5 questions with City Council candidates: Part 3

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Gene Bilodeau

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Terry Carwile

This is the final part of a question and answer series with each Craig City Council candidate who will appear on Tuesday's municipal election ballot.

Among the answers given, voters will be able to find each candidate's account of how they have been involved in the community to this point, what drove them to seek public office and whether they think the city operates smoothly now or should be changed.

The election will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way.

There are six candidates vying for four City Council seats: incumbents Terry Carwile, Byron Willems and Gene Bilodeau, who was appointed to fill a vacancy; and hopefuls Joe Bird, Francisco Reina and Jennifer Riley.

Three of the available Council seats carry four-year terms, while the fourth is for two years. The top four vote-getters all will claim a seat, with the fourth taking the two-year term.

Mayor Don Jones, who is running unopposed for his third term, will appear in a separate question and answer in Friday's Daily Press.

Gene Bilodeau

Age: 53

Occupation: Colorado Northwestern Community College vice president of administration

Time lived in Craig: 15 years, as of this coming August

Public service history:

• Currently: Craig city councilor and member of the Craig Chamber of Commerce board, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership board and Northwest Colorado Regional Workforce board.

• Past: Member of the Grand Futures of Moffat County board, Colorado West Mental Health Center board, Moffat County High School to Work board, Craig Parks and Recreation board, Craig Youth Soccer Association board and the Youth Services Council.

Q. Why are you running for municipal office?

A. I was selected to fill the seat vacated by Rod Compton for the past several months. The experience has been rewarding, as it has allowed me to become more knowledgeable of how the city of Craig operates. I believe I'm a good contributing member of the City Council and feel I can be a sincere and representative voice for the community of Craig. I believe, if possible, people should give back to the community in which they live. My preference is to be involved in what happens where I live rather than standing on the sidelines watching.

Q. What is the single biggest issue Craig faces today or will face during the next four years?

A. It's the unknown future. When we look at what is transpiring on a global, national, state and local level, we are in a period of huge transition and uncertainty. Craig has not felt the full impact as many communities have, and hopefully we will not. However, the council must have an awareness of what is happening on various levels so we can plan for our future and be more in control of it, rather than allow outside forces and factors to overly influence our actions. As much as possible, we need to continue to act and make decisions in a purposeful, forward thinking manner, and not arrive at a place where we are left to always react.

Q. Do you think the city needs to change or alter any of its operations or policies? Why or why not?

A. In the time I have served on council, there have been individuals or groups that have questioned some of the current policies and operational procedures. In some cases, we have asked city staff to look into certain policies and procedures and provide feedback as to what they found. This has led to some changes or modifications, and at other times the policy or procedure was continued. I believe it is incumbent upon City Council to look at policies and operations in a rational and thoughtful manner. If it is in the best interest of the citizens of Craig to change or alter some operations or policies, then we must do so.

Q. What is your view about how local government should operate?

A. Local government should operate in such a manner that demonstrates it is cognizant of the needs of the citizens they represent. Local government must be informed, operate in a transparent manner, listen to and advocate for its constituents. Local government must realize that decisions have to be made for the good of the group as a whole and not just selected constituents. It's important that local government operate with integrity and through open communication. There must be a realization that if the goal is to please everyone all the time, we will be unsuccessful, as that is not realistic. However, we can strive to listen and be respectful.

Q. If you could say one thing to every local voter concerning your campaign, what would it be?

A. I know that if I'm elected, it will be to serve the needs of the citizens of Craig and provide guidance to the staff of the city of Craig. It's a responsibility I take seriously. I truly believe we live in a great community where people care about one another. I continue to see many positive things happening in our town.

I want to see Craig continue to experience its positive progress. I will work closely with the county commissioners, as both groups of elected officials were elected to represent the best interest of their constituents. I have a history of working with diverse groups, being an open communicator and a good listener, and being able to build consensus between groups and individuals. I've been in the position many times of having to make hard decisions, at times when there were no real good options, and I understand that expectation and duty. Craig has been good to me, and I want to repay that.

Terry Carwile

Age: 61

Occupation: Retired from Trapper Mine; employed part time at the Craig Chamber of Commerce

Time lived in Craig: 33 years

Public service history: Various boards and commissions; currently serve on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation board, Yampa Valley Partners board and am completing first term on Craig City Council.

Q. Why are you running for municipal office?

A. I have a strong sense of volunteerism and public service. Also, having lived in the community for so many years, I think I have something to contribute in terms of the city's overall advancement.

Q. What is the single biggest issue Craig faces today or will face during the next four years?

A. The city's fiscal condition is a prime consideration given the overall state of the economy. We're currently in good shape, and we need to stay prepared to do what we can to preserve our present success. Assuming that we see an upswing in the economy in the not-too-distant future, I anticipate that the community's growth will become a more prominent issue.

Q. Do you think the city needs to change or alter any of its operations or policies? Why or why not?

A. Since I have been on council, evaluation of various policies and procedures has been an ongoing process, and I think that process will continue. We've seen changes in land-use policy, the city charter and various ordinances since I've served on council. Changes in the community and changes in state law, for examples, dictate that we examine the relevance of what we do policy-wise from time to time.

Q. What is your view about how local government should operate?

A. Openness and responsiveness are two key components, and it also is crucial that local government operate on a sound financial footing. Once these fundamentals are established, we can provide a high level of service, meet challenges and plan for future success.

Q. If you could say one thing to every local voter concerning your campaign, what would it be?

A. I am an experienced and knowledgeable leader in the community, and it has been my privilege to make use of that knowledge and experience as a City Council member these past four years. I hope that I have the opportunity to serve for another term.

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