Commissioner McQueeney solidly wins re-election in sole contested county race
EDWARDS — As she entered the Eagle County Democrats’ watch party in Edwards Tuesday night, Nov. 6, supporters told District 3 county commissioner candidate Jeanne McQueeney that she had already won her re-election race.
“I couldn’t get my head around that. People were staying that to me, and I just couldn’t process it at all,” McQueeney said.
But when the first results were reported at 7:15 p.m., McQueeney had already built up a commanding lead over her Republican challenger, Jacqueline Cartier. That lead held through the night. When later unofficial results were posted around 9 p.m., McQueeney had amassed 11,427 votes to Cartier’s 6,831 — a 63 percent to 37 percent difference.
McQueeney’s campaign centered on what she believed were important issues for Eagle County working families — housing, early childhood education, quality of life and mental health.
“It’s always good to go out and knock on doors and talk with people,” McQueeney said. “Generally people seem to like the direction the county has taken.”
That was particularly true regarding the issue of affordable housing.
“I did a lot of door knocking, and affordable housing was people’s No. 1 issue,” McQueeney said.
The Vail Valley Partnership’s recent Eagle County Workforce Study showed that 61 percent of the employees surveyed cited finding affordable housing as a “major frustration.” McQueeney said that during her first term as a county commissioner, more than 683 affordable housing units were approved for construction by the county.
McQueeney said the commissioners are always looking for ways to do more. In August, they announced plans for a 22-unit workforce housing project adjacent to the Castle Peak Senior Care Community in the Eagle Ranch neighborhood. The $6.5 million project, which is proposed as a joint effort between Eagle County and the Eagle County Housing and Development Authority, can eventually transition into an independent living center associated with Castle Peak Senior Care Community.
Out on the campaign trail, McQueeney said Eagle County residents also cited improved mental health services as a priority.
“We are so fortunate the voters approved mental health funding in 2018. That has allowed us to build up a program and start to fill in some of the gaps,” she said.
Health care costs and transportation improvements were also on voters’ minds this year, McQueeney said. She noted the solutions to those problems extend beyond the reach of the Eagle County commissioners, but the current board is working with other leaders throughout the state to address the issues.
McQueeney added she was thrilled by the results from the county open space ballot question, which drew 81 percent support.
“I loved the margin of the open space victory,” she said. “That shows support for the overall open space program and for the most recent open space purchases.”