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Longtime public servant moves on

Sixteen years as Rio Blanco County commissioner, several years serving on numerous boards and even a few years on the Rangely School Board is enough for Rio Blanco County resident Don Davis. Although he said he likes serving, he is ready to move on.

“Public service work is not as easy as the general public believes. The first thing is you just can’t make everybody happy,” Davis said. “It may seem strange, but I really liked it.”

Davis said always he had a challenge to address, and part of that challenge was to find solutions and compromises that worked.



“Sometimes it is easy, and other times it could keep you awake at nights,” he said.

Davis, a proud Republican and Bush supporter, admitted that belonging to a political party now is a lot different than it was years ago. He said he gets annoyed with the type of branding that goes on today.



“Conservative and liberal are almost bad words now,” he said.

Davis said he’s been viewed as conservative, but on the local level he pleads liberal.

“I support programs that help seniors, and schools have always been a personal soft spot,” he said. “Anything that helps our quality of life.”

He said the last few years were a challenge with the budget cuts from the state level and the decrease in assessed property evaluation.

“Some things came out of left field, but we’ve come out a lot better off than some other counties,” he said.

He said the economic picture was looking a little better for the near future, but he had some concerns.

“We need some growth in our county and towns — that would help our schools,” he said.

Davis said, locally, he was most proud of the improvement in the gas field roads.

“They are in good shape now —- they used to be trails,” he said,

Nationally, his pride is with the work he’s done through Colorado Counties Inc. on the Payment in Lieu of Taxes for counties with public lands.

Davis served as chairman of the Public Lands Committee for four years. He was also the representative for the Western State Region with the National Association of Counties,

“PELT is a huge boost of counties like Rio Blanco County that has so much public land,” he said.

Davis said the money that counties are paid for public lands goes directly into the general fund.

“It has no strings, so it helps pay for roads, schools and other county obligations,” he said.

Davis has spent most of his life in Rangely and Northwest Colorado. He retired from Chevron before his public service career. He and his wife, Paula, live in Rangely and keep busy with their 21 grandchildren.

Davis’s public service life ends in January when Commissioner- elect Ken Parsons is swore in for duty.

Davis is looking forward to retirement and has not thought too much about what he will do.

“I used to play a lot of golf before I was a commissioner, and I liked that a lot,” he said

He said he would miss some things about the job.

“I’ve made a lot of friends, and I will miss working with them and just visiting with people. But I think my wife has plenty of honey-do’s to keep me busy,” he chuckled.


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