Moffat County Commissioner, Mathers encouraged to consider Senate seat |

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Moffat County Commissioner, Mathers encouraged to consider Senate seat

Commissioner declines, says he will keep eye on applicants

Tom Mathers

At its regular meeting Thursday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, transfer of payment of warrants for December totaling $89,547.31.

• Approved, 3-0, transfer of intergovernmental funds for December totaling $895.48.

• Approved, 3-0, a purchase of service contract between the Moffat County Department of Social Services and Steamboat Springs Transit to provide bus trips between Craig and Steamboat Springs not to exceed $20,000 for the year.

• Approved, 3-0, three letters of support for the Colorado Transit Coalition requesting an earmark under the Federal Transit Administration for 2012 to Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman-elect Scott Tipton.

• Approved, 3-0, a Colorado Works substance abuse services contract with Colorado West Regional Mental Health of Glenwood Springs for 2011 not to exceed $2,000.

• Approved, 3-0, a conflict attorney services contract with Leslie A. Goldstein of Steamboat Springs for legal services when county attorney Jeremy Snow is unavailable at a cost of $100 per hour for 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, a December budget supplemental for various county departments. The supplemental pulled $8,329 from the contingency account and $31,900 from the emergency reserve account.

• Approved, 3-0, two senior driveway snow plowing requests.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 2010-102 amending 2006-22 concerning oversized or overweight transport permits adopting various applications, bridge restrictions and extra-legal transport restrictions.

• Approved, 3-0, a total of 63, five-year mineral leases from the 2010 mineral lease sale with Axia Energy, Hannon & Associates, Jack Overstreet and West Point Energy on 13,973.73 acres totaling $3,383,527.15 to be split among the Moffat County taxing districts and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

• Interviewed several residents for various county board positions including Dan Lowe for the land use board and the planning and zoning board; P.J. Nichols for the planning and zoning board; Todd Jourgensen for The Memorial Hospital Board; and Bill Baker for the Maybell Volunteer Fire District board.

Shortly after State Sen. Al White announced he would resign from his seat in the legislature, a Moffat County Commissioner's cell phone started to ring.

That cell phone belonged to commissioner Tom Mathers and on the other end were several former state senators encouraging the 61-year-old Craig native to throw his hat in the ring for White's position, he said.

White, a Hayden Republican, will be named director of the Colorado Tour­­ism Office on January 11.

The Eighth State Senate District Central Committee vacancy committee will soon start looking to replace him. The committee will meet at 2 p.m. Monday to discuss appointing a person to serve the remaining two years of White's term.

The committee will review letters of interest and interview candidates for the position Monday, several of whom have already stepped forward.

"I felt honored, I really did," Mathers said during the county commission's Thursday meeting. "Honored and scared at the same time. The downside is that if you get appointed … you are going to be there a year trying to get a handle on it and the next year you are going to every community trying to get re-elected for the next term."

Ultimately, Mathers said he would not submit a letter of interest to the vacancy committee.

Mathers said between his family duties and owning his own business, Mathers' Bar, he would not have the time required for such an appointment. He added serving as a state senator can be "quite a drain on your lifestyle."

"My roots are buried a little too deep right here," he said.

Even though Mathers turned down the offer to apply for consideration, he said he took a few days to consider it while on vacation in Florida for the holidays.

"I had to really consider it," he said. "But, man, I'm just not there. I have got a business here to take care of. There's other people that have got their names in the hat that are much more qualified than I am."

Mathers said one of the two former senators that contacted him was concerned about future legislation regarding the energy industry being introduced into the state legislature this coming session.

"They wanted somebody that would get in there and actually fight for the coal," Mathers said.

Commissioner Tom Gray said he did not consider vying for the position.

"I have no doubt they'll do a good job — it's a tough job," he said of the vacancy committee.

Gray said he thinks the committee should consider what the voters want based on trends of recent elections.

"Anytime there is an appointment, I think there is a real need for the committee to consider what the voters would do if they were actually voting, not to look at it as an application with a resume," he said.

Mathers said he would watch the appointment process with interest.

"I guess I am just waiting for the list to come out as to who all has been nominated to run for our senator," he said. "At that time, I am going to pick the one I think is going to be the best and I'm going to lobby the heck out of everybody on that board to try to get (him or her) in."

Mathers said he has a clear idea of the type of candidate he would like to have appointed.

"I think anybody that has our same values — the values of Moffat County — would be a good senator," he said. "You know, somebody that believed in the natural resources that we have to offer and to try to slow government control down on our natural resources."

Commissioner Audrey Danner, who serves on the vacancy committee, said she knew what qualities she would like in a state senator.

"In a state senator I look to the leadership across the state — the good leaders that we have," she said. "I will look for those qualities of good common sense, ability to solve large problems, ability to listen well, to communicate well with the public, and to take the time to do the work to understand the issues and to work well with other senators."

Danner would also like the senator to be willing to learn about, and keep in mind the diverse issues of the Eighth Senate District.

"Yes, I would look for senators such as we have had that listen to us, that are willing to learn about our issues of natural resources — that is very important," she said. "They have to represent Moffat County as part of this district."

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or