Summit County commissioner race: Mastin to bring fresh perspective
Ryan Summerlin October 15, 2012
Clarification: There was a misleading statement in ‘Mastin to bring fresh perspective’ that ran in Tuesday’s SDN. County commissioner candidate Kevin Mastin stated ‘we can correct the landfill’s budget by removing recycling to its own budget,’ not discontinuing recycling.
Kevin Mastin, the Republican candidate for the Summit County commissioner race is squaring off against incumbent Democrat Karn Stiegelmeier as Election Day approaches on Nov. 6.
Mastin is a longtime resident of the area, growing up in Leadville and relocating to Summit County in 1992 to start his family. He was adopted at a young age and says that his wide range of experience and connections with different parts of the community will help him win the election.
“My wife and I have been married 24 years now,” Mastin said. “We have two daughters that we’ve raised in Summit County schools. Our oldest daughter got married last year and my younger daughter is a senior, and she’s one of the awesome kids on the rugby team roughing up everybody.”
Mastin takes pride in his rural lifestyle, raising his daughters in the Lower Blue River Valley near Acorn Creek while partaking in some of Leadville’s historic burro races.
“We have some acreage horses, donkeys, chickens, cats, dogs, mice, you name it – we’ve got quite the little farm,” Mastin said. “Every year in Leadville, we have this event where you run alongside pack burros. It’s Colorado’s official heritage sport, going back to mining history. If a miner stroke it rich, he’d have to get his ass back to town and stake a claim. When you grow up there, it’s somewhat of a tradition.”
Mastin, who is running for his first political office in this commissioner race, is a small business owner and active in Summit High School, where he is employed as the cross-country and track coach.
The candidate owns and operates The Mastin Group, an advertising and commercial art company that does promotion of outdoor activities.
“I do the Keystone pocket trail guides, I do a lot of work for Vail Resorts with their Nordic and mountain bike guides and a fair amount of work for the Forest Service,” Mastin said. “I’ve really been involved with the snowmobiling access on the Vail Pass area. We also did a lot of the trailhead map signage for Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness.”
Previously Mastin has been involved with Summit Recycling Project, he served as a past president of the Summit County Elks Lodge and served on that board of directors for nine years.
“I’ve been involved with the community on so many different levels,” Mastin said. “There just are so many segments of the county that aren’t represented at the commissioner level.”
Mastin said that he will represent the county better than his opponent Stiegelmeier.
“If you look at her background, she’s very environmental. I think that I can touch so many different parts of the community that are underrepresented at the commissioner level specifically with my direct competition,” Mastin said. “The recreation community, including the motorcyclists and the snowmobilers don’t like our current board of commissioners because they’re looking for a lot of trail closures. I believe there’s room out there for everyone as long as you manage the area.”
Mastin says the role of the county commissioner now delves deeply into environmental issues.
“When you look at what a commissioner is really supposed to do, it’s to be the fiscal steward of the county’s budget, to aid in public safety teaming with the sheriff’s office and coroners; and provide necessary infrastructure.”
Mastin said his opponent does not have the expertise in the areas most needed by the commissioner position.
“When you look at the issues that come across a commissioner’s desk, (Stiegelmeier’s) area of expertise really doesn’t come up that often. Pine beetles and water are big issues but that’s not the majority of what commissioners do,” Mastin said. “When it comes to the building community, property rights, development building code, she doesn’t have any expertise in that and I do. I think they’re creating a problem with the deed restriction right now. We need to be moving the housing authority dollars to the rental market where the need is right now.”
If elected, Mastin says he will create an economic development committee for the county.
“One thing that I have been banging my fists about for years is that the county does not have an economic development council, which to me is shameful,” Mastin said. “Towns that have them do well because they generate a lot of free money. The county doesn’t have one and I have been swearing that I will create one of these immediately. They’re free and volunteer-driven and will help address budgetary problems.”
A contentious issue that Mastin differs in opinion from his opponent Stiegelmeier, is the old CMC library remodel.
Mastin says the county will end up spending more money to renovate the old building than simply building a new one.
“The county would end up with an asset, when you build a new building you own it forever,” Mastin said. “I’m all for renovating an old building but my biggest opposition to it is that the county is spending more than they budgeted. When you’re in a budget crisis, that’s not what they should do.”
Stiegelmeier on the other hand, has been a proponent of renovating the old CMC building.
Mastin takes issues with other programs implemented by his opponent and the current Board of County Commissioners.
“The landfill and recycling model has not worked for years,” he said. “They cost the county so much money to do and they’re continuously losing money. I don’t think the commissioners have been aggressive enough to improve this or address this. We need a commissioner that’s a little more aggressive.”
Mastin suggests the county could fix the landfill by discontinuing recycling.
“That’s not what people want to do, but I would put it as a ballot measure to let Summit County residents know how much it costs and see if they want to pay for it. You can’t just sit there and let it bleed – people perceive recycling as free but it’s not, it costs the county a lot of money.”
Mastin says that he will also work to achieve and maintain a balanced budget by following the county’s revenue stream.
“I think the budget is easily fixable – it needs to follow our revenue stream,” he said. “If revenue is down by 17 percent, then spend 17 percent less. It’s not that difficult.”