Moffat County coroner candidate talks change on budget

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Kirk McKey

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Tim Jantz

A Moffat County coroner candidate stressed fiscal responsibility in his speech Tuesday night to an estimated 150 people attending the Craig Daily Press/KRAI candidate forum.

Kirk McKey, one of two candidates vying for the job currently held by the term-limited Owen Grant, told the audience at Centennial Mall that he would run the coroner’s office as responsibly as his business, McKey Chiropractic Clinic.

“I am very cost efficient in how I run my business, and I want to take that to the coroner’s office,” he said. “This is important for Moffat County. There’s going to be a change. Change doesn’t have to cost us a lot of money, and that is my intention.”

McKey is running against Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputy Larry Dalton in the Aug. 10 primary election. Dalton did not attend Tuesday’s forum.

McKey, who is vying for public office for the first time, gave a brief outline of his community service, which includes stints serving the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County United Way.

He also said the change to a new coroner in January 2011 is going to come with costs, but those costs wouldn’t be significant under his leadership.

“It can cost the county money,” McKey said. “The coroner is going to need an office, he’s going to need a vehicle and he’s going to need some equipment. I am under the impression there is no office space at the (Moffat County Courthouse) or at the (Moffat County Public Safety Center). So, where is the county going to put the coroner?

“You elect me, and we’ll use my office and share it with the coroner’s office. We’ll have (four) years to make that (office space) decision, and it won’t cost the county any money.”

He also said he would be the one handling the majority of coroner calls, rather than assigning calls out to deputies.

“I plan to make myself available to take these calls,” said McKey, who estimated there would be about 200 calls in the next four years.

McKey said he has been preparing for the coroner’s position by talking with Grant, coroners from around the state and the Coroner’s Association of Colorado.

“You elect me next Tuesday, and I’m going to get in the trenches, and by the time I take office in January, I’m going to be ready to work for you and this office and help try to save this county some money.

“Now I ask you to support me and put me in this position so I can continue to serve Moffat County.”

Unopposed sheriff still courting votes

Four years ago, Tim Jantz was a self-described underdog candidate vying for the Republican nomination for Moffat County sheriff.

He scored a win in the primary, outdistancing then-undersheriff Jerry Hoberg by earning 58 percent of the GOP vote total. He took that momentum and carried it into November, when he defeated Vic Alton and Don Kroese with a commanding 68 percent of the total vote.

This year, Jantz’s road to another four years is likely to be much smoother. He is unopposed in the Aug. 10 Republican primary election, and no Democratic challengers have emerged for November.

Still, Jantz is courting votes to secure another four years.

He appeared Tuesday night at the Craig Daily Press/KRAI candidate forum at Centennial Mall and spoke to potential voters.

“Three-and-a-half years ago, you elected me as your sheriff, and I was honored and extremely humbled,” Jantz said to the audience in a short speech. “One of the platforms we ran on was being accessible, approachable and available. I think we have done that, and we will continue that.”

Jantz, who campaigned in 2006 on having an open-door policy, said giving constituents his time to discuss their issues and concerns is a priority.

“That’s what’s important to me,” he said. “I know before I became an elected official, that’s what I wanted from people — time. That’s what we all want if you have a question — you want time from somebody, and that’s what I have strived for during my candidacy, to be available, to be out here in the community and listening to the concerns.”

The incumbent and likely second-term sheriff also had praise for the deputies and staff he oversees each day at the sheriff’s office.

“It has been a great honor and a great challenge in the last three-and-a-half years, but I want to stress to you one of the things that I have learned during this candidacy and during my tenure as sheriff,” Jantz said.

That is, “the wonderful people you have working at the sheriff’s office. I am only as good as the people I am surrounded by, and I want you to know they are outstanding individuals, and I am honored they have stayed and adopted my policies.”

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