Craig resident Marlene Griffin has yet to fill out her ballot for Craig’s municipal election.
The 74-year-old Griffin said it’ll be hard to sit down and pick which candidate should be Craig’s new mayor, as well as decide between six candidates vying for three council positions in the April 5 municipal election.
However, Griffin said attending Monday’s candidate forum hosted by Craig AARP Chapter No. 1418 at Sunset Meadows I would help her make a decision on the city offices.
Griffin said she made a check mark on a piece of paper whenever a candidate said something she liked during Monday’s forum.
“That’s all I could go by,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know them and when something sounded good, I marked it and that is the only way I could do it.
“I was impressed by a lot of the opinions they had.”
Attending the forum were mayoral candidates Frank Moe and Terry Carwile, as well as five of the six city council candidates — Joe Bird, Ray Beck, Don Jones, Stephen Hinkemeyer and Tony Bohrer. Candidate Byron Willems was absent.
The three candidates with experience serving on council — Beck, Jones and Carwile — were asked why they need to continue serving the public considering elections, at times, “feel like a game of musical chairs.”
Carwile said he objected to that sentiment, adding he has “immersed” himself in the issues.
“Nothing that we do in city government is trivial,” he said. “We do important work for the citizens in this community. This form of government is where the rubber meets the road. The decisions we make impact peoples’ lives right after we pass the vote.”
Beck said there is a “learning curve” with council and his prior experience on council and with other organizations will be “an asset going forward.”
“It takes three or four years to learn how the role of city government and municipal government works,” he said. “In my position now, I bring experience to the table and because of the fact that you guys elected me to city council back in 2007, since that time I have had other opportunities to do other things to serve the community.”
Don Jones, who is term limited as mayor, said “experience,” “knowledge” and “wisdom” are “an essential part of being a council member and I look forward to … continuing that.”
“Right now you need some experience on council,” he said. “I think that is very important to lead us through the times we are in right now. It is not like everything is booming.”
Candidates with no elected experience were asked how many city council meetings they attended and what qualities they have that would allow them to run the city effectively.
Moe said he has been to about six city council meetings. He said that while the mayor’s position “does require knowledge (and) experience,” it also takes “creativity.”
“We need the experience, we need the knowledge, we need the wisdom, but I’ll tell you one thing that we do need that I think I can bring and that is a different perspective,” he said.
“I am the type of person that can be the cheerleader, the prodder, the puller, the come-along-er,” he said.
Bohrer said he has attended about six city council meetings. He said communication is the “key” to serving on council.
“One of the biggest things is if we do what we have always done, we are going to have what we always had,” he said. “Fresh and new ideas and a younger generation, trying to get my generation to stay here — don’t go to (Grand) Junction, don’t go somewhere else and start a business, stay in Craig. I think that is one of the things I really do offer is to be able to pull from my generation and get them to stay here.”
Bird said he’s been to about 20 city council meetings. He said his involvement with various community-based organizations through the years would allow him to work from “different perspectives” to make “sound judgment.”
“There was a lot of relationship building in that process along with the county commissioners and all of that because that is a foundation on growth, those relationships,” he said, “Everybody has got to work together. So, figuring out what is going on, where the infrastructure is, where we are with things, what needs to happen … things get bogged down due to a lack of communication.”
Hinkemeyer said he’s been to about 12 city council meetings. He said he would treat his council service like his duties at Trapper Mining Co. — a company he said makes all its own choices, good or bad.
“We make all of our own decisions and if we make the wrong one, we have to live with it,” he said. “So, what I have done over my years is if I come up with a solution, I’ll ask for three or four more. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. I’m a good out-of-the-box thinker … I can stand back and see things differently.”
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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