Jennifer Riley announces candidacy for Moffat County assessor |

Jennifer Riley announces candidacy for Moffat County assessor

Michelle Balleck

currently the chief appraiser for the Moffat County Assessor’s Office and a Craig City Council member

Moffat County now has a second contested race on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Craig resident Jennifer Riley, 37, chief appraiser for the assessor's office, filed her affidavit Monday afternoon to be a write-in candidate for Moffat County assessor in the November general election.

"I'm running for assessor because I feel the work of the assessor's office is vital and important to this community," Riley said. "And, I believe I have the qualifications, the education and the experience to continue to do the work the assessor's office does and has been doing the last seven-and-a-half years."

Riley is a registered Republican, but write-in candidates do not run with a party affiliation, Riley said.

Riley will face Robert Razzano, 49, currently Moffat County treasurer, in the general election.

Razzano defeated Moffat County deputy assessor Carol Scott, 1,286 votes to 1,035, in the Moffat County Republican primary election Aug. 10.

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"I was 100 percent behind Carol when she ran for assessor in the primary election," Riley said. "I completely supported her candidacy, and unfortunately she didn't win.

"This is the next and only step that's permitted at this point to give the voters another opportunity to consider who should be the next assessor."

Scott said Monday she stands behind Riley's decision.

"I support her wholeheartedly, and feel she's every bit as qualified as I am," Scott said. "I wanted to and she wants to run for this office to maintain the ethics of what we do. We think that will be compromised by someone else."

Razzano said Monday he is thankful for the support he received in the primary election and, with Riley's filing, he plans to continue to campaign as he has the past several months.

"I'm the same guy I was last Tuesday," Razzano said. "I'm just looking forward to the voters' continued support in November."

Riley is a Moffat County native with a family that has held Moffat County public offices, including assessor and clerk, Riley said.

She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Wyoming and spent time working in Denver before returning to Craig in 2001.

Riley has been on staff with the assessor's office since 2003 and has been the chief appraiser since 2005.

"We're losing an assessor who's a working assessor," Riley said of retiring Assessor Suzanne Brinks. "When you're losing such a valuable member of the staff, you need to replace them with someone who has the qualifications, licensure and education to do the jobs that have to get done."

Riley, who is also a current Craig City Council member, said her campaign will not affect her work in the assessor's office nor her seat on the council.

"I can still work and do my job," Riley said about her position with Moffat County. "I will work to complete the job that we have at hand."

If elected, however, Riley said she would resign from the city council the same day she takes office as assessor in January 2011.

Riley said her campaign between now and the general election will include many face-to-face meetings with Moffat County residents via door-to-door contacts and visiting community organizations. She will also focus her attention on attending events and reaching voters via e-mail and social networking.

"I want voters to know that … I am very committed to the assessor's office and the work the assessor's office does," Riley said. "And I want to see the next assessor be someone who will advocate for every taxpayer for fair and equitable valuation."

Riley said a large part of her campaign efforts will be in educating voters on how to cast a vote for a write-in candidate.

Stephanie Beckett, Moffat County elections supervisor, said a blank will be available on the Nov. 2 ballot for voters to write in candidates' names.

Thus far, Riley and Tami Barnes — candidate for Moffat County Commission, District 2, who is running against incumbent Audrey Danner — are the only two write-in candidates who have filed their affidavits.

Electronic voters will have the same opportunity as paper voters to designate write-in candidates.

As the next two-and-a-half months progress toward the general election, Riley said she hopes she can convey her message.

"I really want this job," Riley said. "I certainly wouldn't be putting myself out there if I didn't truly believe I was the best candidate for the job."

Write-in candidates have until Aug. 24 to file affidavits with the Moffat County elections department.

For more information, call the department at 824-9104.

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