Six of seven Eagle County political races are uncontested this year; here are those candidates
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EAGLE — After Eagle County voters are done making choices for statewide offices on this fall’s ballot, the options dry up considerably.
Of the seven county races on this year’s ballot, only one is contested. Incumbent Jeanne McQueeney is facing challenger Jacqueline Cartier for the District 3 county commissioner race. Five of the other six county races feature incumbents running unopposed. The sixth — the Eagle County Surveyor post — features a newcomer who is not facing an opponent.
Here is a rundown of the uncontested Eagle County races:
Clerk and Recorder: Regina O’Brien
Regina O’Brien was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners as the Eagle County clerk and recorder in December 2016 to fill a mid-term vacancy. This is the first time she has run for the office.
“This work is really meaningful,” O’Brien said. “I take my role as the election official for Eagle County very much to heart, as the accuracy of each county election forms the foundation for trust in local, state and national results. It’s motivating and inspiring to be a part of that democratic process.”
O’Brien said she takes pride in the customer service focus in the clerk and recorder’s office. O’Brien is also responsible for motor vehicle titling and registration and property records and legal documents. Her office also serves as clerk to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.
“When necessary government services, such as vehicle licensing and recording, are delivered in a pleasant and efficient manner, that makes an impact,” she said. “I’m very motivated to serve a full four years and find innovative ways to continue to improve the customer experience.”
Treasurer: Teak Simonton
Teak J. Simonton took office as county treasurer in November 2016 after being elected to complete the term vacated early by the previous treasurer. From 2003 to 2016, Simonton served as Eagle County clerk and recorder.
“I decided to seek re-election because I love my job,” Simonton said. “As a person who enjoys working with numbers and finance, I am fortunate to also lead a strong and capable team of financial professionals. Providing great service, both internally and externally, maximizing interest revenues and managing our systems efficiently are responsibilities that motivate me every day to do my best in the roles of treasurer and public trustee.
“This job is detailed and important work that is challenging, rewarding and valuable to the residents and property owners of the county,” Simonton said.
Assessor: Mark Chapin
Mark Chapin was first elected Eagle County assessor in November 2006 and re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He has worked in the Eagle County Assessor’s Office since 1991.
“I enjoy working for the citizens of Eagle County,” Chapin said. “I have worked in appraisal and assessment for the past 41 years in Colorado, 27 of those years in Eagle.
“I really like all aspects of my position — working with people, communicating and educating to ensure property owners have the best information and understand the assessment process,” he said. “I also have the benefit of working with a staff that is not only professional and customer-friendly but also very well educated and accomplished in the assessment process.
“I look forward to the next four years in office continuing to work at applying the fairest and most equitable values on all property,” Chapin said. “This will be accomplished by utilizing new technology and continued involvement in the legislative process for property valuation.”
Sheriff: James Van Beek
James van Beek was first elected Eagle County sheriff four years ago. He is a U.S. Army veteran with more than 23 years of law enforcement experience.
“I love serving our community, our great state and our country,” van Beek said.
“Throughout most of my life, I have always served in one uniform or another,” he said. “Law enforcement is a calling to serve and protect everyone in the community. We, I believe, as law enforcement over the last few years have done well. I believe that we are on the right track, yet I’m running again because we can still do better.
“It has been my honor to serve these last four years, and it is a privilege to continue to serve everyone in the coming four years.”
Surveyor: Kelly L. Miller
While he is not facing an opponent in this fall’s election, Kelly L. Miller is the sole newcomer among the various county officials on the ballot.
But he is not new to the county or new to surveying duties. Miller is currently employed in the county staff surveyor position. This November, he is running to fill the elected Eagle County surveyor position, as well.
The elected county surveyor’s duties are relatively narrow and relate to settling boundary disputes when directed by a court or when requested by interested parties and creating survey markers and monuments and conducting surveys relating to toll roads and reservoirs.
Coroner: Kara Bettis
As Eagle County Coroner, Kara Bettis is a certified death investigator with the Colorado Coroner’s Association and a nationally certified medical investigator, Level 3.
She was first elected to the post in 2002.
Bettis noted it takes a special combination of skills and experience to serve as coroner. She said part of the job is investigation and part of it is counseling, and she credited her strong staff with being able to meet the job challenges. On a personal level, Bettis said she finds her coroner career fulfilling.
“I enjoy working with families and helping them,” she said.
Skyla M. Piccolo-Labbs, 23, William C. Ellifritz, 26, and Brooke L. Forquer, 21, all from Craig, were arrested on one count each of first-degree murder and booked into the Routt County Jail around 11:40 p.m. Saturday.