Moffat County native and local businessman Tom Mathers announced Tuesday he is running for the open Moffat County commissioner's seat in November's election.
Mathers joins fellow Repub--licans Vicki Burns and Dan W. Martin in the race for District 1 commissioner. The position is being vacated by Darryl Steele.
This isn't the first county commission race for Mathers, who owns Mathers' Bar and Grill in Craig.
He served one term as commissioner from 1988 to 1992. He lost the Republican primary in 1992.
He said Tuesday he has considered running for commissioner every election since then.
"It's like being a farmer," he said. "Once you get that dirt under your fingernails, you can't give it up. It's the same with politics."
Mathers said one of his goals is to build reserves in the county's budget.
"When I left office, the county was poised for growth and in financial position to accommodate it," he said. "With the natural resource development we're expecting, the county needs to be prepared to get back on track and plan for the future."
Mathers said he also is concerned about finding a balance between property owners' rights and oil and natural gas exploration.
"There's certainly a benefit to Moffat County and its residents from natural resource extraction, but not at the risk of our farms and ranches," he said. "There needs to be a middle ground."
Burns, who is a real estate agent in Craig, and Martin, who runs a buffalo ranch near Lay, both announced their candidacy last month at the Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner.
Mathers said Tuesday that because he entered the race later than the other two candidates, he plans to petition his way onto the primary ballot, skipping the party caucuses next month.
Moffat County Chief Deputy Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod said Mathers will have to collect about 500 signatures to get on the primary ballot.