Commission candidates gearing up for 2012 campaigns

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Audrey Danner

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John Kinkaid

The 2012 general election is less than a year away and candidates vying for a variety of public service positions are emerging.

In the last 10 days, a host of veteran players and newcomers have announced their candidacy, including state representative Ran-

dy Baumgardner and incumbent state senator Jean White, who will battle it out for the District 8 state senate seat, and assistant district attorney Brett Barkey, who has thrown his hat into the ring for 14th Judicial District Attorney.

At the county level, two Moffat County Commission seats are up for grabs in 2012 including the district 1 position, which will be vacated by Tom Gray who is term limited, and the district 2 spot currently held by Republican Audrey Danner.

Last Friday, Danner announced she is seeking another term.

Commission chairman Tom Mathers, whose second term expires in 2015, said he was happy to hear Danner is seeking re-election.

“Audrey’s good,” Mathers said. “We don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. She’s more focused on Internet and new business strategies than I am, so she fills a big void that we would otherwise have on the commission.”

Danner said continuing her efforts to bring high-speed, broadband Internet access to Moffat County is high on her to-do list for the coming year and, if re-elected, her next term.

“This is not about the government providing the service, but making a case to providers to bring the service to the people of Moffat County,” Danner said. “I’m very much looking forward to continuing my work on broadband.”

In addition, Danner said she is basing her campaign on continuing to strive for a balanced regulatory environment, appropriate usage of natural resources, and maintaining effective and efficient government.

“I believe the county government runs very well and I think it’s time to start looking at maintaining our services and possibly adding new ones based on what the citizens are asking for in the future, but doing so by keeping in mind that we could be working with fewer funding streams,” Danner said. “It will be important to continue to focus on our budget because the economy is going to continue to put stress on our federal and state governments, which is where a lot of funding for our programs begins.”

The only other entry currently in the county commission race is John Kinkaid, 58, who announced his intention to run for District 1 office in February.

Kinkaid, a married father of three and Craig Station employee for more than 32 years, said he is running a grassroots campaign, just as he did in 1999 to win a contested race for Moffat County School Board’s district 7 seat.

“It’s going to be person-to-person,” Kinkaid said. “I’m using a low tech method called the wooden nickel project.”

Kinkaid said the wooden nickels are a throwback to a promotional strategy that first caught fire in the United States in the 1930s after the Great Depression. The nickels have Kinkaid’s logo on one side and “vote” on the other.

“For the next eight or nine months, I’m going to be walking around town with a pocket full of wooden nickels,” Kinkaid said. “Any time I’m in the store and a conversation ensues, I’m going to hand that person a wooden nickel and ask them to vote for me.”

In addition to the wooden nickel project, Kinkaid also has a Facebook page dedicated entirely to his campaign where he plans to broadcast his platform message focused on growing the economy.

Kinkaid, who is running unaffiliated with a political party, said maintaining and creating jobs is a personal mission.

His son Caleb, 27, graduated from Western State University with a BS in Biochemistry right about the time the economy started to go south.

Kinkaid said his son couldn’t find a job in his field upon graduating and ended up moving home to work at Twentymile Mine.

Kinkaid believes coal miner jobs are at risk thanks to the passage of Colorado House Bill 10-1365 — the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act — that set into motion the conversion of several Front Range power plants from coal-fired to natural gas.

“I’m fighting for jobs and for Moffat County’s economy for everyone who works in the energy sector, for ranchers, outfitters and the store owners downtown,” Kinkaid said. “That’s what drives me. I want to see our economy flourish.”

Kinkaid said if he is elected he plans on retiring from Tri-State Generation and Transmission so he can be a “full-time” county commissioner.

Tom Gray, Kinkaid’s potential predecessor, said that’s exactly what it takes.

“It’s a full-time job,” Gray said. “It’s not about setting policies and going home. It’s about setting policies and implementing those policies.

“I’m not overly concerned that the next commissioner share the same views as me, but I hope whoever intends to run treats this as a full-time position, which is what the job deserves.”

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