Candidates speak |

Candidates speak

• Full texts from Saturday's candidate speeches at the Moffat County Republican Party County Assembly

Tom Mathers

Moffat County Commission District 3 representative, running for re-election:

Thank you, Sari, for the words of encouragement. Thank you, Sherry, for your support, and thanks to all the delegates for giving up your Saturday morning to be here.

I appreciate it.

Most of you know me, but for those of you who don't, let me tell you a little about myself.

I have a love and passion for Moffat County. It comes from living here 61 years. This is my home. I'm a rancher, farmer and local business owner, all for over 41 years.

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I served as your 1988 to 1992 county commissioner. Within that term, the coffers were full and the mill levy was lowered.

In my current term as your county commissioner, my strong Republican values start with preserving our way of life. Here in Moffat County, that is natural resources.

We cannot afford to let our governor or president take that away from us. I will continue to fight for Moffat County. I'm a conservative Republican. I believe in the common-sense approach — stay within budget and do our part to slow government growth.

I listen to the people of Moffat County and I will continue to work for you.

Today, I ask for your vote so that I may continue to serve as your Moffat County commissioner, district number 3.

Frank Moe

Candidate for Moffat County Commission District 3


This is one time people are going to appreciate that I am known as a "doer," more than a "public speaker," because I am going to keep this short.

It is humbling and an honor to stand before you today, to run for Moffat County commissioner District 3. My wife and I moved to this community almost 23 years ago, and since that time, we have been truly blessed by the people and the way of life here. I feel it is time for me to give back to this community, and that is why I am running for this office.

I know I can bring a strong, dynamic and a creative business background, plus an effective sales and marketing approach to the Board of Moffat County commissioners. I believe government should be run in a business-like manner, and I would approach this job in the same way I have all my business endeavors. I know I can help lead our community in establishing a successful vision for all of our futures.

I believe that one of the main aspects of the county commissioner's job is to strengthen our position with all other government entities, so our voices may be heard, whether that be in Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction or on the Front Range in Denver.

We must gain, and maintain, the respect of all parties of government even if we disagree with their philosophy. Only then will we have the ability to be heard on any subject that would affect our way of life and wellbeing.

I am a very good listener, and I have been very successful at managing large and small businesses. My management style is one in which I strive to utilize good people to do the jobs they have been trained for, and to allow them the latitude to get their jobs done. This will maximize our efforts together in leading this county and community to a diverse and prosperous future.

This is my condensed view on the job I am seeking. If you agree, I would greatly appreciate your support both with your vote and with your involvement in our county government if I am elected.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Audrey Danner

Moffat County Commission District 2 representative, running for re-election

My name is Audrey Danner. I currently serve as your District 2 Moffat County commissioner since my appointment in December 2008.

In May of 1974, Ron and I packed our belongings in a Chevy Vega and moved to Craig. Craig has supported our family-owned business, our two children, Ryan and Rachel, as they grew up in Craig, and grieved with us after the death of Ryan at 17. This is our home.

As a commissioner, I continue to work not only for the people of Moffat County, but I work across county lines and economic sectors as decisions are interconnected.

Our natural resource industry provides a stable economy that is influenced by the cost of extraction, the cost of the commodity, and political decisions. My decisions favor a reasonable approach to managing the extraction of these resources and caring for our land and wildlife. I met with secretary Ken Salazar at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., to clearly outline the critical issues of protecting our sage grouse, our public lands and our economy.

The importance of our agricultural economy, coal mining and oil and gas to our economic future influences many decisions. In the past month, we have written secretary Salazar on the speculation about the Vermillion Basin designation and the sage grouse listing. Natural resources are the basis of our economy and I will work to preserve access to economic drivers and responsible development with multiple uses.

Water, also a natural resource, is a commodity we must manage to maintain our agricultural lands, provide for the growth of our cities and towns, provide for energy development and recreation needs.

Every economic driver relies on water.

For 13 years as the executive director at Yampa Valley Partners, I produced data reports for Routt and Moffat counties. Hosting forums and listening to citizens, business owners and non-profits gave me a background in our regional economy. I am careful in my decision-making, using data and common sense.

Government is not the answer to all of our needs. Together with my fellow commissioners we are adjusting our budget for services with a reducing bottom line due to national and state factors. We are working with departments and elected officials to continue serving the citizens with services we have all come to expect.

