Vail Valley Voices: County commissioner candidate Jill Ryan introduces herself |

Vail Valley Voices: County commissioner candidate Jill Ryan introduces herself

Jill Ryan
Vail, CO, Colorado

The local political season will be getting under way in just a few weeks, and as a candidate for Eagle County commissioner, I would like to introduce myself.

I am a resident of Edwards,where I own and operate a small business – a public health consulting firm. I work with many local nonprofits to help them write grants, conduct needs assessments and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs.

I was employed by Eagle County for five years until 2009, directing the public health agency. Currently, I am a member of the county’s Planning Commission.

Before coming to the county, I worked in leadership positions at the state Health Department. Sometimes, being a government employee is painted in a negative light, but I think it is beneficial.

I want the most effective use of my tax dollars as much as the next guy. I have learned the best way to be accountable to good outcomes is for government programs to regularly evaluate themselves. This includes the need for services, the effectiveness of services, the ease of navigating systems and how well programs are serving customers.

I have a background in governmental service evaluation, and as such, this is a priority for me.

Before November’s election, I am looking forward to a positive exchange of ideas and public discourse with my fellow candidates, Jeff Layman and Dale Nelson.

Politics at the local level doesn’t need to be so partisan. In general, we all want the same things: a government that is visionary in planning for the future, provides residents with a level of service they expect when they expect it and uses tax dollars appropriately and doesn’t waste them.

As a part of the dialogue, I would like to discuss the role of local government, particularly as it relates to economic development, environmental preservation and safety-net services. I think the county must provide leadership in each of these areas, regardless of whether it is providing the service.

Additionally, the continued reduction in property tax revenue has resulted in a cut of 75 county positions. Like the rest of us, county employees are doing more with less, and still the county must be responsive, customer service-oriented and “open for business.”

Residents should expect to hear a plan that keeps the snow plows running and law enforcement responding, while maintaining other basic services such as wildfire mitigation and vaccinations for uninsured children, should revenues continue to decline.

I plan to run a race that lends itself to this type of community dialogue. By informing our constituency, residents can vote for the person they think best represents them and not have to sort through the confusion and rhetoric that often comes with campaign season.

I hope that through the public exchange of ideas, our community is stronger for having had the conversation. This is the type of race I would like to run.

For more information about my campaign, please visit

Jill Ryan, of Edwards, is the Democratic Party candidate running for Eagle County commissioner in District 1, eastern Eagle County.

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