If you go ...
What: Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board special election
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 8
Where: Craig Rural Fire Department, 419 Yampa Ave.
— All registered voters in the fire district may participate in the election
“We get a very low turnout because we don’t raise a lot of problems. I think that’s a testament to the fact (the fire department) is run pretty well and the public doesn’t worry about it too much.”
— Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board President, about voter turnout for special district elections.
March 2 marked the deadline for residents and landowners to self nominate for the May 8 Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board special election.
This year, two of the board’s five seats, which are currently occupied by Byron Willems, board president, and Alan Webber, board member, are up for election.
Willems, who has served as president since 2002, is seeking another four-year term.
Webber is also seeking reelection. He has served the board since 2005.
A little-known third candidate, Talia Johnson, is also vying for one of the board’s two open seats.
“I don’t know who she is,” Willems said. “I think she recently moved to Craig. I’ve been told she is interested in running because she served on the fire district board in her old town.”
Johnson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
The fire district holds a special election every two years. Board seats are staggered to maintain some continuity and to prevent a 100 percent turnover each election cycle, Willems said.
In 2014, three seats occupied by Chris Nichols, board treasurer/secretary, and John Forgay and Tony Maneotis, board members, will come up for election.
Board seats are at-large positions and anyone who lives or owns property in the district can run for a position on the board.
The Craig Rural Fire Protection District is a “jig saw puzzle” encompassing approximately 100 square miles. It includes Craig and expands west 10 miles to Sand Springs and south to about Hamilton, Willems said.
Elected candidates serve for a period of four years.
Special elections typically are held at a district’s headquarters, Willems said. In this case, the May 8 election will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Craig Rural Fire Department, 419 Yampa Ave.
Unlike government offices at the municipal, county, state and federal levels, candidates do not run for a specific position on the board, Willems said.
“I’m up for reelection this year and I just happen to be the board president, but that does not mean that I am running to be president again,” Willems said. “I’m just running for a seat. The board then elects officers during the first monthly meeting after the election.”
Although all registered voters within the district can vote in the special election, Willems said a typical turnout is around 80 to 100 people.
“This is a generalization, but most people who vote have a genuine interest because they are directly related to the fire department or know someone directly related to the fire department,” Willems said. “We get a very low turnout because we don’t raise a lot of problems.
“I think that’s a testament to the fact (the fire department) is run pretty well and the public doesn’t worry about it too much.”
For more information on the Craig Rural Fire Protection District special election, call Ashley Ellis, district designated election official, at 824-5914.
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