DA candidates debate in Meeker

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MEEKER -- District attorney candidates for the Ninth Judicial District met at the Meeker Cafe early Friday morning to discuss what they could do for Rio Blanco County.

Colleen Truden and Lawson Wills, both Republicans, will face off Aug. 10 for the Republican slot on the primary ballot. The district is made up of Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. There is no Democrat running so whoever wins likely will be the next D.A.

Truden and Wills agree that Rio Blanco County needs and deserves support, cooperation, and help from the district attorney. But each has different ideas to achieve goals.

Wills' focus is on the 14 years of hands-on experience he has as a prosecutor.

"I've worked under three different DAs, handled more than 4,000 cases and tried 150. I know how to tell if the evidence presented is enough for the likelihood of success ---- and that is what the DA's job is about," Wills said. "We are responsible for getting the bad guys off the street."

Both said they would have a visible presence in the county and work with law enforcement and the deputy DA assigned to Rio Blanco County.

"It is important to continually work with and educate law enforcement personnel and staff while developing sound working relationships," Truden said. "This job entails procedural knowledge, budget and a sound grasp of all the communities."

Both said they would bring a different style of leadership to the office than Mac Myers. Truden said the office is lacking in administration, good management and communication. "The DA needs to lead, to teach, advise and communicate effectively," she said.

Wills said he already has relationships with the sheriff, the police chiefs of both Meeker and Rangely and would improve support for Phil Palmer the deputy DA assigned to Meeker.He emphasized he was not Mac Myers.

"If elected I will have my own policies. I want my staff to live in and be active players in the community, and I plan to do a lot more in the way of support for the staff here," he said.

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