Club 20 hosts Caucus in Moffat County

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Quotable

“As representatives to Craig and Moffat County we represent members and ultimately the Western Slope. We have a lot of moving parts.”

— Moffat County Club 20 Voting Director Ray Beck

The Club 20 Moffat County Caucus didn’t see any drama Friday as members Ray Beck, Audrey Danner and Bob Johnson were unanimously reelected to their positions for the next two years as voting director and alternates.

As voting director, Beck is responsible for representing Moffat County within Club 20 and for casting Moffat County’s vote based on member’s preferences.

Club 20 is a coalition of individuals, businesses, organizations and communities in Western Colorado’s twenty-two counties.

The club was created 59 years ago when business leaders from the western slope got together for the common cause of lobbying the state for more funds to pave roads. At the time 50 percent of all roads in Colorado were in western Colorado, but the region only received 10 percent of the state’s funding for roads.

The club originally represented the 20 counties west of the continental divide.

Over the years, two counties have been adopted into the club as they relate more closely with the interests of the rural and agriculturally based western region.

Club 20 executive director, Bonnie Petersen, said after business leaders realized how successful the model they used to move from receiving 10 percent to 37 percent of the state’s road funds, they decided to continue dialogue and keep the club going.

Petersen said today, the club addresses concerns important to the western region such as public land, water and natural resource issues.

With 10 standing committees to explore issues pertinent to the region, the club meets twice yearly in board meetings to discuss those issues.

Club 20’s membership is open to anyone, with the goal of finding commonalities, solutions and hopefully a balance of what makes sense for all western region residents.

Beck said he feels many community members dodn’t understand what the club did.

“As representatives to Craig and Moffat County we represent members and ultimately the Western Slope. We have a lot of moving parts,” Beck said.

He added the club is very membership driven, saying membership was the lifeblood of the organization and there weren’t enough words to say thank you.

Natural Resources Director for Moffat County and Club 20 member Jeff Comstock said he originally joined Club 20 as part of his job.

Hired to follow natural resource issues in Moffat County, Comstock said he naturally gravitated to Club 20 to learn about the important issues. But as the longest standing member, he’s stayed on for reasons other than his job.

Beck, also a Craig City Council member, said he joined after some convincing, but has realized he has a passion for the club.

“They’re on the right track, and I would encourage anybody to join,” Beck said.

Running for state representative in House District 57, Club 20 member Jo Ann Baxter said she joined the club in order to get more information on education issues.

Running for Moffat County Commissioner in District 1, John Kinkaid is also a member of Club 20.

“Ray asked me to join but he didn’t have to ask twice,” Kinkaid said. “I’m closer to the end of my life then the beginning, and this allows me to be involved in things I’m passionate about.”

Melody Villard, director for Moffat County Tourism, said she’s a member of Club 20 because she likes having a voice throughout Colorado.

“If we’re not at the table we’re not being heard. No one else will do it for you,” Villard said.

Bob Johnson of State Farm Insurance and a Club 20 member said he moved to the western slope from the Denver area 15 years ago and joined the club to get more information.

“I’m impressed with the latitude of services they’ve offered,” Johnson said.

Beck said members could trust the resolutions that come out of board meetings to not have a slant because every side is debated and if possible the middle has been found.

Petersen said the club is crucial in representing counties in the western region because western Colorado has unique needs.

“We often get a one size fits all form Denver and Washington. That doesn’t always work for us,” Petersen said.

After the vote and during the meeting, Petersen brought up several key issues including the need for wider broadband services to western Colorado, the need for leaders, oil shale and sage grouse.

Petersen is in the process of finalizing guest speakers for a building toward broadband for Colorado conference slated for 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. November 15 at the Ute Conservancy District in Grand Junction.

Petersen said the conference will aim to shed light on broadband and other telecommunication issues facing Western Colorado, and sharing views and concerns members would like to have considered in legislature.

Petersen also stressed the importance of training leaders to take the place of older members in years to come.

The club is accomplishing this by holding an annual leadership conference, already planned for June 6 and 7 of next year.

“How do we get younger people involved, who’s helping them know what it means to be a leader,” Petersen said about the purpose of the conference.

The motto of the club and the most important aspect of the club stressed by members was, “we want to be at the table.”

For more information visit www.club20.org or call (9700 242-3264.

Darian Warden can be reached at 8875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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