Budget meetings with employees include discussions on the reality of fewer tax dollars in the next years. We will need to resize our county government budget and prioritize the services we can offer.

To increase the efficiency of employees and improve our communication with citizens, I am pleased to initiate a partnership for new electronic services. Our Web site is under construction and will result in budget savings.

During my tenure at Yampa Valley Partners I was asked by local governments to facilitate a three-county public-private partnership to increase telecommunications infrastructure and capacity. We have important infrastructure in place for improved delivery of business, education and health care services by private industry. Building partners comes easily to me.

I was appointed by Gov. Ritter to the Innovation Council am currently involved with a statewide broadband mapping project to encourage development of infrastructure by the private sector.

Providing information to our legislators is key to being a voice for the citizens. You can count on me to meet regularly with legislators.

As the business personal property tax discussions continue at the state level, I will be involved.

Recently, all of the commissioners worked alongside our coal industry to oppose the "fuel switching" or "clean air" legislation. This pending legislation will be detrimental to our future. Now, we will adapt to our new reality.

Each of you can count on me to listen to your concerns, learn about the issues at hand and make decisions based on fact and reason. I will continue to work with diverse opinions and find common agreement to serve the interests of Moffat County. My leadership will continue to make a difference.

Each of you has a card at your setting good for a free cup of coffee at Serendipity Coffee Shop downtown. Thank you for giving up your time this morning — enjoy a good cup of coffee.

If you would like to ask me questions or visit about the issues, please call.

I ask for your vote for District 2 commissioner. Thank you.

Tony St. John

Candidate for Moffat County Commission District 2

I want to thank Ken Nielson and Carl Sokiu for their comments.

Republican leaders and fellow delegates and guests, as I take this opportunity to speak to you today I want to ask you a very important question… Is Moffat County moving into the 21st century?

Yes, it is time for us to move forward. However, as we try to move forward as a community, we are faced with obstacles that may threaten our way of life and any progress we have or may achieve.

State leaders recently signed the House Bill – 1365 Clean Air – Clean Jobs Act… This bill has the potential to cause great changes in our way of life… If we do nothing about it… we can lose that way of life that we have grown to appreciate and care about in our community… We need to take action and it needs to happen now.

That is why I am here today. If elected I will work with other community leaders to protect our interests in Moffat County… I will take your ideas and your concerns to where they will be heard and that means to the state capital if needed.

We need to concentrate on what we have in Moffat County. We have many strengths in this great county. We have ag, ranching, hunting, tourism, economic development, energy, exploration drilling, our local businesses and our college… These are our future of Moffat County.

Moffat County is rich is coal, oil and gas, we need to be knocking on the governor's door, not just sending letters, to get whatever fees lifted that are not reasonable to the drilling companies, so they will return to Moffat County, which will create new jobs and improve our economy, while continuing to promote our other strengths that I have already mentioned.

If elected as your county commissioner, I will work with the other commissioners to invite our governor and state leaders to come to Moffat County and take a tour of our power plant, visit our city and county. Let them know the effect that their decision on HB – 1365 would have on our community.

If elected as your county commissioner I will work very hard for everyone in Moffat County to help our way of life… I will make sure our voice is heard, … Even if that means again knocking on the governor's door…

It is my hope that we remember that the Constitution of the United States of America was created for us… For the people by the people… Not for the people by the government… I ask for your support for county commission, District 2.

God bless America and thank you…

Tami Barnes

Candidate for Moffat County Commission District 2

He pretty much hit on all of my qualifications. I have been a small business owner. I have extensive finance and accounting abilities. I know how to set a budget. I know how to stick to it. I know how to run it.

I decided to start running for county commissioner when I saw this, this is our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, it's getting thrown out of the door, it's getting thrown out with the trash, not only locally, but at the state and federal levels. It is time to bring our Constitution, which everybody in here has talked about pretty much, back into Moffat County government. This is our home. This is where we live, we work and we play. We need to start using our Constitution to save ourselves and our homes and our jobs. And I ask for your vote today, so I can implement this from day one. Thank you for your time.

Larry Dalton

Candidate for Moffat County Coroner

My name is Larry Dalton and I am running for Moffat County Coroner.

My fellow Republicans, many of you I have either visited in person, at home or at work, or shared a telephone conversation and many of you received my flier in the mail.

