Craig City Council candidates include incumbents and newcomers
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to better reflect a candidate’s comments.
This November, with four of six City Council seats up for election and only two incumbents running to retain their seats, a shakeup at City Hall on some level is essentially guaranteed.
Eight candidates are vying for the four council seats, while the open mayor’s seat will be an uncontested election with current Councilmember Ryan Hess as the sole candidate, and will seat a new mayor after incumbent Jarrod Ogden withdrew his nomination.
The eight council candidates are as follows:
Beaudin, 36 (almost 37), is running for public office for the first time with the hope to represent the people of Craig and not outside interests.
“I grew up in a small town,” Beaudin said. “Not a whole lot different from Craig, though quite a bit smaller. I feel there’s a lot of influence coming into Craig that doesn’t necessarily represent what a small town feels like. They want to bring ideas that don’t belong and don’t represent the people here. My goal would be to represent the people.”
Beaudin is a pilot and a mechanic. He works on Air Force refueler planes in the Air National Guard when not flying charter jets professionally.
David Bruce Cummings
Cummings, 60, is close to the end of serving out the remainder of Tony Bohrer’s term in City Council after the latter was elected County Commissioner and Cummings was appointed to the seat. He’d never previously held public office. Cummings says he sees great things happening in Craig and wants to keep it going.
“We’ve got a good team put together with the city, and it’s been able to work together to get some things accomplished,” Cummings said. “We’ve got some long-term goals accomplished, and there are more long-term goals yet to accomplish. We’re looking forward to what we need to do to make the change as we lose our industries, and we’re looking to fill in the gaps.”
Cummings is an advocate at the hospital for victims and folks with special needs.
Nichols, 66, is wrapping up his first term as City Councilmember. He’s looking to continue the momentum and experience he’s gained on Council to help transition Craig into the future.
“It’s an important time in our community,” Nichols said. “These next four years will probably be one of the most important, as we try to transition away (from coal). What type of economic diversity that we work toward to bring into our community — I think we’ve made progress. The (Urban Renewal Authority), the economic development council, working with joint services committees to get the city and council working together. I think we’re in a good position at this point and would like to see it continue.”
Nichols is retired from three decades owning restaurants in the region. He was also a fire chief with Craig Fire/Rescue and currently serves on the fire district board of directors.
Terry, 54 (almost 55), is running for public office for the first time. A self-described “strong conservative” who is originally from Kentucky, he hopes to keep Craig conservative.
“When I moved to Craig 20 years ago, it was because it was very much like the area I was from,” Terry said. “It seems that conservatism is continually leaking away from Craig, and we’re moving more and more to what I’d call progressivism and/or the middle. We’ve got to put the brakes on while we’ve got the chance.”
Terry is a sales representative for Frito/Lay.
John A. Alcedo
Alcedo, 57, is running for public office for the first time. A recent transplant to Craig, he hopes to speak up and become more involved and invested in his community.
“I moved here a year ago, and I know if you don’t get out and get involved, you won’t integrate, meet people, don’t have a voice,” Alcedo said. “The other part is this is my home. I care about this community. This is my last home, and I want to see this town, with so many transitions coming, everything growing out west, we need support for the local economy. We need to fight for local control of our community here, not let everything be dictated by politicians on the Front Range.”
Alcedo is a national account rep for a packaging company who was able to relocate to Craig thanks in part to the changes in working environments afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jesse James Jackson
Jackson, 46, is running for public office for the first time. After 30 years spent in Craig, the Moffat County High School graduate says he just wants to bring what could be a new perspective to the halls of power.
“Our town is going through a lot of changes,” Jackson said. “And I’d like to try to give some new ideas and come in with a new perspective and try to help the town out. It’s a good family town and I hope I can help. I’m about the kids in the town and trying to give them a better opportunity that can help us thrive past the doom of coal, per se, if that does go away.”
Jackson is an electrician at Trapper Mine.
Blankenbaker-Johnston, who goes by Katie Johnston but might appear on the ballot with her maiden name still hyphenated with her married name, is 29 years old and running for public office for the first time. A career educator, she hopes to continue to serve the community as she has for many years.
“I think about right now as a pivotal moment in our community,” Johnston said. “Our industries are changing, and a priority I have is to help Craig keep the cultures of what makes Craig great but also be proactive in what we’ll be known for. I don’t want us to become a bedroom community for Steamboat, I want us to control our narrative, be more than reactive, and decide: what are we going to come back and be defined as?”
Johnston is the assistant principal at Moffat County High School.
Hovorka, 35, is running for public office for the first time. A heavily involved community member since he came to the city 3 years ago, Hovorka hopes to shepherd Craig into its new future.
“Craig is going to go through a lot of changes in the near future,” Hovorka said. “A large influx of people are significantly changing our demographics. We need to accept some change, but we also need to keep our heritage — what makes Craig Craig. We know the powerplant and the coal mines are going away, so we need to figure out a new tax base. We don’t want to be a feeder community to Steamboat. I want us to be a standalone community getting by on our own with our own flair while still supporting the rest of the valley. I want people to turn left coming out of the airport.”
Hovorka is the production superintendent at Trapper Mine.
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Democratic candidate Colin Wilhelm, a Glenwood Springs resident who is vying for Rep. Lauren Boebert’s seat in the midterms, visited Craig on Tuesday to meet with voters on the campaign trail.