Craig Fire Board elections keep incumbents in their seats |

Craig Fire Board elections keep incumbents in their seats

Erin Fenner
Lupita Valencia casts her ballot for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District election Tuesday.
Erin Fenner

— Three Craig Fire Board incumbents running against Bruce Timberg, a Craig resident who criticized the board, secured their seats for another four years Tuesday.

Chris Nichols, John Forgay and Tony Maneotis ran against Timberg for four-year terms for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board. Board member Rodney Kowach was running, as well, but he was running uncontested for a two-year term since he was appointed to the position in 2013, after Alan Weber left.

The fire district election saw a large turnout: 425 residents submitted their vote in-person or by absentee ballot. The incumbents kept their spots in the Craig Rural Fire Protection District elections.

Residents were asked to vote for their three top candidates. Board members who received the most votes won the three open seats. Maneotis received 285 votes, Forgay 274, Nichols 252, Timberg 186 and Kowach (uncontested) received 326 votes.

That’s more than four times as many voters as the last fire board election saw, said Ashley Ellis, designated election official for the Fire Board.

That’s likely because of Timberg’s bid for the office, she said.

Timberg ran because he said he distrusted the board and felt they weren’t being transparent enough. His contentious run brought interest to the otherwise straightforward election that rarely has seen much competition, Ellis said.

Although he lost, Timberg still felt the large turnout was a small victory.

“I did my job to get the turnout,” he said. “Win or lose.”

He plans to vie for the board position again in the 2016 election, he said.

“Two years, we’ll go for (board member Byron Willem’s) seat,” Timberg said.

Nichols said he was glad to see such strong community support for the current board.

“I’m very happy for all of the support,” he said. “I guess some of the community has spoken to keep the existing board in their positions. Everybody rallied.”

Brandi Meek, who helped count ballots, said the board and fire department made a concerted effort to get people to come out and vote.

“We all worked hard to make sure people would know there’s an election today,” she said.

Ellis was glad about the results.

“I’m relieved that there wasn’t upheaval,” she said. She also encouraged concerned citizens to attend the open Fire Board meetings. “Come by a board meeting. Sit in and get informed.”

Kowach, who ran uncontested, said he sought this position out because it felt like his civic duty.

I wanted to be a board member “so I can help the community and the fire department,” he said.

He was pleased by how many people came out to vote in the election.

“I’m glad everybody is out voting,” he said. “It makes people more aware of the fire board. I wish more people would come to the meetings.”

Lupita Valencia was one of the 396 residents of the district who showed up Tuesday to cast her ballot. She was there to cast a vote for her boss, Nichols, she said.

“I want to support the community,” she said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or

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