I became familiar with Moffat County several years before I chose to move my family here. I had been here on several hunting trips and fell in love with the wide open areas and the beauty from the top of Black Mountain to the Vermillion Basin. That was 12 years ago.

Before moving to Moffat County I worked for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office for 12 years. During my tenure at Arapahoe, I had several occasions to work with the Arapahoe County Coroner. While working for Arapahoe County, I attended the Arapahoe County Community College, where I received an associate's degree in criminal justice.

After moving to Moffat County, I went to work for the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and have been there for 12 years. During my tenure, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Moffat County Coroner, Owen Grant, and have established a personal and professional working relationship.

Aside from my degree, I have attended several other criminal justice courses for Crime Scene Investigation. Crime Scene Investigation is very important. The coroner, at the time of the incident, will conduct his investigation and complete a written report.

This might include taking pictures, measurements and talking to witnesses.

The law enforcement agency, Colorado State Patrol, Craig Police Department or the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, that has jurisdiction will also conduct an investigation and complete a written report.

Depending on the nature of the incident, the body or bodies may need to be transported to Denver for an autopsy.

Autopsies are not done locally.

A forensic pathologist will conduct the autopsy and complete a written report.

The coroner will take all the written reports and review them to make the determination as to the cause of death. While reviewing these reports it is very important that the coroner have an understanding of criminal investigation in order to understand and interpret what has been written. The coroner must be able to compare the reports and identify any disimilarities in the reports.

In our community, we have the opportunity for a chemical incident. Whether it is a chlorine leak at Tri-State or a meth lab incident in the city or county. I have received over 80 hours of training at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. in Pueblo, Colorado. I am a certified Hazardous Material Technician and served on the Moffat County Haz-Mat team for five years.

What does that mean?

Heaven forbid, should there be a chemical incident that required Personal Protection Equipment for entry into the crime scene. I would be able to put the full encapsulated suit and air pack on and go into the crime scene and conduct the independent coroner's investigation.

There is one more very important aspect to the coroner's job. Death notification.

Death notification is not new to me. During my 24 years in law enforcement, I have had the task of notifying loved ones of a death or accident where the loved one is not expected to live. These notifications are usually late at night or in the predawn hours.

These incidents happen out of state and that local law enforcement agency will call and ask us to notify.

All of this said and done. Why do I want to be the Moffat County coroner?

I have spent a lifetime seeking knowledge and gaining experience. Much of the time, as a Deputy Sheriff, we are viewed in a negative way. As coroner for Moffat County I can use my knowledge and experience and give something back. Not only to Moffat County but to the people whose lives I will touch. I am a kind and compassionate person. With all of my qualifications and attributes, I can do what is right and just and give a timely closure. Therefore leaving a positive feeling on the family and friends in a time of need.

There are still several areas that I could talk about. However, I believe that I have outlined the basic requirements of the coroner's job. I have also outlined my qualifications for the job showing you that I am the best qualified candidate for the job. I want to thank you for your vote of confidence as you place your ballot.

Once again thanks to all the delegates who came today and thanks to the Republican Party Central Committee for all their hard work.

And, last but not least, a special thanks to Owen Grant for the excellent job he has done for the eight years.

Kirk McKey

Candidate for Moffat County Coroner

Let's talk about the coroner. There are going to be changes this year. The coroner's office has been associated with the mortuary for as long as I can remember and that has been good for Moffat County. But this is a year of change. Now we need somebody to step up and take in this office and that is why I was one of the first people to announce their candidacy for coroner.

Everybody says 'why do you want to be around all these dead bodies?' It is not the dead bodies so much as it is the investigation. The coroner has got to determine the cause of death, the time of death. He is responsible for the body and has custody of it until it is released back to the family.

Now I began back in January learning about this office to see if it was a fit for me and it is. All of this interests me. I have already visited with Owen Grant on several occasions about what is involved with this position and what needs to be done. On average, the coroner handles 50 investigations a year. So theoretically that is about one a week, but we know that is not how it takes place.

I have a work schedule that allows me flexibility and freedom to handle this position.

The biggest change for Moffat County is going to be the coroner's budget. Owen has vehicles for transport. Owen has storage facilities. These are the mortuary's. These aren't the county's. So in a few months, or probably sooner, the commissioners are getting ready to do the budget for the coroner's office for next year. But Owen is not going to be there. Either Larry or I will be in that position. So this budget is going to be very important because you have already heard that the revenues of the county are shrinking, so we have got to be very cost effective in how we run this office.

