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La Plata County Commissioner District 2

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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    Marsha Porter Norton

  • Candidate picture

    Jack Turner

Biographical Information

What is your position on the revised Land Use Code proposed by the current La Plata County Commissioners? Please explain.

What action will you take to balance the needs of the county both rural and urban?

What factors will guide your financial and budgeting decisions?

Background I am a 4th generation southwest Coloradoan and grew up on a ranch north of Cortez. In 1994, I moved to Durango with my husband John. I led a nonprofit organization called Operation Healthy Communities and started a consulting business in 2000. I have served on 10 nonprofits/coalitions.
Dirección postal
Contact phone 970-403-5680
Twitter @MPNfortheWIN
I support the Land Use Code being proposed in September of 2020. I did over 50 listening sessions after announcing last year and in most of the sessions, the need to modernize and update the Code was cited as a top concern. The new Code has District Area Plans to accompany it which give the unique areas of the county a chance to weigh in on goals, challenges and a vision for land use. The new Code allows for a streamlined process(es) so that people proposing projects do not have to spend an inordinate amount of money to get to a "no." Also, there are protections for the things that are important to most residents such as natural values, reducing sprawl, and the integrity and safety of neighborhoods. Economic Development Areas and Ag Plus are provisions of the Code I also support. The Code is not perfect. It will take close monitoring to ensure it is working as intended. Continued citizen engagement will be very important. Date: 9/8/20 (the Code is in draft).
I grew up on a ranch and now live in a City. I do understand both urban & rural views, and I know we have to bridge divides. It is important for Commissioners to go to all areas of the county regularly. I will step up this activity and will visit meetings/events all over, host office hours outside of my district, and will work with the BOCC to institute regular meetings that go beyond the "On the Road" format. As one example, I would like to institute "roundtable" discussions. With Zoom available, remote participation should be a feature of all public meetings. Expanding broadband is a vital goal for all. When the county hits 70,000, 2 Commissioners can be added and I support that. Being a good listener is very important. That is why I joined the La Plata Civil Dialogue. And, my background in mediation and helping groups find common solutions to problems is helpful for this job. I have done a lot of professional work in water issues which is imperative for being a Commissioner.
The first factor that will guide my decision making is strong fiscal oversight and caution in spending tax payer's resources. I will always work in a transparent fashion as managing the budget is Job #1. Another key factor will be to rely on the expertise of the staff, and the knowledge of and recommendations from the Long Term Finance Committee. I believe we must have vital County services available to help residents with important things (roads, senior services, emergency and Sheriff services, etc.). With the population set to grow to 70,000 by 2030 , it will be challenging to meet needs. There is a deficit in the Road and Bridge Fund that will eventually need to be addressed but first, discussions need to occur with residents about their expectations for road/bridge projects and maintenance, and funding options. Diversifying our economy is vitally important too for a healthy the tax base. Finally, I will look to partnerships of all kinds to get things done for residents.
Background I'm a local independent grounded personally and professionally by six generations of our family's contributions to the community. I aspire to change the role of commissioner from being won through party politics to a service-oriented role open to all citizen voices. See
Antecedentes Soy un candidato local. Mi familia está aquí en Durango durante seis generaciones. Aspiro a cambiar el rol de la figura del comisario, pasando de ser electo a través de partidos políticos a ser un rol orientado a atender a todas las voces ciudadanas. Ver
Dirección postal P.O. Box 1151 Durango, CO 81302
Contact phone 970-903-0813
Teléfono 970-903-0813
Correo electrónico
The 377-page Code was released during a pandemic. Public review / input was limited, but it was approved / enacted in less time than most land use applications. The priority was to approve the Code before the terms of two commissioners expired rather than adjusting the timeline for COVID-19 restrictions or future impact.

I hope promised efficiencies work out and historical problems are rectified, but no project has been through the new process. Its efficiency and impact are unknown.

Technical issues aside, my concern is that the Code was written to isolate commissioners from the public and vice versa. Virtually all power is vested in planning staff and the county attorney until a project comes to the commissioners for final approval.

The Code must be dynamic and subject to constant review by the public, elected officials, and staff. I believe a Commissioner must be able to listen, collaborate, and assist citizens rather than just being judge and jury at the end of a process.
My first action as Commissioner will be to communicate that everyone will get a fair listen from county government. Likewise, I ask all citizens to learn about your neighbors and take responsibility for civil discourse. WE are a great community and WE are the solution to whatever issues arise.

To balance urban and rural needs, people must REALLY listen to each other without partisan filters. It’s the key to cooperate, compromise, and act for the greatest good while respecting individual rights.

Times are polarized, but we can find workable solutions to great challenges. Objective, reasonable, common-sense fairness and consideration of others is integral to my style of leadership to produce needed solutions for both rural and urban residents.

Cultivating and maintaining friendly relationships with folks from all walks of life and political viewpoints has been a principle for six generations of Turners in La Plata County. I will bring homegrown perspective to county governance.
First, the budget MUST BE balanced as required by Colorado law.

CAUTION must be the overriding principal in managing the county budget given current economic, social, and environmental conditions. No one can predict the full extent of pandemic, political, and market factors that will affect our future.

The budget must be managed within clear, credible, and predictable limitations. The process must be inclusive of public participation and debate. Decisions must be open, transparent, and accessible to all citizens.

Long-term sustainability must be equally considered with short-term needs. Measurable performance and evaluation are key to accountability

Prudent management of County revenues / expenditures are a priority, but Commissioners must be mindful how their decisions impact individuals, private business, schools, and other public entities. The County must maximize the opportunity for individuals and private enterprise to thrive because, in the end, that’s the source of wealth.