Our View: Jeanne McQueeney the best choice for Eagle County Commissioner (editorial)
There’s only one contested race at the county level this year, for the District 3 seat on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.
This year, we’re recommending incumbent commissioner Jeanne McQueeney, with some reservations.
Let’s address the reservations first. While all three commissioners dispute this, there’s a sameness of thought on this board that you’d expect from a group of three Democrats. That homogeneity on the board means fewer options and potentially creative solutions to problems facing the county.
Eagle County has also seen a good bit of turnover among its department heads while this group has been in office. That turnover — all from experienced professionals who know the county at its core — isn’t healthy for an organization.
With that said, McQueeney is clearly the more qualified candidate in this race. She’s now served a full term as a commissioner and is also the former president of the Eagle County School Board. That means she’s had to solve problems, not just think about solutions.
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McQueeney, along with colleagues Kathy Chandler Henry and Jill Ryan, have learned lessons about what does and doesn’t work with the local electorate.
This board has sponsored a failed tax increase for housing and a successful one to tax retail marijuana to help pay for better mental health services.
Those lessons will serve the board well in the coming years. We’ll see what voters have to say about this year’s request to extend the county’s open space tax.
Success there may provide lessons if the commissioners decide to ask voters for more funding for the county’s ECO Transit system.
The commissioners are still debating what, if any, measure to put before the voters about early childhood education and child care, but the group is taking steps to shore up those programs.
This group has also made progress on the housing front. The county used water rights it holds as partial collateral to finance the nearly complete 6 West apartments in Edwards. County leaders also helped broker a recently completed deal with the town of Vail for the purchase of deed restrictions at the project. That means 100 percent of the units at 6 West are now reserved for people who work in the Vail Valley.
There’s more work to be done on housing, transportation, trails, mental health and other issues.
The current board of commissioners has acted in good faith, and with a good bit of effectiveness, on these issues.
Maintaining that progress is a good reason to cast your vote for Jeanne McQueeney.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart and Business Editor Scott Miller.