I'm your man. I work with budgets all the time. I have served on many boards, and if you have served on a board, what do you deal with? Budgets. I am very good at that and I think that I can take the coroner's office into the next four years and serve Moffat County in the same way Owen Grant has done it in the last eight years.

I have already visited with the chief of police, I have already visited with the Sheriff. I believe that the office of coroner is about building relationships also.

The other thing that I have learned about the coroner's office is that the newly elected coroner has to attend a 40-hour training put on by the state. This is put on in the second week in December, normally in December I take the last week off for vacation with the family, but we are making other arrangements so that if the 40-hour training becomes available, I can take that week off and be there. That is a continuing education every year. I love continuing education as required in my current profession. So that is something that will be a great match for me.

The position of coroner is kind of interesting in the fact that across the state there are many different occupations that coroners hold. For example, our neighbor in Routt County, is a pastor. So the state mandates this office and the state trains the coroner as to how they expect the investigations to be done.

My record shows that I'm a doer. Every organization that I have belonged to, every committee I have served on, I contributed, I try to make it a great organization or one better when I leave and that is what I plan to do with coroner. I'm asking you to make me your coroner for the next four years. You put me in that position and I will take this job and I will make sure that it is conducted very effectively, very economically and with the responsibility that should be done.

Now autopsies. The coroner has to make a decision if there will be an autopsy or not and that involves transportation. And again, the county doesn't own transportation equipment to take care of this, the mortuary does so it is going to be very important, in my opinion, to have a great working relationship to use some of the facilities that they have.

The other part of that is, is Denver the most cost effective place to have the autopsy done? Is Grand Junction better? I don't know, but I guarantee you by the time January gets here, I will know that.

So this is how much I have learned in just a few short months about the office. By the time August gets here and it's our primary election, I will have a fairly good grasp on it and then by the time its time to take office in January, I will have a very thorough understanding and experience and knowledge in a lot of these areas that are required.

So I haven't called you all at home, I haven't been by to see you. I have tried to be respectful of your time because we have a lot of important decisions to make, and until just recently I was unopposed and I just thought I could tell you everything about me that you want to know in a very short time this morning. However, I did put my phone number in the phone book. Please call with any questions. But if you put me in the coroner position, I will pledge to it 100 percent of my ability to do that office, and do a good job for Moffat County.

Thank you all very much.

Mike Brinks

Candidate for Moffat County Treasurer

My name is Mike Brinks and I'm running for Moffat County Treasurer. Thank you, Dave, Dean, and Dave for your kind words. I accept your nomination.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to participate in the county assembly, the most grassroots of all politics in this country. Thank you also to the central committee for the time and effort to make this all happen.

I was told that as my letter to the precinct caucus was being read that three people fell asleep at one of the precincts. I assume that the rest of you heard all about my qualifications for the office of treasurer. I think that most of you know that I am qualified for the office.

County treasurer is a big job that handles a lot money. You need education and experience to make sure that tax dollars are safeguarded and distributed correctly. A large part of that is done with internal accounting controls. I have spent a lot of time in class learning about the how's and why's and wherefor's of controls. Accounting controls minimize errors, and bring errors to light when they are made. I have witnessed firsthand when controls are implemented and working and when they are not, and we must be vigilant that our controls not become efficient.

At the risk of putting some of you to sleep, let me talk for a minute about the budget. Whether it is Trapper Mining, Bernie Businessman, Rick Rancher, or the school district, you always have to keep an eye on expenditures and look for ways to cut costs or become more efficient if you are going to stay in business. It should be no different at the county government. I studied the county budget when I served on the citizen's budget advisory board, and more recently have looked at the treasurer's budget. I think that we can save some tax dollars. I started thinking about it in January, when I read in the newspaper about approving a computer contract for something like $170,000 over three years. It would be a priority of mine, if elected, to look into this contract, and, if need be, to change vendors.

Comparing the treasurer's computer budget with the assessor's and the clerk's, I believe that we should be able to save up to $40,000 per year. There are other, smaller line items that also need to be looked at very closely.

Now, I have a confession to make.

