Minturn keeps its longtime mayor
MINTURN – Minturn’s longtime mayor will keep his job.
Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty has served as the town’s mayor for 10 years off and on, and Minturn voters on Tuesday elected him to a sixth two-year term.
“I’m excited,” he said. “You know? You don’t get in these races to lose. There’s a lot of exciting things coming up.”
Flaherty said he’s looking forward to tackling the Battle Mountain annexation and sorting out the town’s water system. Flaherty won with 135 votes to challenger Jerry “JB” Bumgarner’s 111 votes. Although Bumgarner won’t be mayor, he will keep his seat on town council.
“I would like to have won but losing is not the worst thing,” he said. “I still have a seat on the council and I think we have a working council. That’s the main thing.”
As for the council race, former mayor Earle Bidez was the top vote-getter with 157 votes. Two incumbents – Aggie Martinez and Shelley Bellm – will keep their seats with 149 and 146 votes, respectively. John Rosenfeld barely missed the cut with 145 votes, while Frank Lorenti trailed with 76 votes. The winners will serve four-year terms.
The town said 250 votes were cast, representing a turnout of 32 percent.
Bidez is no stranger to town politics. He served as the town’s mayor from 2002 to 2004, and served on council for six years in the ’90s.
Contacted Tuesday night, he said he was anxious to get back to work for the town.
“It feels good, I can’t deny that,” he said. “I think we have a great group on council and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Bidez also owns a Minturn business that installs home theaters. Looking ahead, Bidez said he wants to work with the developers of Battle Mountain to move more quickly on upgrading the town’s deteriorating water system. Sidewalks on Main Street are another priority, he said.
At the polls, Minturn resident Bec Jones, 39, said she voted for Bidez because he represented “some fresh blood but experienced in town politics.”
As for the incumbents, Martinez was appointed to council a year ago. Now he knows for sure the voters are behind him.
“I’m glad that people think I can be a help to my community and I appreciate their support,” he said. “I’m willing to be there for them, too.”
A retired water and sewer line inspector, Martinez said he served on council many years ago.
“My priority is to listen to the people,” he said.
Bellm has been on the board for four years.
“I’m thrilled to be able to continue to serve the community and that they have the confidence in me to be able to do it,” she said.
As for this term, she wants to make sure there are no more spills at the superfund clean-up site, tackle upgrading the water system and work with the Eagle County School District to find a new use for the Minturn Middle School building. The school district recently decided to combine students from Minturn Middle and Meadow Mountain Elementary at the former Battle Mountain High School building in Eagle-Vail, possibly as soon as fall 2011.
At the polls, Minturn resident Woody Woodruff, 59, said the election would determine who leads the town through a tough economic time.
“I think it’s important that we’re able to survive the next few years, while Battle Mountain gets their act together,” he said.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.