Former mayor, councilman to run for commission seat

Saed Tayyara took the United States citizenship test seven years after he came to America.

It was Tayyara's belief that in America, paying taxes and being a good steward wasn't enough. One has to exercise the right to vote.

Because he earned the right to be an American citizen, Tayyara feels he should serve his country and community in repayment. To that end, Tayyara has announced his intention to run for the District 2 Moffat County Board of Commissioners seat Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos is scheduled to vacate at the end of her second term.

"Every citizen, once in their lifetime, should serve their community at whatever level," Tayyara said.

Tayyara will run as a Republican. He joins Sheriff Deputy Michael Anthony and Magnum Metals owner Stan Hathhorn in the race for District 2. But only Hathhorn intends to run for the office if a petition to recall Raftopoulos is successful. Hathhorn welcomed Tayyara's announcement, saying "the more the merrier."

Tayyarra has previously served on Craig City Council and as mayor. He emigrated from Syria in 1963, following the Syrian revolt against French occupation.

Tayarra has spent most of his life in the Yampa Valley, and has lived in Craig since 1975, when he opened a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Although he has no relatives here, he said he has many friends, and the town is his home.

In 1977, Tayyara was one of 22 candidates for Craig City Council, and he lost the election by one vote. When a city councilor moved, Tayyara, as runner-up, was appointed as a replacement, and in 1981, the council elected him as mayor. The council later changed its bylaws so the mayor would be elected by the popular vote. In 1989, Tayyara was once again elected to mayor by the popular vote.

During his tenure as mayor, Tayyara saw the city through some difficult financial times, when county government had to lend the city assistance.

It's that experience on which Tayyara is relying to convince voters he can help the county through its current financial trials.

The city clashed with the state governor over a water system mandate. The city simply didn't have the money to develop the system, Tayyara said. Trash disposal was another problem. The county's population was growing rapidly, but funding for the needed infrastructure was lacking.

Tayyara pled the city's case to the county, and the two governments reached an agreement that could help the city recover. The skills he used to broker that agreement, such as compromise and communication, along with his experience balancing the city budget, qualify him to assume commissioner office, he said.

"I was honored that Craig residents supported me and elected me to provide service. I worked hard and delivered and overcame a lot of difficulties. I see no reason not to do this and repeat it again," Tayyara said.

He said he sees a block between the two governments right now and will work to initiate a dialogue.

Tayyara has been a member of the Associate Government of Colorado, Club 20, the Colorado Municipal League, the Lion's Club, and many other government and service organizations.

The primary election will be held on August 13.

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