I'm hard of hearing. I have tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in my ears, which makes it difficult to hear clearly over the ringing that is always there. I wear hearing aids, which help, but do not cure the problem. This doesn't mean that my brain doesn't function. I know that it's annoying if I ask you to repeat yourself, but I do so because what you have to say is important to me and I wanted to understand. It is worst when there are many people talking at the same time, or there is background noise, but the treasurer's office is usually a quiet environment in which we can converse in a normal tone.

I would like to leave you with a final thought. You are the owner of one of the largest companies in town, with a large cash flow. You need to hire a finance officer to oversee the financial operations and investments of your company. You have two resumes. They are the resumes for county treasurer.

Who are you going to hire?

You, the delegate, have a choice. You, the taxpayer, demand the best for the county.

What kind of government do you want?

Thank you.

Elaine Sullivan

Candidate for Moffat County Treasurer

Good morning.

Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Lila. Thank you, Daddy.

Your support and confidence in me is gratifying, indeed, even flattering. Thank you so much.

An institution may spread itself over the entire community. It may employ people, but the average person will almost always form a judgment of it through their contact with one individual.

If a person is discourteous, inefficient, or ineffective, it will take much time and energy to overcome that bad impression.

Each member of an organization, who in any capacity comes in contact with the public is an agent, and the impression made is an advertisement, good or bad, which will make an indelible impression on the mind of the public.

I am of service. What I do makes a difference in people's lives. This has been the mindset I've closely held these many years. I serve Moffat County.

My experienced leadership can be witnessed by the customer service I have pledged to you, through my staff. I have the respect and support of the entire current treasurer's office staff, who embody the same dedication, experience and work ethic expected by you.

My 28 years of service has given me much insight in government and county process. It has given me experience in increasing and declining budgets, all the while maintaining budget discipline.

Today, I come before you as an experienced candidate with a record. A record of dedication and commitment. A record of service. A record of work ethic. A record of leadership.

As your treasurer, I will work conscientiously on behalf of the citizens of Moffat County to ensure the safety and liquidity of the funds entrusted to me in order for the county to meets its obligations in the most timely and efficient manner possible. Business is conducted by the law, implemented with integrity, transparency and fiscal restraint. This I will continue as your country treasurer.

I appreciate your support and ask for your vote.

Thank you.

Carol Scott

Candidate for Moffat County Assessor:

Good morning.

My name is Carol Scott and I am a candidate for Moffat County Assessor. Many thanks to the central committee for organizing the assembly and keeping us informed.

I would also like to thank Suzanne and Jennifer for nominating me. Their friendship and support are invaluable. I'm proud to know that my candidacy is endorsed by my boss and co-workers.

Because this is the first time I have run for office, it has been quite a learning experience and no doubt will continue to be. It hasn't been easy at times, but it has been an opportunity for personal and professional growth, much like my career in the assessor's office.

I hope by now most of you are familiar with my qualifications — specifically my experience, education and licensure. On a more personal note, I would describe myself as honest, hardworking and team oriented. I think people appreciate the fact that I listen, and that I generally don't lose my composure.

These traits come in handy sometimes in our office — specifically during protest period, a lively time of year when I get to meet a lot of new people.

Honestly though, one of the best parts of my job is interacting with the public and having the opportunity to talk about why and how we value their property. I hope that people feel they can come into the assessor's office to voice their concerns and have questions answered in a professional manner. Most of the data we collect and analyze is public record. We are happy to present it and make sense of it.

Like all county offices, the assessor's office is bound by laws, statutes and guidelines. Four out of six staff members are licensed appraisers. This licensure comes with its own set of legal and ethical standards that if violated may result in license revocation. Compliance with the standards and ethics of our licensure is very important to us.

Our staff strives to be accurate, efficient, accountable and most importantly, equitable.

Failure in this regard has expensive consequences for the county. One example would be the failure to properly value a classification of property, resulting in unrealized revenue. Another example would be to fail the annual state audit, which would result in a reappraisal order that the county would be required to pay for. This actually happens in some counties. We have never had any compliance issues with the audit. In fact, we have been commended for newly implemented appraisal practices.

If I am elected assessor, the commitment to equitably value property and meet compliance standards will continue. I live in this county and am accountable to the public for the work that I do.

Another important duty of any elected official is the willing participation in countywide planning and problem solving. I look forward to working with the commissioners, other elected officials and department heads to improve the services provided to county residents. Through collaboration, we ensure that the statutory duties of each office are met.

