Vail Daily endorsement: Stavney for county commissioner |

Vail Daily endorsement: Stavney for county commissioner

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

This seems like a relatively easy endorsement to make, and in a way, it was.

There are those of us on this newspaper’s editorial board who have known Jon Stavney since he first became Eagle’s mayor. Over the years, we’ve generally been impressed by his intelligence and by the sheer amount of effort he’s put into his elected jobs.

That’s become even more pronounced in Stavney’s term as an Eagle County commissioner. Stavney has made his elected position his full-time job, and it shows in the connections he’s made and the meetings he so frequently attends.

Sending a department head to a meeting about river use sends one message. Sending an elected official sends another, namely that this topic is important enough to dispatch a representative of the people.

Then there’s the simple fact critics don’t want to hear: Eagle County is being run pretty well right now.

Two years ago, this group of commissioners was warned about a coming fiscal cliff and took decisive action. That action wasn’t easy – scores of people lost their jobs. Still, it’s more than was done by some other local governments that take a bite of our property tax dollars.

The fact is, Eagle County seems to be well-positioned for the next drop in property tax revenue coming in 2014. This board of commissioners deserves credit for that.

The county’s relatively strong fiscal position is why open space has become perhaps the central issue of this year’s campaign. Reasonable people can, and do, disagree about where that dedicated funding source is going, and how property is managed. But again, the fact of the matter is that the program is decidedly different today than it was when Stavney took office, with a much greater emphasis on public access than simply giving ranchers money to not develop their land.

Make no mistake, Stavney believes in an activist government. But he remains just a few clicks to the left of center. He’s no Nancy Pelosi. Or even Diana DeGette.

So this endorsement is easy.

On the other hand, we’ve quickly come to like and respect Courtney Holm, Stavney’s Republican opponent.

Holm got into the race in August, after former candidate Shayne Mitchell dropped out. She’s played a credible game of catch-up ever since.

We like her willingness to throw herself into a difficult project, and she seems to have quickly come up with a reasonable campaign platform, through both research and a firm sense of who she is and how government ought to work.

In a different year, facing a different opponent, this endorsement may well have gone the other way.

So, while we’ll wish Stavney well in a second term, we very much hope Holm stays involved in the county’s political life. We believe she’d make a very good candidate when this seat again comes up for election in 2016.

Vail Daily Editorial Board

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