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Meet the Candidates: October 26, 2018

You should have your fall ballot. It needs to be filled out and returned to the county by November 6. We are asking questions of the local candidates to give you an idea of where they stand on the issues.

 The district 3 county commissioner seat represents the northern end of the valley that includes Crested Butte. The sheriff’s office is also up for election with the retirement of Rick Besecker. All registered voters in the county get to make a selection in these races.

Each week we are sending question to the candidates. We have requested that they keep their answers in the neighborhood of 500 words.

—Mark Reaman


Bob Schutt

District 3 county commissioner candidate

Is Gunnison County being promoted too much, too little, or just right through avenues like the Tourism Association and ICElab? Should the county regulate the marketing more than it does and/or deal with the ramifications of the growth that comes with the marketing?

We need to support ICElab as much as possible. ICElab is a community organization with an interest in sustainability and economic development and diversity in Gunnison County.

The tourism association is a marketing organization helping our economy by increasing vacation tourism and “putting overnight heads in the beds.” It is difficult to know if there is too much, too little, or just right. We need to market to the level of visitors we can accommodate and have them leave with a positive experience. It is probably about right with Vail being the ski area owner. Vail will do much of their own marketing. Our target audience needs to be diversified. We should market to people interested in our western heritage, great restaurants, wedding venues, the music festival, fly fishing, hiking, hunting, photography, and culinary events. This county has much to offer. Last year, a disproportionate amount of the tourism association budget went to mountain biking and skiing. Our mountain bike trails are getting very busy, increasing the need to diversify our target audience.

When you leave the valley for vacation, do you prefer the city, the beach, the desert, jungle or mountains? 

I always take my family on physically active vacations that involve education and adventure. It is important for us to continually learn about our history and the natural world in which we live. I am not a beach or desert sitter for vacations.

Is there a historical political figure you particularly admire?

Our three greatest presidents were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition, as an important historical political figure, I add Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill.

My final choice is Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR directed the government during the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in our country’s history implementing his New Deal domestic agenda. He was elected to four terms. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Even though he was born to a wealthy family, he represented all Americans without regard to race, gender, social, or economic status.

Favorite local trails (summer and winter)?

In summer you must complete the hike to Aspen over West Maroon pass. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. I recommend in the fall when the leaves are turning.

For mountain biking, I do not do as much single track as I used to but each summer I always do the Lupine trail when the flowers are blooming.

In winter, the Nordic Center grooms Mike’s Mile. It is a regular cross country ski activity for my wife and me since we can take our dogs with us. When in the backcountry with dogs, remember your “mountain manners” and pick up after your pets.


Roland Mason

District 3 county commissioner candidate

Is Gunnison County being promoted too much, too little, or just right through avenues like the Tourism Association and ICElab? Should the county regulate the marketing more than it does and/or deal with the ramifications of the growth that comes with the marketing?

I don’t think you can properly answer this question without a little background: In 2002 the people of Gunnison County passed a ballot issue creating the Local Marketing District. This vote allowed an increase in lodging tax from 1.9 percent to 4 percent. The Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association (TA) was formed to manage the collected revenue and promote our valley as a year-round vacation destination. Their primary goal is to increase total annual tourism/guest revenues with an emphasis on overnight visitation. I believe the TA is currently fulfilling its mission and upholding the vote of the people.

It’s easy to critique the role of organizations like the TA when our tourism economy is booming. Remember, though, from 2009 to 2013 our county was struggling with decreased tourism, housing foreclosures, and lack of local jobs. It would have been a lot worse if dedicated marketing funds were not in place at the county level. We must remember that tourism is not a reliable constant, which is why I applaud organizations like the ICElab for fostering diversity in our economy.

Consistent messages from places like the TA and the ICElab result in the biggest dividends. Gunnison County is well promoted, but now that our summer economy is successful I want to see increased efforts toward promoting year-round tourism and supporting a more diverse economy. The county does not need to regulate these efforts as much as it needs to increase collaboration. It is essential that the combined efforts of organizations like the TA and the ICElab are transparent and inclusive.

Finally, I firmly believe the county and the business community need to take responsibility for the impacts of successful marketing. We must look forward as we mitigate increased demands on our public services, infrastructure, environment and housing, all while upholding our community values.

When you leave the valley for vacations, do you prefer the city, the beach, the desert, jungle or mountains?

Honestly, it depends on the season. Typically, it’s the desert in spring, the beach in the winter and the city (to stock up on stuff not available in Gunnison County) in the fall. One of the best things about living here is this: When our vacation is over, we get to come home to a place that is, itself, a vacation destination (and equally as spectacular as wherever we vacationed).

