Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Meet the candidates for Gunnison County Commissioner, Districts 1 and 2

It is election season and between now and the end of October, the Crested Butte News will be asking the four candidates for Gunnison County commissioner questions related to issues in the community. We have requested they keep their answers to 500 words or less.

If you have a burning question for the candidates, feel free to email it to editorial@crestedbuttenews.com. Please, no questions on their views about their missing emails from personal servers or their stand on Miss Universe gaining weight. We’ll take care of that for you…

Remember, all qualified voters in Gunnison County get to cast a ballot for one candidate in each district.

And everyone is invited to the Crested Butte News Candidates Forum on Sunday, October 23 at 6 p.m. at the CB Center for the Arts.

candidate_houck

Jonathan Houck

District 2

Let’s start with the proverbial softball question. Why are you running for Gunnison County commissioner?

I was moved to service out of a love for this place. I have lived my entire adult life in Gunnison County. I am seeking re-election to the District 2 seat because I feel I have demonstrated the commitment, experience and proven leadership to continue the work and move ongoing projects to completion. With a new commissioner coming on in District 1, and a new commissioner coming on in two years in District 3, providing continuity on the current board is important also.

As I promised when I ran four years ago, I have treated the position of commissioner as a full-time job and work hard every day for the citizens of the county. I have invested time and energy not only into the responsibilities of keeping core county services functional but have delved into issues and opportunities that are important to our community. I have taken a lead on issues like Mt. Emmons, GPLI, Thompson Divide, Gunnison Sage-grouse, the One Valley Prosperity Project, coal mine methane capture and valley-wide planning to strengthen the work the county can do alongside the towns and anchor institutions.

What past experience do you bring that will be beneficial representing the people as county commissioner?

My experience serving the citizens as county commissioner over the last four years was built upon my two terms on the Gunnison City Council, including a term as mayor. Additionally, I am the longest-serving member of the RTA board, I chair the Gunnison Basin Strategic Sage-grouse Committee, and have experience serving on the city Planning Commission as well as nonprofit boards.

I also think my experience as an educator with the school district for 10 years and then GCSAPP is significant in connecting with a large spectrum of our community. Along with my wife, Roanne, we own two businesses (Acli-Mate and the Main Street Clinic), which has given me a good understanding of the pressures and challenges of owning and running a small local business. I am a Western grad and have worked locally in retail sales, food service, residential and commercial construction and ranch work. I coach Little League and am a Cub Scout leader. These things are all pathways to being connected to the community and really having the opportunity to hear what folks want and need.

Finally, I am a resident of the whole valley. My wife, Roanne, is a Crested Butte native and we see ourselves and are raising our children, Iris and Porter, as citizens of the Gunnison Country, knowing and living the awesome diversity that this place has to offer. One of my strongest qualifiers as a commissioner is my connectivity to community. This Experience Matters.

Classic rock, jazz, blues, country, classical, rap or New Age?

I’m a fan of Alt-Country, or as I like to call it Y’alternative….artists like Uncle Tueplo, Son Volt, Whiskeytown, Jason Isbell, Wilco, The Jayhawks, etc. Stuff you would hear on the “Dirt Farmer’s Revenge” or “Song in the Walls” shows on KBUT.

Activity you want to still get in or focus on before the snow flies:

Sure would like to get in another backpacking trip with Roanne and the kids, a bike-packing trip or two, and top off the firewood pile.

candidate_foreman

Paul Wayne Foreman

District 2

Let’s start with the proverbial softball question. Why are you running for Gunnison County commissioner?

When I found the Gunnison Country in 1980, no doubt existed that I wanted to live here. None. The natural beauty, the work ethics of the ranching community, the liveliness and freshness of Western State students, and the eclectic lifestyles of those living in an out of the way, “undiscovered” ski area seduced me irresistibly. After moving here in 1981, I knew I wanted to spend my life and, yep, die in the Gunnison Country. My election to the RE1J school board and the Met Rec board in 1994 began 22 years of public service and devotion to this land, the free-flowing streams, the lapis skies, the flora and fauna and people living on it. In 1996, I became a hard news reporter for the Gunnison Country Times, covering the county’s comings and goings, and arriving at a clear understanding of how county government works. Covering county action led to my dream of being a county commissioner. Yeah, I have dreamed and do dream of being a county commissioner. Weird, but then, hey—it’s me! Today, I ask for your vote. I’m confident my passion will prompt me to be your exemplary county commissioner who listens to his constituency, acting accordingly.

What past experience do you bring that will be beneficial representing the people as county commissioner?

My years as a county reporter, my seven years as an effective director and president of the RE1J school board, and my 16 years as a member and president of the Met Rec board establish my political bedrock. I’ve raised a family here, and at times worked long hours in multiple jobs. I am first-hand familiar with how difficult living in the Gunnison Country can be, especially for young adults and families. I understand. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009 I hovered a heartbeat away from moving to Texas to start an organic farm with a longtime friend. Ultimately, I couldn’t move. It would have left behind much too much of my heart.

Classic rock, jazz, blues, country, classical, rap or New Age?

I’ve loved music since I was a very young child, good music of any genre. However, I love most the music I play, the music that inspired a generation to question authority and think for themselves: rock music, the gift of my generation to the world. From the beginnings, Buddy Holly, the Beatles and Stones, the Beach Boys, Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield, and the Grateful Dead, rock evolved into a high art form, the rock music of the ‘80s and ‘90s and beyond: Bowie, Prince, Sting, Clapton, Knopfler, Winwood, U2, Tom Petty, and Springsteen.