I will be out in the community campaigning in the coming months and I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.

Thank you for your time, consideration and support. I respectfully ask to be placed on the ballot as a candidate for Moffat County Assessor in the August primary election.

Tim Jantz

Moffat County Sheriff, running for re-election:

Thank you, Elaine.

Mr. Chairman and members of this assembly:

I have greatly enjoyed being your sheriff during the past three years. There have been many challenges that needed to be overcome, but let me tell you, I enjoyed every minute of it.

I feel great compassion for the people of Moffat County, and I am going to continue to work hard to ensure the safety of our community.

When I started my campaign to be your sheriff, I was very compassionate about the safety and concerns of the people of Moffat County. I want to ensure you that I have not lost one ounce of that passion and commitment.

I believe I accomplished many of my goals since I have been elected as Moffat County Sheriff. My staff and I worked endless hours to provide excellent service to the citizens of Moffat County. I take great pride in having a staff that believes in me and has helped me to achieve my goals. We want to continue to be approachable and available to all of our citizens in the county. We want to continue to encourage people to express their needs. We want the sheriff's office to be a positive and safe work environment.

All of us have worked hard to meet the needs of the citizens of Moffat County and I believe that we have been good stewards of the taxpayer's money. My administrative staff and I have stuck by Republican standards and managed money responsibly and we want to continue to do so. I believe that my staff and I have served our county well in the past three years.

The safety and protection of our citizens remains one of my main goals. The continuing meth problem continues to be a high priority, and upcoming budget constraints may change how we actively do drug enforcement, but I am committed to pursuing illegal drug activity to the best of our abilities for the safe environment of our children.

In closing, I would like to thank the people of Moffat County for giving me the privilege and honor of being your sheriff for the last three years, and I ask the members of this assembly for your support.

Thank you.

Lila Herod

Candidate for Moffat County Clerk & Recorder

Thank you, Corrie and Elaine. Good morning fellow Republicans and delegates. I am grateful and honored to accept the designation as the Republican Party's candidate for Moffat County Clerk & Recorder.

In 1989, Barbara Baker hired me as her new part-time employee and over the years this job I fell into has become my lifelong career. As an employee of the clerk's office, I have a proven and consistent work ethic and I have excelled in my pursuit to obtain the education and excellence necessary to serve as your county clerk.

As you all know, my candidacy has been challenged under the Hatch Act, and I was instructed to withdraw from the race or resign my position in order to continue my campaign.

I sought a decision from the Office of Special Counsel and why I didn't just keep this Hatch Act information "under wraps." And my answer is simple enough — for 20 years I have served as the county's election director and I take pride in this position. It is my duty and responsibility to conduct open, honest and transparent elections. In my professional position, how could I ignore the implications that have been directed my way? I will not shrink my duties or hide behind any law in order to protect my job.

This is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, and I have to tell you I haven't always felt very confident about my decision, but on the very day I decided to resign, I received an email from my friend Kelly Cook. It was a little story with a very profound lesson, and I would like to share it with you…

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well…

The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovels load later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off.

Along with this story, Kelly sent me a message. She said. "Hang in there, Lila. The farmers messed with the wrong donkey!"

Now I realize this is a Republican Assembly and I am not a donkey… I am an elephant.

I'm not sure if it was coincidence or divine intervention, but this little story has become a part of my daily thought process.

I love my work in the election office and because of the term limits it has been a natural progression that I would run for county clerk.

My situation is proof that you're never fully in control of your destiny. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball or tends to shovel dirt on you … The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. And this is how I've decided to run my campaign.

I'm going to shake it off and take a step up.

Now, as I've only been unemployed for eight days, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'm grateful for this opportunity for personal growth.

It's easy to stand before you and tell you that I will maintain my integrity and choose to make the right choices even at personal sacrifice. But I've literally been given the opportunity to prove that I will not only say the right things … I will do the right things and I am willing to make these hard decisions.

I'm thankful for the love and support of my family and friends who gave me the strength and confidence to act. I have said all along that my fight is not with the federal government. My fight is for the right to run my campaign and to serve as your county clerk. I believe my actions are evidence of that commitment.

I believe in hard work, loyalty, honesty communication and teamwork. I will bring these traits along with the passion and dedication it takes to serve as your next county clerk.

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