Eagle County commissioners race begins
GYPSUM ” When Roger Brown first landed in the Vail Valley in 1962, he was bartering Vail Associates’ land for his filmmaking expertise. Now, 44 years later, Brown wants to trade another promise of hard work for your votes.
Brown is the first to announce his candidacy seat on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners that will become vacant in November. Brown ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board the 1980s.
“I think there are some problems that the county has that I think I can help solve,” Brown said. “I can’t stand by and see the county go in the wrong direction.”
Term-limited Tom Stone, the only Republican on the board, will be forced to leave his seat. Stone said his ideal candidate would be “somebody who is of my same line of thinking and somebody who will have a passion to work hard at the job and have an open mind and not be radical in any direction.”
Brown, who is unaffiliated, admitted people consider him liberal or even radical, but he disagrees.
“I think I’m a conservative,” he said. “It was radical to send our troops to war, and our country’s in a mess because of it.”
Closer to home, Brown listed development and disappearing ranches as a cause for concern.
“If elected, when decisions come in front of me about whether a property should be compromised, I would vote against that,” he said. “I won’t hurt a rancher’s chances of survival.”
Without better management, Brown said the reason people visit and live in the county will be destroyed.
“We need to put the brakes on before we kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Brown said in an e-mail.
Brown also said he wants to save the county’s remaining federal open spaces from roads, mining and dirt bikes. He added the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management don’t have enough staff in the county.
Brown admitted he can’t do anything about their staffing problems, but vowed to put pressure on the federal government.
“I think they have to listen to us,” he said. “I’ll align myself with (everybody) to do a better job of protecting the lands.”
While Brown said he’s in no one’s pocket, he appreciates the role Vail Resorts, real estate and construction play in the county. Brown promised to do no harm to these major players if elected.
“What I would like to have is an influence on where and how some of the new construction takes place in the county,” he said.
“We would do just fine without a lot of second homes,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what they provide besides a good construction business.”
If Brown is concerned about development, he’s down right worried about water, which he called “our Achilles heal.” He said more water has been doled out than actually exists in the Eagle River in a dry year. He also looks forward to exploring the pros and cons of a Wolcott reservoir.
Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or firstname.lastname@example.org.