Meet the candidates


mayoral candidate
Address: 315 Bonderud Ave.
Age: 52
Religion: Catholic
Family: Wife, Jean, three children, Donnie, Chris and Scott, and four grandkids, Ellina, Emma, Justyne, Grant
Education: 1970 Moffat County High School graduate and one semester at Colorado State University
Occupation: Co-owner of Craig Steel
Previous political experience: City Councilor since October 1995

As Craig's only mayoral candidate in April's election, Don Jones is pretty pleased he's running unopposed.

"That means people have respected what I've done the last 9 1/2 years," he said. "I must not have made a whole lot of enemies or someone would have run against me."

He's been a City Councilor for nearly the term limit, and decided to step up into the race for mayor because of his interest in working with the public.

While in office, Jones hopes to complete the Elkhead Reservoir project and get the new building site for The Memorial Hospital off the ground. The 2006 beginning of a new water plant would also prove to be a large undertaking during his tenure.

He does not have a set agenda for what he'd like to do in office; he just aims to keep the city functioning smoothly, as it has in recent years.

"I think we should take care of what we've got before we grow anymore," he said.

He will look to current mayor, Dave DeRose, as well as City Council, for guidance as he takes office.

"We always work together. It's not just a one-man show," Jones said. "If we have a problem, we all put our heads together and hash it out."

He's excited for the chance to work with a "great staff" in a facility he's proud of.

"You can't ask for any better than that," he said.

Terry Carwile
Address: 1115 Washington St.
Age: 57
Family: Two sons
Education: High school graduate with one year of college before enlisting in the military
Occupation: Trapper Mine equipment operator
Previous political experience: Candidate for Colorado House in 2002 and for Moffat County Commissioner in 2004

For the past three years Terry Carwile has been a familiar face at Craig City Council meetings. He attends as many as he can, showing his commitment to local government.

And Carwile has worked hard to show voters how committed he is

"Persistent" easily describes 57-year-old Craig resident.

"I don't quit easily," he said.

He's so persistent that after losing a bid for a Colorado House seat in 2002 and an attempt to be a Moffat County Commissioner in 2004, Carwile is back on Craig's political radar as a candidate for one of three available Craig City Council seats.

The 57-year Craig resident believes he's got something to offer.

"I've seen Craig's highs and lows, its booms and busts," he said. "I've been involved through all of them."

Carwile is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, serves on the Moffat County planning commission and is on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation board. He's also an individual member of the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership and participates when his work schedule allows.

Carwile has worked at Trapper Mine since 1978.

Craig, he said, is in pretty good shape and not facing any controversial or challenging issues.

"I'd like to be part of a leadership team that continues to move the city forward," he said. "I'd like to jump on board and see some program's bear fruit."

He said he'd like to follow issues through such as the Elkhead Reservoir expansion project and implementation of the Craig/Moffat County Airport master plan.

Carwile would also like to see the city face what he calls "inevitable" growth.

"We have to manage it in a responsible way," he said.

He's seen the results of poor growth management during Craig's boom days and hopes strong leadership can help prevent similar situations in the future.

He feels he would bring that leadership, an ability to communicate and a knowledge of the issues to the Craig City Council.

Bill Johnston
Age: 52
Family: Wife, Susan; son, Mathew; daughter, Mallory
Education: Bachelor of Science in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Colorado.
Occupation: Planning Department head manager at Tri-State Generation & Transmission
Previous political experience: Served nearly six years on the Craig City Council

Bill Johnston calls it "going to hell in a hand basket."

The entire council was being recalled, the city was being sued, the city manager had been terminated and staff turnover was high.

It was exactly the kind of situation Johnston lives for.

"Look at my background," he said. "Somebody's worst day is where I like to be."

Johnston has extensive training as an emergency responder, and he felt the city of Craig was in the midst of an emergency.

So, he asked to be appointed to a vacant seat and was chosen. The next election voters said he could stay.

He wouldn't exactly say it's been smooth sailing ever since, but city government has come a long way in six years and he'd like to see where it's at in another four.

"I have one more term, I should finish the job I started," he said.

Restricting expenses in light of stagnant revenues is what Johnston sees as the council's current challenge.

"If there's no growth, there's no money," he said. "We've got to be smart about growth. We've got to be proactive about economic development and not stand in the way of a good, fair deal."

Johnston said he brings experience, openness and a willingness to listen to the council.

"Anyone can come to the council and voice their opinion -- any opinion," he said. "I feel like I was an integral part in making that happen."

It might sound goofy, he said, but city government continues to be the only government that reflects the kind of democracy envisioned by America's founding fathers. It's a kind of democracy Johnston's proud to be a part of and wants to continue.

"Our forefathers had a plan of how government is supposed to work and we've lost that on a national level, we've lost that on a state level, but we still have it at a local level and that's the way it's supposed to be," he said. "I've seen citizens come in when I thought I understood the situation and had all the facts and they made me rethink my position. This is where real democracy still happens."

Johnston has been with Craig Fire/Rescue for 19 years and currently serves as the deputy chief. He is also the chief of the regional hazardous materials team, serves on the Emergency Medical Services council and in on The Memorial Hospital EMS.

