Time to vote: Election day is Tuesday
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – It’s almost safe to watch something on a Denver TV channel again. Better, it’s almost time to stop guessing how locals will fare in an election year flavored liberally with anti-incumbent sentiment and actually get some answers.
There’s been plenty of ink and air time devoted to national and statewide candidates, but here’s a last look at local races, who’s in them and what they stand for.
Eagle County Commissioner
• Sara Fisher. The Democratic incumbent is running for a second term, and is campaigning on her deep local roots, her experience in local government – she spent 10 years as Eagle County clerk and recorder from 1993 -2003 – and her ability to make “tough decisions.” She and fellow commissioners Peter Runyon and Jon Stavney have cut millions from the county’s 2010 and 2011 budgets.
But Fisher has also had to defend her record, particularly the county’s investment in the Stratton Flats housing project in Gypsum. The county put $4.5 million into the project, which is now on its second owner. Fisher says the county’s involvement helped put together a deal to save the project, and says she’s confident the county will get much of its investment paid back.
• Claudia Alexander. The Gypsum Republican is the former manager of the Golden Eagle senior apartments in Eagle, and had to quit when the county attorney’s office ruled that she was violating the federal Mann Act, which prohibits anyone who manages federal money from running for local office.
Alexander, a relative newcomer to the county, has touted her business experience, which includes real estate management and management of senior housing complexes. Alexander says the county needs to scale back its programs and spending to just what’s mandated by state law. The county shouldn’t be in the housing business, she says. And she questions the county’s current plans to draw an assisted living facility to the county.
Eagle County Sheriff
• James van Beek. The challenger, is running as an independent candidate. On the campaign trail, van Beek touts his experience both locally and in Kosovo and Afghanistan, where he worked for the United Nations and the U.S. State Department in building up police departments in those countries.
As such, he has some great stories. But van Beek says his experience has also given him the ability to handle multi-million-dollar budgets and diverse staffs. If elected, van Beek said he’s going to concentrate on getting officers out of their cars and into neighborhoods. That, he said, is a way to help stop some crimes before they’re committed.
• Joe Hoy. Hoy has already served two terms as sheriff and is seeking a third. Hoy has overseen construction of the county’s expanded justice center, which includes an expanded jail, a renovated sheriff’s office and expanded and modernized courthouse facilities.
Campaigning this fall, Hoy cites his own experience and the solidity of his department. He says the budget – which he’s trimmed by about $2 million for 2011 – is his biggest concern. The department in 2011 will be somewhat smaller than it was in 2005.
While Hoy says he’s committed to programs in schools and for victims of crime, he acknowleges that there will be probably be cutbacks in the number of cops on duty at any time.
State House District 56
• Christine Scanlan: First appointed to the seat before the 2007 legislative session, Scanlan, a Summit County Democrat, is seeking her second full term to represent the district that includes Eagle, Summit and Lake counties.
Scanlan touts her independence from party politics, especially when it comes to education. She was the house sponsor of last year’s Senate Bill 191, a teacher and principal evaluation bill. That bill faced fierce opposition from the state’s teacher’s unions. To get the bill passed, Scanlan rounded up every Republican vote in the state house, and had just a handful of votes from Democrats.
Scanlan said her ability to work across party lines will be an advantage for the district.
• Debra Irvine: A Breckenridge-area Republican, Irvine is campaigning on making Colorado a better place for small business. Irvine also believes that the state’s education system needs to make better use of community volunteers during tough budget times.
A relative newcomer to the area, Irvine said she’s a big believer in local self-reliance and in helping local communities plan for potential emergencies.
Avon Town Council
Voters will choose four council members from six candidates.
• Jim Benson: Benson served on the Town Council for 1995 to 2000, and wants another shot on council. He says he’s concerned about the amount of money the town has spent on the Main Street and Lake Street projects, and wants to make sure the town doesn’t take on too much debt.
• Rich Carroll: The incumbent Carroll is seeking a second term on the council. He points to Avon’s successes over the last four years in getting pedestrian paths in upper Wildridge and helping shape the new ambulance station and Walking Mountains campus. He stands behind the town’s decision to realign Lake Street.
• Dave Dantas: Dantas, also an incumbent, says he wants to follow through on projects that he and the Avon Town Council have started over the last four years. Dantas has pushed for a bike path along Metcalf Road and has worked to complete a land swap that would shield Forest Service land near Wildridge from development.
• Chris Evans: Evans, who served on Avon’s planning commission from 1997 to 2009, says his business experience gives him the ability to make tough decisions amid shrinking budgets. Evans says the town must cut expenses and potentially delay capital projects. He wants to jump-start local businesses by making the town more pedestrian-firendly.
• Todd Goulding. Goulding currently serves as chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He says he would work to resolve some of the differences between the town and the developers of the Village of Avon. He also wants to improve communication between Avon and various outside groups it deals with.
• Paul Siemonsma: Siemonsma hopes to appeal to first-time home buyers and people who live in the heart of Avon. He has served for several years as president of his Avon condo homeowners’ association. He says he cut costs and used the remaining money to improve the complex.
• Incumbent Eagle County Surveyor Dan Corcoran, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Ted Archibeque. The campaign theme has been change versus experience.
• Running unopposed are: Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton; Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin; Eagle County Treasurer Karen Scheafer; Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.