Candidate Debates at J.W. Snack's
Candidates for Moffat County Commission Districts One and Two and Colorado House District 57 debated the issues in a candidate forum hosted by the Craig Daily Press at J.W. Snack's in Craig.
“I’m making $58,000 plus to run the county, that’s what I should do."
— Rick Barnes, candidate for Moffat County Commission's District 2 seat, about hiring a county manager
Republican Chuck Grobe and Rick Barnes, a member of the American Constitution Party, both running for Moffat County Commission's District 2 seat, said they would listen and get back the voice of Moffat County residents during a debate Thursday night at J.W. Snacks in Craig.
As for achieving those goals, they have different plans.
Attracting small business, Hayden seceding and the hiring of a county manager were hot topics discussed by both candidates.
As for attracting small business, Grobe, former mayor of Hayden and substation manager at TriState, said working with the Economic Development team is key, along with understanding infrastructure needs.
“People don’t really understand our infrastructure needs, things businesses look for such as reliable phone service and broadband,” Grobe said. “We need that infrastructure to help both large and small business.”
Grobe also stressed the importance of working with different types of business aside from energy to assure Craig remains strong in the boom and bust cycle.
Barnes, a write-in and rancher, argued regulation is what’s holding small business back, along with the need to utilize available resources such as the railroad. Barnes also stressed the importance of bringing in business from outside the state and even outside of the country.
When addressing the idea of Hayden receding from West Routt County into Moffat County, Grobe said he saw the decision as up to the communities, but said he didn’t see the action coming to fruition.
“They’re a bunch of frustrated citizens that feel they’re not being represented by their county officials,” Grobe said, adding that the residents of Hayden are why he feels it important to work with all citizens of the county.
Barnes response was succinct and to the point saying, “Sure, more taxes revenue.”
He went on to say that if they can’t come to an agreement with their commissioners than why not come to Moffat County.
As for hiring a county manager, Barnes again got to the point with a simple, “no.”
Barnes said he’s heard both sides, hearing most businesses think a county manager is needed while residents outside of town are against it.
“I’m making $58,000 plus to run the county, that’s what I should do,” Barnes said.
Grobe said he could see both pros and cons of hiring a county manager, and said he had not made up his mind on the matter.
“I’ll be talking to voters and see what their thoughts are,” Grobe said.
He added he felt hiring a county manager might smooth out transition periods from election to election.
In closing statements, Grobe said his plan for the county involves going out and rubbing elbows with all members of the community.
Barnes, said he plans to get Moffat County residents their voice back by reestablishing communication between officials and constituents. Barnes also added that all issues were moot if the Sage Grouse were put on the endangered species list. Naming it as one of the most important issues to him.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org