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Voters elect Swenson and Houck; fund 1A for land preservation

Gunnison voters also like ‘it’ legal

Voters in Gunnison County returned incumbent Paula Swenson to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday and overwhelmingly elected Jonathan Houck to serve a four-year term in District 2 as a commissioner. County voters also passed land preservation issue 1A in a landslide with 6,133 voting for the measure and 1,493 voting against.





“I have to admit that I am so tired and so relieved,” commented Houck Tuesday evening. “I think people appreciated an honest campaign and I truly believe we can move the county forward economically while retaining the things that are important to us. I am psyched on that.”
Swenson felt similarly lightened. “It was an interesting race and I am glad it is over and we can all move forward together,” she said Tuesday. “It is exciting and I am ready to get back to work as a commissioner.”
Houck pulled in the most votes of the six candidates vying for a commissioner’s seat. He tallied more than half of the votes cast for the District 2 seat, with 4,004 votes to 2,286 for Republican Warren Wilcox and 1,398 for unaffiliated candidate Polly Oberosler.
In District 1, Swenson got 44 percent of the vote with 3,384 votes to 2,837 for Republican Stu Ferguson and 1,420 for Green Party candidate Steve Schechter.
They will begin their new terms in January.
Voters in House District 61 elected Democrat Millie Hamner to represent them at the State House. She tallied 47 percent of the vote in the district that takes in at least parts of five counties. In Gunnison County, unaffiliated candidate Kathleen Curry received 1,596 votes for the position to Hamner’s 1,509 and Republican Debra Irvine’s 772. But overall it will be Hamner going to Denver. Curry got about 14 percent of the votes district-wide.
“We have important issues to address in order to preserve our quality of life and the reasons why we live on the Western Slope,” Hamner said Wednesday. “These top priorities include transportation, water, education, and forest health. I am prepared to continue working with all of my constituents in addressing these issues, regardless of their party affiliation or the county in which they live.”
While Gunnison County cast 51 percent of its votes to send Democrat Sal Pace to Congress, the Third Congressional District as a whole voted for incumbent Republican Scott Tipton.
Gunnison County voters went with the flow of the state and chose to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Colorado. In fact, 67 percent of the 7,790 votes cast on the issue in the county voted in the affirmative. Break out the Cheetos.
On the national scene, Gunnison County voted 57 percent for Barack Obama for president to just 39 percent for Mitt Romney.
Overall, 7,995 ballots were cast and it appears Gunnison County sided with the winning waves of most of the issues on those ballots.
“It all went pretty easy on Tuesday,” said Gunnison County election official Diane Folowell. “We were all pleased with how smooth it went. We have great election judges.”

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