Four new residents enter Council race

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Check "City taking applications for Council vacancy" at www.craigdailypre... for information on Craig City Council applicants Chris Nichols and Dave VanWagner.

Look for tomorrow's Daily Press for coverage on applicants Rusty Cox and Cleve Preece.

— Four more residents cast their names into the ring to fill a Craig City Council vacancy by filing letters of intent before the Feb. 4 deadline.

Brianna Wilensky, Gene Bilodeau, Rusty Cox and Cleve Preece join Chris Nichols, former Craig Fire/Rescue chief, and Dave VanWagner, real estate agent and appraiser, as the six applicants the Council plans to interview before its meeting Feb. 12.

Each one is vying to fill the seat of Rod Compton, who officially resigned Jan. 8.

A majority vote by the Council places one applicant in that seat. If the Council cannot reach a majority, the city has 120 days to conduct a general election.

Two applicants, Wilensky and Bilodeau, are profiled below.

The family-first mom

Wilensky, 29, has spent the past five years at home taking care of her two children, she said.

She and her husband enjoy living here, she added. They enjoy the people, low taxes and the direction the current Council is leading the city.

Wilensky, who graduated from Colorado University and has had different jobs in the private sector before becoming a mother, thinks Craig can find a balance between its fiscal philosophy and its future.

"I think it's important to keep taxes low, but it's also important to strike a balance between that and (providing for) the community," she said. "I could help keep that balance."

Wilensky wants to help the Council continue its course in making Craig a better place to live, and along the way she wants to make sure Craig is the best place it can be, she said.

She is glad the city passed bonds for The Memorial Hospital and the Moffat County School District, she added. She would like to see the community continue improving.

Her children are on track to enter the School District soon, and she wants to make sure the local schools are as good as they can be.

"I think the schools could be a little better," Wilensky said. "I was disappointed to learn they were only average (by state standards). I'd like to see them better for when my kids are in school."

Wilensky seeks to offer the Council a voice it does not currently have.

"I'd be giving a voice to the young families of Craig," she said.

The community servant

In addition to being dean of the Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus for the past three years, Bilodeau, 52, has always provided whatever service he could to the community, he said.

"Do I have any political background? No," Bilodeau said. "But I am always involved in any community that I live in. I moved here in 1994, and I really enjoy Craig and Moffat County and Northwest Colorado. I see myself living here for a very long time."

In his tenure as a Craig resident, Bilodeau is or has been a member of the Craig Rotary Club, Community Mental Health Board, Crisis Intervention Team and Northwest Colorado Workforce Investment Board.

He also served as the Craig Chamber of Commerce board president and Craig Youth Soccer board chair.

Bilodeau doesn't consider himself special, he said.

"I feel it's encumbered on all community members to be involved with the community," he said.

Bilodeau said that with the issues facing Craig and Moffat County in the future - among them concerns about infrastructure funding amid rapid growth - he can offer the Council an objective ear to listen when people come forward with solutions.

"It's a matter of people sitting down, communicating and then being able to move beyond the talking stage," Bilodeau said.

He tries to follow a mantra he learned a long time ago:

"The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, and we should learn to use them in that order," Bilodeau said.

Bilodeau's experience with community groups lent itself to learning that skill, he said.

"I think I have a lot of experience with community groups," Bilodeau said. "I look forward to the opportunity to interview for the Council and the opportunity to give back."

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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