Vail councilman launches county bid
VAIL, Colorado ” Saying he’ll bring “enthusiasm and optimism” to county government, Vail Councilman Mark Gordon announced Monday he will try to jump to the county Board of Commissioners.
Gordon said he wants to challenge incumbent County Commissioner Peter Runyon in August’s Democratic primary.
“It’s a larger geographic area, and there are more resources and more ability to do great things, all the while not forgetting the personalities and the needs of the individual communities,” Gordon said.
Gordon needs to submit signatures of 130 registered Democrats to get onto the ballot. Runyon secured a place on the ballot at February’s county assembly.
They both want to represent District 1, which includes Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff, Eagle-Vail, Beaver Creek, Arrowhead, Homestead and some of Lake Creek.
Dick Gustafson, a Vail resident and former county commissioner, has been tapped by Republicans to run for the District 1 seat.
Gordon, a 45-year-old security department foreman for Vail Resorts, said he wants to make “progressive change” on the county level.
“We need a government that runs efficiently, is fiscally responsible and is inclusive,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he’d push for worker housing, environmental stewardship and mass transit as a commissioner. He’s dealt with issues in Vail that the county is facing with now, including affordable housing, he said.
The Vail Town Council passed strict worker-housing rules for new development during Gordon’s tenure. He entered office in 2005 with the promise to build affordable housing for 1,500 people in Vail and was the top vote-getter in that election after running unsuccessfully for council in 2003 and 2004.
As Vail has considered how the town should redevelop, the county has wrestled with the issue of how the county should grow.
“We need to regulate growth,” Gordon said. “We need to manage growth. We need to make sure the growth we get is the growth we as a county want. But, no, I’m not anti-growth.”
He wants to improve communication between the county commissioners and the towns, as well as between the county commissioners and residents, he said.
He wants to end the “rancor” that has existed on the commission in recent years, he said.
Runyon said Gordon’s move will take attention and resources from his own re-election bid.
“Obviously I would prefer that he didn’t (run),” Runyon said. “I’m not terribly concerned.”
Runyon touted his experience with countywide issues, including “managing” growth. But he added that his and Gordon’s views are similar.
“If there was a marked difference in our outlook, that might be something that you’d want to look at, but I think for the most part, we agree,” Runyon said. “If you were to parse it out, I would say he’s slightly more liberal.”
Gordon, who lives in West Vail with his wife and 5-year-old son, acknowledged that he’s “on the progressive side.”
Eagle County Democrats Co-Chair New New Wallace said the party continues to endorse Runyon, who got on the ballot through the county’s assembly.
“It’s his right to do so,” Wallace said of Gordon’s petition bid.
Gordon’s Vail Town Council term ends in November 2009. He said he would probably give up that office if he were elected to the Board of Commissioners.
Tom Edwards of Gypsum petitioned onto the ballot as a Republican in the 2006 election for county commissioner. He won the primary but lost the general election to Commissioner Sara Fisher.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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