Menconi launches re-election campaign
County Commissioner Arn Menconi Monday launched his reelection campaign surrounded by dozens of supporters, including several Republicans.
“I’m a Republican who will vote for Arn,” said Ron Wolfe, who was among the more than 150 people who attended the reelection rally at Agave restaurant in Avon.
“Local politics shouldn’t be about whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, but about caring about Eagle County,” said Wolfe, 62, an Avon town councilman and chairman of the county’s Open Space Advisory Committee. “And Arn has demonstrated he cares about Eagle County.”
Although Election Day is still seven months away, people attending the rally were greeted outside the Mexican restaurant by “Vote Arn” campaign signs. Inside, people mingled eating fajitas and burritos and drinking margaritas.
Menconi, 44, said he wants to run again for the District 2 seat, which covers parts of Avon and extends west to Edwards and Eagle, because he would like to continue the work he started in 2000 when he won his seat by 39 votes. This year, he faces a challenge from Republican A.J. Johnson, who was the Eagle County sheriff for 20 years before being forced from office by term limits.
“This is a campaign about my experience and continuing my hard work,” Menconi said. He told his supporters: “I love this valley and this county very much. I love representing all of you. This is about a positive campaign.”
Menconi said he will run a campaign that addresses issues concerning the young and old, Democrats and Republicans, including:
– Sustainable growth.
– Economic development.
– Smart land use planning.
– Environmental health.
– Early childcare needs.
– Ethics and government.
“The people in this room represent our many communities comprising our county as a whole,” Menconi said at the rally. “As a moderate democratic, I am working to bring all beliefs together and represent community-based government.”
Sarah Townsend Davis, 28, of Avon, said she will vote for Menconi again because as a politician he does what he says he will do. “He makes Eagle County a better place,” Davis said. “He makes a decision on what will best serve the majority.”
Brian Sipes, a Republican and an Avon town councilman, also said he will vote for Menconi. “Arn listens and represents all people in Eagle County no matter their affiliation or where they live,” said Sipes, 37, of Avon.
Bob Oppenheimer, 44, a Democrat from Eagle-Vail, said he was happy to see that the turnout to the rally was bipartisan. “I will vote for Arn again because he believes in the same things I believe,” Oppenheimer said. “He is environmentally conscious, he is after smart growth in the county and he is a great bicyclist.”
Larry Agneberg, 52, a real estate broker from Edwards said he hasn’t decided whether to vote for Menconi or Johnson. “Arn asked me to come and I came,” he said. “I’ve also known A.J. for a long time. I still have to make a decision.”
To Vail resident Michelle Kump, 33, it’s important that Menconi continues his work on smart growth. “I’d like Arn to continue working on preserving our beautiful environment while providing for a stable community,” she said.
Another Republican, Don Cohen, 50, said he would like to see the towns and county working more collaboratively. “Arn gets people involved and excited about issues,” said Cohen, who has worked with Menconi and Wolfe in the “Shaping the Future of Eagle County” seminar, now a course at the Colorado Mountain College.
Menconi called those who attended his rally a “cross section of the community.”
“The crowd included several leaders of the community, people who give a lot of service,” he said.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Runyon will challenge Gallagher for party nomination
By Veronica Whitney
Daily Staff Writer
Longtime local Peter Runyon said he will announce next week that he is challenging incumbent Michael Gallagher to be the Democratic candidate for county commissioner from eastern Eagle County.
Runyon, 58, lives in Edwards and has lived in the area since 1970. He said he will announce Thursday that he is running for the District 1, which comprises Vail, Red Cliff and Minturn and parts of Eagle-Vail, Avon and Edwards.
“If I’m elected I’m going to work with all the commissioners,” Runyon said on Monday at a reelection rally for Democratic County Commissioner Arn Menconi. “One of the issues facing Eagle County is that our commissioners seem unable to work together as a team. Politics is all about compromise.”
Voters will choose between Runyon and Gallagher at the Democratic party caucus on April 13.
Gallagher, who was out of the county due to health issues Tuesday, couldn’t be reached for comment.
If elected, Runyon said, he will focus on setting guidelines to control growth in the county and work to preserve the quality of the county’s streams and rivers. He said he will also try attract to the area high-end, environmentally friendly businesses that pay middle class wages rather than low-paying service industries.
In the general elections in November, all voters in the county can vote for candidates in each commissioner’s district. Menconi is expected to face a challenge from longtime former sheriff A.J. Johnson, who is running as a Republican.
Runyon moved to Vail in 1970 and worked for 10 years as Vail Associate’s staff photographer. He now owns a two postcard and souvenir companies.