Editors note: This profile kicks off two weeks of race-specific election stories. The Summit Daily News will publish profiles of each candidate in the races for county commissioner, district attorney, state House District 61 and state Senate District 8, followed by a Q&A with each candidate the following day. BRECKENRIDGE - In December, when state transportation officials decided to pass the local Highway 9 widening project over for funding in favor of a project in larger Douglas County - which offered to match the funding - it was Thomas Davidson who stood up for Summit. "A county the size of Summit is never going to be able to compete with (that)," Davidson told Colorado Department of Transportation officials at the time. "I can't come up with a $9 million match for you. I'm just wondering what rules we're playing by now." Davidson isn't the official chair of the Summit Board of County Commissioners, but he is the longest-tenured commissioner and, often, the de facto leader when it comes to speaking up for Summit. "That's a nice way of saying I have a temper," Davidson said with a smile. "Yes, I do at times get passionate about what I think is right or wrong. There are times, particularly when you're dealing with the state or federal government, that you've got to let them know how you really feel." For the last two years, Davidson has helped pilot the county through an unprecedented decline in revenue as property tax collections - the county's bread and butter - plummeted in the wake of the recession. Now, without an opponent in the upcoming election for his seat on the board and another dip in property tax revenue coming in 2014, he gets to do it again. "Certainly in the last five-and-a-half-years we've had tough decisions," Davidson said. "But we've also, I think, gone to the next level in terms of financial planning and building reserves." Davidson, a Democrat, was appointed by the party to the Summit Board of County Commissioners in December 2006 when Commissioner Bill Wallace stepped down. He held on to the seat in a hotly contested race in 2008. In his next four years, Davidson says he remains focused on affordable housing and child care options, topics that were high on his list of talking points during his first campaign. "We have to make sure that Summit County hangs on to its educated middle class," Davidson said. "When I think about long-term goals I want to make sure that Summit County continues to be a place where you can live, work and raise a family, have your kids get a good education and be able to afford to do that." Davidson promotes inter-jurisdictional work between the county and the towns to promote programs that support the middle class, including work force-housing projects such as Valley Brook in Breckenridge and the future Smith Ranch development proposed for Silverthorne. He said he wants to continue to see the government work for the community and earn the trust of the people in an atmosphere of low respect for government. "You can still believe in and trust your local government," Davidson said. "Not because I ask you to, but because we've got a history of doing good projects and working well together."
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