Heat turns up in fire board elections

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— Four seats on the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board are up for election May 6.

Three current board members — Chris Nichols, John Forgay and Tony Maneotis — are running for another four years up against a contester, Bruce Timberg. The three candidates who receive the most votes will get a seat. The fourth board member up for election is Rodney Kowach, who was appointed to the board in 2013 when Alan Weber left the position. He’s running unopposed.

“When you appoint somebody, you have to run in the very next election,” said Ashley Ellis, designated election official for the fire board.

The extra open seat and the challenger has made the usually uneventful fire board elections exciting, Ellis said.

“It’s not normal to have four people up for re-election in one year,” she said.

She suggested this might make the election more interesting, encouraging more people to get out and vote. Usually, only about 100 people come out to vote in the fire board elections in a district with about 5,500 registered voters, she said.

Timberg also has positioned his candidacy as a way to address his concerns about the fire board’s conduct. It needs to increase its transparency, he said.

“I have no gripes against the firefighters whatsoever,” Timberg said. My gripes are “with the board.”

Ellis ventured that Timberg’s campaign could bring attention to the elections.

“If he’s bringing awareness to the elections, that’s a good thing,” she said.

Nichols said he wanted ensure firefighters were prepared to handle emergencies.

“I want to help promote the fire department and provide the best training and equipment so our firefighters can be the best equipped,” he said. “I have a good understanding of the fire department, the budget and what the fire department needs to do to provide excellent service to the fire district.”

If voters need absentee ballots, they must request them by May 2. Registered voters in the Craig rural fire district can vote in the elections from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 6.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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