Is there an historical political figure you particularly admire?

Abraham Lincoln came from modest roots (similar to mine) and led our country with honor and dignity during one of its most defining periods in its young history. My short stint in public service has given me new admiration for President Lincoln. On a much smaller scale, I understand the integrity it takes to stand up for what you believe in and the conviction it takes to keep moving forward despite the obstacles you’re bound to encounter along the way.

Favorite local trails (summer and winter)?

Lupine Trail in the summer. Monument to Crystal trees to Silvanite trees (left or right) for early season. Teocalli Bowl (one or two) then hike to Phoenix/Spellbound entrance bypassing the line on the NFL. From there, 3rd Bowl if it’s open.


Mark Mykol

County sheriff

What, if any, changes to the Sheriff’s Office will take place within the first six months if you are elected? 

First of all, there will be a change in the command staff. That means there will be an opportunity for a new undersheriff, which at that point will filter down, and could possibly create another opening in the patrol unit. We have already made many changes over the last year that have benefited us, not only budget-wise, but with relationships. There have been opportunities where not only I but other supervisors attend meetings and planning groups that benefit our community. There is new policy regarding emergency alcohol commits and mental holds that many agencies were involved in making it happen, creating a positive method to provide the necessary attention that individuals require. We have an opportunity to seriously explore courthouse security and get our county up to speed with other bigger counties. I am already looking at what we will need for our 2020 budget to meet the needs of our growing community.

We are planning a different schedule to assist us in providing the best coverage possible. We have implemented three more computers in the Gunnison office and rearranged our area to be more productive. We already have a Somerset substation that now has internet and a computer that is tied in to our county system. We have implemented many cost savings into our new vehicles, regarding equipment and decals. We have started to use a modified field training process which is streamlined and experience is gained quicker. Our uniform policy has been modified, which created a cost savings. We are sending more officers to specialized training than we ever had. We have built a team (patrol and detention) that is highly motivated and we are implementing a strategic plan within our ranks that will redesign the structure of our patrol unit- creating opportunities. Our hiring practice has been changed, where we use a pre-screening process to help eliminate turnover. Our plan is one that is flexible and is looked at daily, trying to find ways to improve the operations of our team. Building relationships and communication is the key to our success. We will continue to strive for both. Change is here already!

Whichever of you is elected, could you work with your opponent on a professional level without lingering baggage from this election? 

Absolutely, that is one thing that is highly advocated by me. Be professional and don’t let personal feelings get in the way of the success of the Sheriff’s Office and our community. I mentioned in the Times debate that “I do not do drama.” Animosity is counterproductive.

Last good movie you saw? 

Shanghai Noon.

Current or historical law enforcement figure you admire?

David Kinterknecht, sergeant with the Montrose Police Department. He made the ultimate sacrifice on July 25, 2009.

As a cop we have to ask: What’s your favorite donut?

Bear claw from Donut Mill.


John Gallowich

County sheriff

What, if any, changes in the Sheriff’s Office will take place within the first six months if you are elected?

In the first six months as your sheriff, I will address numerous issues. My first assignment will be to evaluate each of our deputies and assign them a position that will best serve our citizens and the Sheriff’s Office. I will review personnel files and determine what training is needed to accomplish our mission to protect and serve. While doing this task, I will create a stable and professional work environment. I will make myself available to all deputies and office personnel to answer questions and let them know that they are appreciated for doing a great job. I will lead by example, demonstrating my work ethic and showing our deputies what is expected of them. This will help address the high turnover rate.

As sheriff, I will immediately begin to work on the North Valley law enforcement issue. I will take the necessary action to obtain and preserve a high level of professional law enforcement in the North Valley as well as the entire county.

During my first six months, I will be reaching out to the other law enforcement agencies, first responders, other county departments and agencies and private organizations to demonstrate my willingness to work together for the betterment of our community.

Whichever of you is elected, could you work with your opponent on a professional level without lingering baggage from this election?

I have and could work with my opponent. We are both running for sheriff, exercising our constitutional right to run for public office. I have no animosity. I am confident that I am the best choice for sheriff.

Last good movie you saw?


Current or historical law enforcement figure you admire?

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of the finest law enforcement officers. The man who influenced my career more than any other was Lieutenant J.D. Wallace of the Wheat Ridge Police Department. I admired him for his work ethic, knowledge, honesty, integrity, his calmness while under pressure and his kindness. J.D. led by example.

As a cop, we have to ask: What’s your favorite donut?

Glazed, but I wouldn’t turn down a chocolate-covered, custard-filled long john.

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