Activity you want to still get in or focus on before the snow flies:

Right now it’s “nuts and bolts” time around the Foreman household: putting the garden to bed, cleaning the windows to transparency, stacking firewood, and reading all the forecasts, but only believing the ones that are calling for a nice, snowy winter. Hey, in my world dreaming is the first step towards being a commissioner or having a nice, snowy winter. Let’s dream together and make my first winter as a commissioner a snowy one.

 

candidate_tutor

Brad Tutor

District 1

Let’s start with the proverbial softball question. Why are you running for Gunnison County commissioner?

I am running for office because I can bring a true balance to the Board of County Commissioners. The experiences in my life have brought me to the point that I can make a real impact for all of the county. Throughout my campaign I’ve stuck to one motto, bringing our county together for everyone. Honesty and integrity are two things that I was raised with and value deeply. I do believe in fiscal responsibility and spending public funds wisely, transparently and with the support of the public. I have been given the opportunity to work with many groups and find that common ground is what we really should be working toward. Also, I’m not now nor have I ever had a desire to be a politician. I just want to do what’s best for all citizens of Gunnison County.

What past experience do you bring that will be beneficial representing the people as county commissioner?

I’ve worn quite a few hats throughout the years and been successful in many ways. I’m a GHS graduate (1978) and WSC grad (BA 1985, MA 1987). I taught in public education for 15 years, have been on countless committees, and coached high school sports. I served 10 years on both a volunteer and professional Ski Patrol and was a patrol and regional director for the National Ski Patrol. I have been EMT certified and served several years on a volunteer EMS/firefighting department and understand the need to continually support all our local EMS, firefighting, law enforcement and search and rescue services. I’ve worked several years in the construction industry in Gunnison County gaining an insight to the challenges of building in our county.

Currently, my wife and I own a very successful small business in downtown Gunnison. In addition, I married into a ranching family. I’ve been involved in one capacity or another on the ranch for over 36 years, several of them on a full-time basis. I have a vast knowledge of this industry, including the all-important aspects of water and public land usage. I still represent the ranch at Forest Service meetings dealing with grazing permits, land usage and recreational access. I understand the struggles of landowners trying to maintain a profitable and viable business with the steady increase of recreational use on a firsthand basis. It is with this experience that I can make a great impact for our county.

My experiences speak to balance and leadership skills. I have held many leadership positions on both volunteer and professional organizations, starting as an Eagle Scout at 14 years of age. I learned early in life the value of a strong work ethic and will bring that with me as a commissioner.

We have many pressing needs in our county, and I am excited to go to work with the citizens of Gunnison County and find solutions together.

Classic rock, jazz, blues, country, classical, rap or New Age?

I’m partial to 1980s-90s country, with a little classic rock from my youth.

Activity you want to still get in or focus on before the snow flies:

I’d like to take a little time to catch my breath and just watch the leaves fall. It’s been an awesome fall season!

candidate_messner

John Messner

District 1

Let’s start with the proverbial softball question. Why are you running for Gunnison County commissioner?

This county is my home, our success is my passion and in the simplest terms I want us all to thrive. Notice I used the term thrive and not survive. Our county can be a tough place to be successful. We all work hard, harder than most, to make a life here. But this is a special place, full of vibrancy and potential. While we all may come from different backgrounds, have had different experiences and may even have different opinions on how to move forward, I believe each of us has a desire and willingness to work together to make the county we live in successful, for us to thrive.

What past experience do you bring that will be beneficial representing the people as county commissioner?

It is essential that a county commissioner understands the community they are representing and puts in the time and commitment to serving. I have been involved in the One Valley Prosperity Project and am one of the few individuals who attend meetings in all four subgroups as well as the Community Builders Task Force. I also am present at meetings for the RTA, TA, BOCC, Sage-grouse Strategic Committee, Gunnison Public Lands Initiative, Met Rec, UGRWCD, BOZAR, CB Town Council, Crested Butte Arts, Gunnison Regional Housing Authority and the Gunnison City Council, to name a few. I am on the Gunnison County Planning Commission, which has given me a comprehensive understanding of land use issues and the LUR (Land Use Resolution), an integral part of the role of county commissioner. I understand that sustainable development is important to the economy of Gunnison County and believe it is critical that we ensure our LUR and codes support and encourage the type of development that helps us overcome our affordable/available housing challenge. I have been an entrepreneur and owner of a national manufacturing and internet/catalog retail company based in Gunnison and am on the Region 10 board of directors. A business background and an understanding of entrepreneurship, manufacturing and the technology needs of business is very important to the role of county commissioner, especially as we move toward job growth, developing connectivity and creating a diverse and resilient economy.

I am the manager of my family’s small time horse and hay agricultural operation in the Ohio Creek Valley. I understand the importance of agriculture and water rights to the history, present and future of Gunnison County and will be an advocate as county commissioner.

Currently I own a company that specializes in grant writing and project management of recreation amenities and have been an outdoor educator and manager of a local nonprofit. Recreation and public lands are an essential part of our economy and quality of life. My experience supports my goal of working in cooperation with agencies, the ag community, local citizens and nonprofits in developing a recreation master plan for Gunnison County with the goal of improving the recreation infrastructure, dispersing impacts of use, and ensuring public lands stay in public hands.

Classic rock, jazz, blues, country, classical, rap or New Age?

Don’t Stop Believing!

Activity you want to still get in or focus on before the snow flies:

Wait, what? You mean I can do something other than campaign stuff before winter?

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