Cody Draper
Address: 780 Yampa Ave.
Age: 26
Religion: None
Family: Dog, Maxx; parents Marvin and Shary, and three brothers
Education: 1997 graduate of Moffat County High School, state-licensed insurance agent
Occupation: Co-owner, insurance agent Draper Insurance Group
Previous political experience: None
Political party affiliation: Unaffiliated

Cody Draper thinks he's the youngest candidate ever to run for a Craig City Council seat. But the 26-year-old also thinks that his youth and energy may be what's needed to make change. Some of the changes he'd like to institute include helping businesses spiff up their storefronts and ensuring that city funds are adequately allocated.

"There are other areas that need to be worked on than downtown," he said. "We need to look at the budgets and see if there are other areas that need funding that are more beneficial."

Draper moved with his family from Nebraska to Steamboat Springs when he was 4. The family moved to Craig in 1993, and Draper started high school at that time. After moving back to Craig from spending some time in Alaska and Fort Collins a few years ago, Draper detected a lack of civic pride based on the appearance of the town. Businesses and some areas in town seemed to look run down, he said, and it almost spurred him at that time to start a volunteer movement to try to fix that. One example of his hands-on approach and diligence to cleaning up Craig was evident last weekend when he swept sidewalks along Yampa Avenue and Victory Way, he said.

"I, at least, want to help organizations look decent," he said.

Draper said he describes himself as a "people person" who is isn't afraid to speak his mind. He said he supports funding for Craig Police functions and voted last year for the creation of a city recreation center that voters denied. Draper said he thinks Craig is on the brink of important making growth decisions with a new replacement hospital and a potential Wal-Mart on the horizon and wants to be a supporting voice in those decisions.

"I support intelligent growth," he said of trying to utilize existing but empty businesses for growth.

Draper said he thinks he can be a voice for the younger generation and add a fresh perspective to council matters. Candidates must be at least 25 to run.

"Unfortunately the majority of voters in Craig are baby boomers and they might think of me as too young," he said. "I've had some people my age who said they wouldn't normally vote, but now they will."

Lewis E. Hill
Address: 819 Exmoor Circle
Age: 39
Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Family: Married to MaLynne; four children.
Education: Two years of college
Occupation: Self-employed
Previous political experience:None

Lewis Hill is new to Craig and thinks a stint on the City Council would be a great way to learn about the issues confronting his new neighbors.

"That's what I find intriguing," he said. "I'd get to learn a lot about the community. The reason I'm interested in running is I want to be a part of the community and be part of the decision-making process that affects all of us."

Hill owns a bread wholesale business and stocks the shelves at area grocery stores and convenience stores with baked goods. Until moving to Craig six months ago, he spent the previous five years living in South Routt County and Steamboat Springs. He's operated a business in Craig for about a year. He decided to move here to experience life in a "real" community.

"You don't realize you live in a resort town until you move out of one," Hill's wife, MaLynne, said

As a businessman, Hill sees the importance of having a strong business climate to generate the revenues needed for the city o accomplish certain goals.

"I'd love to have a rec center, but we need a base to draw from without just raising people's taxes. That's where small business -- or big business -- is so crucial," he said.

Hill describes himself as a conservative Republican who is strong on family values. He supports growth and would like to see a Wal-Mart come to Craig.

He decided to run at the urging of former City Councilor Carl Chapman.

"It would be neat to be involved. I'd get to meet new people. I'm always up for a new challenge."

Byron Willems
Address: 2936 Piñon Circle
Age: 46
Religion: Christian
Family: Married, four daughters, three grandchildren.
Education: Moffat County High School graduate
Occupation: Self-employed
Previous political experience: Numerous boards.

Byron Willems isn't running for City Council to shake things up.

"I give the recent council members a world of credit," he said. They've done a good job. I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Willems, who owns his own firefighting supply business in Craig, has some experience on public boards. He serves on the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board and is a former president of the Colorado Firefighters Association. He's also been serving on Colorado Wrestling Officials Association executive board for the past eight years.

"I've served on a lot of boards so I'm used to listening to facts and making decisions," he said.

He's also been a volunteer firefighter for 22 years, making him the senior man on the force. Between fighting fires and officiating high school wrestling matches for 26 years, Willem has learned to be a pretty cool customer -- something he thinks could serve him well if elected.

"If you work the finals of the state wrestling tournament in front of 16,000 people, nothing's going to rattle your cage."

Willems said he brings no pressing issues to the table and is interested in making sure the city continues to run smoothly.

"I don't have anything on my plate -- I'll deal with issues as they come. But I don't have an agenda -- no ulterior motive."

He said he'll bring an open mind to the job and is ready to invest the time necessary to become knowledgeable about the job.

"There's a learning curve; I need to learn a lot about this city and how it runs."

That includes talking to residents and city department heads about their views on how things can improve.

But Willems is impressed with how far the city has come in the past six to eight years. He's been in Craig his whole life and has seen other councils struggle.

"Ten years ago, you couldn't have gotten me to do this," he said.

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