Some voters focused on local issues
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Cleo Castillo is a big believer that one vote can make a difference, especially in local races.
But several voters interviewed Tuesday acknowledged that they hadn’t followed many local races. Otto Jordan, of Eagle, is voting in his first presidential election this year, and acknowledged that he hadn’t studied local issues very much.
Still, he said, he was eager to cast those first votes.
“It’s a chance to tell them what I think,” he said.
Castillo said she had done her homework, adding that county and local elections can be just as important, if not more so, than national races.
“(County commissioners) affect us today, and our future,” Castillo said. “They affect the way our county goes.”
Over the campaign season, Castillo said she’d met most of the commissioner candidates.
“They’re all great people,” she said. “Each one has strengths.”
But, Castillo said, she’d had a chance to see one of the candidates at work in the past. Courtney Holm, the Republican candidate in commissioner District 2, is a lawyer, and Castillo said she’s seen Holm at work in a courtroom, and was impressed.
“She’s lived here,” Castillo said. “I like that she’s for all of Eagle County.”
Jessica Holminski of Eagle said she’d had a chance to meet Jeff Layman, the Republican running for the District 1 seat on the county commission, and liked what he’d talked about in that personal visit.
Much of the discussion between commissioner candidates this season has been about the county’s 10-year-old open space tax. Some voters mentioned that as being part of their voting process.
“I have a special concern about maintaining open space,” Eagle-area resident John Briggs said. “I’ve tried to support the candidate who shared that view.
“As important as business is, overdevelopment can appear just ridiculous sometimes.”
While the commissioners’ race drew the attention of some voters, Gypsum resident Jen Hiland said that other than the presidential race – she’s a supporter of President Barack Obama – she also cast an enthusiastic vote for Scott Turner, the Republican candidate for Fifth Judicial District Attorney.
“He’s had the job; he’s already working in the office,” Hiland said.
Lines were short in Avon, as they were in other places in the valley, thanks to most of the county’s registered voters either voting early or voting by mail. By mid-afternoon, about 300 people had voted at Town Hall in Avon. Several voters contacted said they hadn’t done much homework about either Avon’s Town Council election or the Eagle River Fire Protection District’s proposed tax hike.
John Thrasher said he’s a friend of Avon Town Council candidate Jake Wolf, so came out to vote. But, he added, that was the only candidate he voted for.
Jodi Link said she’d done the same, except for her friend Jennie Fancher.
“She’s an awesome candidate and a wonderful person,” Link said.
But town resident Jim Daily said he’s ready for a change on the council.
“I hope we can get some better people,” Daily said. “I hope they can get people who’ll do a better job of taking care of the people here.”
Fellow resident Stephen Lloyd Wood said he’s also hoping for better leadership in town.
“The town’s planned so badly, it will take multiple elections to straighten it out.”
Becky Kiser said she also thinks the town government could use some improvement.
“I don’t like the fact they’re spending all that money,” she said, referring to the town’s legal bills in trying to settle the lawsuits with the developers of the Village at Avon project.
While voters had personal reasons to cast their ballots, all took their civic duty seriously.
“It’s important to vote – it’s one of the best rights we have as U.S. citizens,” Castillo said.
And, while this is Jordan’s first election, it’s likely to be the first of many.
“Everybody needs to get out and do this,” he said.