the CNCC Foundation Board, Moffat County Planning Commission, Northwest Colorado Stewardship and some others. I'm also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Q: What are three things you would like to accomplish if elected county commissioner?
A: I would like to preserve the tuition scholarship benefit to Colorado Northwestern Community College for local residents. I will work to make this available permanently. I believe that education is the platform from which we move towards answers to the healthcare question, sustainable economic development, help to resolve land use issues and so on. I will work to restore the health of the county's finances, especially the Road and Bridge fund. I don't think we're in a good position to deal with what some of us would regard as a "normal" winter. I would also like to put retirement of the Public Safety Center debt on the fast track.
Q: While balancing the 2004 budget, the commissioner board made some controversial decisions. Do you disagree with any of the cuts they made?
A: Budget cuts are always disagreeable. All of us have become accustomed to certain things that the county has provided over time, even if those things are not necessary functions of government. In fairness to the taxpayer, when it comes to a point where it is not possible to sustain those nonessential things, everything has to be on the table. I think all of us have a particular nonessential service, funded by the county, that we enjoy. We decry the loss of that service and the negative impact of that loss to the community.
Q: A financial analyst recently advised the commissioners to hire a county administrator and a public works director. Do you agree with these recommendations?
A: While I'm not anxious to see more bureaucracy, I believe that there is a need for some sort of executive management/administrative function in Moffat County. I think that the board of commissioners is too often compelled to deal with administrating the county as opposed to making policy decisions and responding to citizen concerns.
Q: Would you advocate the creation of new tax districts for the library, parks and rec department, or weed and pest control?
A: I do agree that we need some other districts, the library being one. Generally speaking, I like the idea of the community deciding the level of investment and participation in the county's infrastructure and non-mandated services. I also think the board of commissioners should be a strong advocate for community-owned investment.
Q: If the county's financial situation improves, what would you do with the additional money?
A: For one thing, as previously mentioned, I would like us to accelerate the repayment of the Public Safety Center debt. Also, I think we should just "pad the treasury" so to speak. It never hurts to have a substantial amount of money "just in case."
Q: What would you do to manage energy development as the gas industry in Moffat County grows?
A: Management of oil and gas development at the local level is somewhat limited by state law. I do think, however, that we should take every allowable opportunity to oversee this process. Recent Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules allow for a "Local Government Designee (LGD)." Moffat County has this position. This is the mechanism by which we can front-load the management process. Commission rules also allow for consultation in terms of site location, construction, reclamation, and so on. I think the key point here is communication. If we (the county, surface owners and other interested parties) know the "what, where, when, and how" of a given project, then we've gotten off on the right foot from a managerial standpoint.
Q: During your run for the legislature, did you learn any lessons you're finding useful in your run for commissioner?
A: I guess if I'm successful in this campaign we'll know if anything I learned in 2002 was useful! I will say, though, that people by and large are interested even if they don't agree with a particular position. People, generally speaking, appreciate personal contact. They also like someone who will listen and who is sincere.
Q: How do you feel your Democrat party affiliation will influence the general election in November?
A: I hope that party affiliation has a minimal influence. I think local issues require a much more pragmatic than dogmatic approach.