Two candidates seek Roaring Fork seat | VailDaily.com

Two candidates seek Roaring Fork seat

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Two Roaring Fork Valley residents are vying for a seat on the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors. Voters will be asked to choose between Robert Gardner and Robert Hubbell.

Voting is “at large,” which means Eagle County residents can cast ballots for the Roaring Fork seat.

Also, four Eagle County residents are seeking two seats on the Holy Cross board this spring. Those candidates were profiled in Wednesday’s Vail Daily.

Directors will serve three-year terms.

The utility has sent ballots to its “members,” and those who receive bills from Holy Cross are eligible to vote in the election. Ballots can be returned by mail, or can be hand-delivered to the June 8 Holy Cross annual meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. at the utility’s warehouse building in Glenwood Springs.

The candidates participated in an email questionnaire. Here are their answers.

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Age: 60.

Occupation: I am retired. I do some consulting from time to time. You can learn more at http://www.gardnerbradford.com

Residence/district seat sought: I live in Basalt. I am running for a Holy Cross Energy Board of Director position representing the Southern District. The Southern District encompasses the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan River valleys from El Jebel to the foot of Independence Pass.

Why do you want this job? As corny as it sounds, I want this job because of love. I love what Holy Cross stands for and how well they do their job. They are a not-for-profit cooperative providing an essential service to their consumer/members at the cost of doing business. They think about what is best for the consumer. They act responsibility when it comes to the consumer’s pocket book, employee compensation and safety, consumer services and the environment. They are a good neighbor doing a good job without much notice.

I want to be a part of an organization like that and I want to contribute my skills and experience to help carry that kind of organization into the future.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Holy Cross Energy right now? Two major challenges facing Holy Cross are: planning for and providing an adequate power supply balancing the reliability of fossil fuel and hydro generation with the environmentally friendly, but less reliable, power supply from solar and wind; and encouraging consumers to continue to embrace energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy even though their electric bill is one of their smaller monthly expenses, often less than their cell phone and cable TV bills. Not to mention the challenges created by regulatory compliance and building and maintaining an adequate electric distribution system.

What grade would you give to Holy Cross’s current renewable energy initiatives? I would give Holy Cross an A for their renewable energy initiatives. They have long been a state and national leader in providing their consumers a variety of renewable energy choices.

What do you think the best path is to including more renewables in the Holy Cross portfolio while still keeping costs affordable for members? I believe that it is in the long term interest of Holy Cross, the United States and the planet to effectively develop any and all renewable energy resources. That being said, I think that it is important to balance the economic impacts of future energy supply in a responsible manner consistent with the desires of the consumer. I think a creative, conservative approach to increasing renewables is called for along with continued efforts to encourage and educate consumers on ways to reduce their energy usage.

Age: 44.

Occupation: CEO of Crawford Properties (El Jebel Commercial and Residential).

Residence/district seat sought: El Jebel/Southern District.

Why do you want this job? As a former Marine Corps officer, volunteering and community involvement is very important to me. I have put a great deal of work into my surrounding community and would like to extend that effort valley wide. I appreciate that Holy Cross is a local co-op that has chosen to remain in the community it serves, and continues to be accessible to its members. I want to ensure this continues.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Holy Cross Energy right now? The biggest challenge I see Holy Cross facing right now is the balance between the need for clean renewable energy vs. consumer affordability.

Will Holy Cross be able to recognize when the desire to be green is creating undue costs to its members? After choosing to convert my home to solar and incorporating renewable energy into a recent commercial building, I experienced first-hand that choosing to be environmentally responsible is not an inexpensive option. Is Holy Cross maintaining a financially responsible stance with investing in green energy and reinvesting in existing services?

What grade would you give to Holy Cross’s current renewable energy initiatives? The educational outreach of Holy Cross to our local schools is very positive. In their effort to teach our children the importance of conservation and the use of clean energy, I give Holy Cross an A.

For working with locals, such as farmers, ranchers, and ditch companies, I give Holy Cross a C. The valley has many local untapped resources. Our agricultural community could be a big partner in potential solar farms, wind farms, micro natural gas electric plants, and even in-line hydroelectric opportunities. As a community, together, we can keep costs down.

What do you think the best path is to including more renewables in the Holy Cross portfolio while still keeping costs affordable for members? It’s about balance and common sense. As I mentioned above, Holy Cross needs to be the leading force and the direct partner in utilizing the opportunities that our local land owners, farmers, and ranchers have to offer. Renewable energy plants require space that our agricultural community is willing to provide given the right partnership.

Professionally, my experience is similar to what I suggest of Holy Cross. I attempt to balance mandated government regulations and environmentally friendly improvements while trying to defer the cost from our tenants. I am eager to be given the opportunity to bring my experience and ideas to the board of Holy Cross.