Then there were three. The primary season is complete, and Eagle County voters have three candidates to choose from for the District 1 county commissioner seat: Jill Ryan (Democrat), Jeff Layman (Republican) and myself, Dale Nelson (independent).
I trust the general-election process will be about the ideas we have to move the county forward and less about ideologies. I hope that the organizations in the county will host candidate forums for the two commissioner seats to start a discussion about our vision for Eagle
It is my job to let the voters know what to expect from me when elected. The primary task for the county commissioners must be economic development. Creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed and grow needs to be the focus of the commissioners.
The first step should be marketing ourselves better, especially the summer and shoulder seasons. We have a worldwide audience for our winter activities. However, how many people know how good the mountain biking, fishing, rafting and hunting are in Eagle County?
Perhaps we could create a portal where all business that have a sales tax license could place a link to their business and develop this site so it comes up first when someone searches for "summer fun in Colorado," as an example.
We also need to promote the wellness portion of our economy. Look at the success the town of Vail has had with the Teva Mountain Games.
I happened to attend the Vail Town Council meeting when it was discussing the whitewater park and whether they should make the investment or not. I do not think they regret the investment. It has been a tremendous success.
We need to develop similar things countywide and support the towns where we can.
Additionally, we need to search for and recruit small businesses whose products or services are a good fit for the economies we already have. Is there an outdoor-gear, technology, renewable-energy, fitness or medical-technology company that would be willing to locate, relocate or open an office here?
The county raises revenue to provide services from two sources: property taxes and sales tax. Property tax revenues continue to fall with the devaluation of real estate. If the county is going to be able to continue to provide the services, then it needs to see increased sales tax revenue. That will only happen if we create an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed. These are just a few ideas. I am aware that this type of development does not happen overnight or even in the four-year term of a commissioner.
However, we need to lay the groundwork and get started. It seems to me that historically we have been reactive to the issues. We need to be proactive in working for our future.
I hope that I have struck a chord with many of you. If you wish to maintain the status quo, you can ignore this letter. If you truly want to make Eagle County a better place, or would like to help me with this grassroots campaign, you can email your questions or comments to email@example.com. You can also follow me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DaleNelson
I also would be happy to talk to any groups who want to hear more. I have just a little more than four months to get my message out. Thank you for your time.