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Gunnison County Commissioner Dist 1

Responsibilities of the office: County Commissioners in Colorado are responsible for adopting the county budget; declaring county emergencies; entering into contracts; purchasing, maintaining and selling county property; providing human services; authority for roadways, land use and zoning in unincorporated areas; developing and implementing county policy; supervision of the County Administrator and staff; and working in cooperation with other elected county officials and municipal officials within the county.Term for each seat: Four years. Limit is two consecutive four-year terms.How Elected: County Commissioners are elected at large by all eligible voters within the county but a candidate must live within their specific district._________Comisionados del Condado Responsabilidades del Cargo: Los comisionados del condado de Colorado son responsables de adoptar el presupuesto del condado; declarar emergencias del condado; gestionar contratos; comprar, mantener, y vender propiedades del condado; proporcionar servicios humanos; autoridad para carreteras, y el uso de tierras y la zonificación de zonas no incorporadas; desarrollar e implementar políticas del condado; supervisar al Administrador y al personal del condado; y trabajar en cooperación con otros funcionarios electos del condado y funcionarios municipales dentro del condado.Term for each seat: Four years. Limit is two consecutive four-year terms.El mandato de cada cargo: Cuatro años. El limite es dos mandatos consecutivos de cuatro años._______ELECTION INFO: General Election ballots will start to be mailed on October 9th, 2020. Voter Service and Polling Centers open on Monday, October 19th, 2020. Ballots must be received via mail or at drop-off no later than Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, by 7 pm. If you have not received your ballot or need a replacement, contact your local Clerk & Recorder Elections OfficeINFROMACIÓN SOBRE LAS ELECCIONES: Las papeletas de votación para las Elecciones Generales empezarán a ser enviadas el 9 de octubre del 2020. Los Centros de Servicios Electorales se abren el lunes, 19 de octubre del 2020. Las papeletas electorales deben ser enviadas por correo o entregadas en un centro de entrega a más tardar a las 7pm el martes, 3 de noviembre del 2020. Si no ha recibido su papeleta electoral o necesita un reemplazo, comuníquese con su Funcionario Oficial de la Oficina de Elecciones local

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  • LIZ SMITH
    (D)

  • DAVID TAYLOR
    (R)

Biographical Information

What unique qualities or background would make you a valuable commissioner?

What are your top priorities for the county and how will you address them?

What factors will guide your financial and budgeting decisions?

Background I joined Western Colorado University in 2017 with a PhD in English and Cultural Studies. In addition to teaching, I was responsible for coordinating First Year Seminar and the Writing Center. Until recently, I also maintained contracts as a freelance technical writer and editor.
Antecedentes My husband and I were born in Missouri, but we fell in love with Gunnison County (and each other) in the early 2000's, spending weeks and summers out here at a time. After moving around and having our son near the end of my PhD program, we purchased our first house here in June 2015.
Contact phone (970) 975-0708
We live in divisive times. My message of unity isn't just a campaign slogan; it's a habit of mind I live by and promoted as co-chair of the Gunnison County Democratic Party for nearly four years. More than political affiliation, my commitment to finding hidden virtues in opposing viewpoints leads to more even-handed policy.

I earned a PhD because I am a lifelong learner—a must for anyone who hopes to do this job well. My professional experience as a technical writer and editor reflects much of the BoCC's work, encompassing legal reporting, grants, eminent domain projects, project proposals, and more. I will also not be outworked: I'm used to working 50-60 hour weeks, and if returned to office, I'll wrap up my commitments at WCU and be a full time commissioner.

Lastly, this job is about formulating policy, and that requires vision and a plan. I've done my research and have a platform. Voters deserve to know what policies candidates unambiguously back before they cast their ballots.
COVID-19 continues to be a pressing issue as we transition into fall and winter. Our county's response to the pandemic has been so successful that it's hard to recall we once ranked 3rd in the nation for per capita rate of infection. However, a quick glance around the state and nation should remind us we need to stay safe to stay open. The pandemic has also magnified many longstanding issues in our county, which I outline in the five pillars of my platform: Essential Services, Community Health, Economic Resiliency, Environmental Protections, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Addressing COVID-19 and my platform issues requires the ability to translate identified problems into specific policy solutions, which I have done on my campaign website. My approach also depends on developing relationships across departments. Since being sworn in, I’ve met with every department director under the purview of the BoCC to identify county needs and collaborate with others on policy solutions.
If you want to know what the county budget will be spent on, look at candidate platforms. The priorities of the Board of County Commissioners govern the county's Strategic Plan, and this ultimately sets the priorities for budget expenditures and projects.

Operationalizing priorities into a functional budget is a little more complicated. When the county is poised to complete a project in the Strategic Plan due to being awarded grant funding, which happens frequently due to our successful record of completion, I usually support it. I also back data-driven management and reporting that increases the efficiency of government without raising taxes. Our county is award-winning in this area: in 2018, Gunnison County received the ICMA Certificate of Excellence in Performance Management issued to only 29 out of nearly 40,000 local governments.

In short, I advocate for addressing community needs outlined in the Strategic Plan to maximize the impact of our citizen's taxpayer dollars.

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