Edwards’ De Clark kicks off commission campaign
Edwards Republican Richard De Clark, 46, says Eagle County’s commissioners are too divided to effectively serve residents.
De Clark therefore announced his candidacy for county commission Friday night in Edwards. He faces a challenge from Democrat Peter Runyon for the seat currently held by Mike Gallagher of Minturn, who has not yet announced his candidacy. The District 1 seat represents Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff and parts of Avon, Eagle-Vail and Edwards
This is De Clark’s first run for elective office and he said he wants to create a different atmosphere on the commission, which he called polarized.
“One of he most pressing things we need to do is to create an atmosphere of trust between the commissioners,” he said. ” Right now, that might not be happening. They need to be looking out for the citizens of Eagle County.”
He formerly ran a large company that sold artificial flavoring. Among his high-profile clients were bottled-water makers Perrier, Calistoga and Arrowhead. Since selling his business a decade ago and moving from southern California to Edwards, De Clark has started a scaled-down artificial flavoring business that he operates out of his office in Edwards Village.
He’s been active in community affairs, including a stint as chairman of the Jimmie Heuga Center and work with the Youth Foundation. He and his wife of 24 years, Janet, have three sons who attend Battle Mountain High School, the Charter Academy and the Vail Christian High School.
“I’ve been lucky in my life,” he said. “I created a great business and great jobs, managed a budget and have a skill set of executive management used to build consensus.”
De Clark said he wants to put those skills to work as a county commissioner. One of major initiative he said the county should pursue is collaboration on service provided to residents – particularly recreation.
“We could do it through a collaboration of the willing,” he said, consciously avoiding the word “consolidation.”
He said he finds no fault in the fiscal management of the county, adding only that finances should continue to be well-managed. He also said his skills as a consensus builder could be put to good use.
“Part of how you solve the problems is to ask the people involved how they would solve it and then figure out what works,” he said. “This is a nice, tight-knit community where, with everyone working together, you can do things.”
De Clark is one of five candidates to announce a bid for commissioner. The field also includes former sheriff A.J. Johnson, Avon Mayor Buz Reynolds and incumbent Arn Menconi, who are all competing for the latter’s District 2 seat, representing parts of Avon, Edwards and Eagle.
Menconi is a Democrat, Johnson a Republican and Reynolds is running as an independent.
The general election is Nov. 2 and county residents can vote for a candidate in each district.
Gerald Gallegos is chairman of De Clark’s campaign committee. For more information about his campaign, call 569-3180.
Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.