“I’m running to give the people their voice back, which was quite noticeably taken away last Tuesday night at the Craig City Council meeting. The Craig City Council members got to speak their peace, but did not allow one single citizen for or against the fire training center to say a single word."
—Rick Barnes, Craig resident and write-in candidate for Moffat County's district 2 commission seat, about his decision to stay in the race
Craig resident Rick Barnes has maintained a relatively low profile since the beginning months of the 2012 campaign season.
Barnes is running as a write-in candidate against GOP primary election winner Chuck Grobe for Moffat County's district 2 commission seat.
Barnes on Thursday broke his silence to announce he has switched to the American Constitution Party and plans to stay in the race against Grobe because of “a few differences of opinion.”
However Barnes said he wasn’t motivated to thrust himself back into the race because of his own aspirations to win a county government seat.
He attended Tuesday’s Craig City Council meeting and left feeling city council members had done the community a great injustice by barring local residents from commenting on the Craig Rural Fire Protection District’s proposed site plan for a live fire training tower in city limits.
“I’m running to give the people their voice back, which was quite noticeably taken away last Tuesday night at the Craig City Council meeting,” Barnes said. “The Craig City Council members got to speak their peace, but did not allow one single citizen for or against the fire training center to say a single word.”
Several city council members during the meeting said their duty that night was to evaluate the plan on its merits and not debate the necessity of a live fire training tower in Craig.
But Barnes believes the council hid behind parliamentary procedure, choosing to side with the majority opinion of their colleagues — including council member Byron Willems, who also serves as president of the fire board — rather than listen to the voices of those who elected them to office.
“I think it was a cop out,” Barnes said. “There’s a lot more to this issue than just the building. They (Craig City Council) have a fiduciary responsibility to make decisions for the betterment of the entire community, not just a select few.”
Considering what’s at stake, $1.5 million in taxpayer funds, Barnes believes the training tower project should be proposed to the voters of the fire district as a ballot question.
“There’s a solution here that differs from simply pushing something the majority of the people don’t want,” Barnes said. “Considering how much taxpayer money they’re spending the decision should go to the voters of the fire district, not the fire board.”
Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.