Our View: Chandler-Henry, Mayne for commissioner | VailDaily.com

Our View: Chandler-Henry, Mayne for commissioner

the Vail Daily Editorial Board

Voters this year will elect two people to the three-member Eagle County Board of Commissioners. Our thinking has evolved during the past several weeks, but we believe there are a couple of clear choices.

In District 2, which roughly covers the middle of the valley, we’re endorsing Kathy Chandler-Henry, a Democrat, over Republican challenger Courtney Holm.

Chandler-Henry, who’s long been active in the county’s civic life, was appointed in 2013 to replace fellow Democrat Jon Stavney, who resigned last year to take the town manager’s job in Eagle. In her year-plus on the job, Chandler-Henry has been equal to the position, and we believe she’ll grow even more if voters retain her this fall.

We’re impressed by Chandler-Henry’s grasp of the issues and thoughtful opinions on everything from water to the environment to development. Chandler-Henry’s experience, and her past analytical work with the Economic Council of Eagle County, give her a good grounding in issues sure to face the board in the next few years.

Two years ago, we remarked that we’d be willing to endorse Holm if she wasn’t facing an incumbent doing a fine job. She faces the same problem this year.

We like Holm. Maybe a term or two on the county’s planning commission would give her the public-policy seasoning she needs to be an effective elected representative.

That brings us to District 3. This is an open seat, since current commissioner, Sara Fisher can’t run again due to term-limit laws.

There, Republican Dick Mayne is running against Democrat Jeanne McQueeney. Both candidates bring quite a bit of public experience to this race, Mayne as a longtime member of the Gypsum Town Council, and McQueeney as the current president of the Eagle County School Board.

We’re recommending Mayne for this seat. Here’s why:

During the past 20-ish years, Gypsum has gone from a small town with an even smaller budget to something of a dynamo. Gypsum and its residents have greatly benefited from annexation deals that brought both Costco and the commercial operations of the Eagle County Regional Airport into town. The town has grown in both population and revenue, and the Town Council has been a good steward of that money. Witness the fact that when the last payment was made on the town’s recreation center, the council agreed to do away with the sales tax that funded it. That rarely, if ever, happens, since governments can almost always find excuses to keep revenue, rather than put it back in taxpayers’ pockets.

Mayne has been an important part of that group. And, as a life-long resident who has worked on ski hills and family ranches, he also brings a depth of knowledge that’s hard to match.

Mayne would also bring some much-needed balance to the board, which has been dominated by Democrats for a number of years (yes, Fisher’s an independent now, but she ran, twice, as a Democrat).

The school board is another matter. The board has done a decent job lately, especially with the hiring of Superintendent Jason Glass. There’s continuing good news on the student achievement front, too. But the board bungled a 2011 tax increase proposal, and probably stuck too long with its top administrator during that period.

In the end, we believe Mayne’s experience, and the success of the town he helps lead, add up to a winning combination.

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