Bruce Butler boasts mayoral experience in campaign for Summit County commissioner

Former Silverthorne Mayor Bruce Butler is running for Summit County commissioner in District 3, which covers Silverthorne and northern Summit County.
Photo by Libby Stanford /

FRISCO — If elected as Summit County commissioner, Bruce Butler plans to use his past experience as Silverthorne mayor and town councilman to his advantage. 

Butler — who changed his party affiliation from Republican in 2019 — is running as an independent for the District 3 county commissioner seat. He’s up against Democrat Josh Blanchard and Erin Young, who is running unaffiliated.

Butler served as the mayor of Silverthorne from 2014-18. Before his term, he was a member of the Silverthorne Town Council, a position he held for six years. 

“What I want to try and do is bring the talents that I have and the experience that I have and the leadership background that I have and try and put it to the best beneficial use for the citizens of Summit County,” Butler said.

If elected, Butler’s primary focus is guiding the county through the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’ve got to keep businesses safely open, and we’ve got to keep people working,” he said. “Another shutdown would be absolutely devastating to our community, not only economically but in terms of people’s financial health, mental and behavioral health.”

If elected, it wouldn’t be Butler’s first time going into a new role during an economic recession. In 2008, when he was first elected to the Town Council, he had to help guide the community through the housing crisis. 

“Our very first challenge was setting the stage to come back stronger than we were before,” he said. “That’s something that became a yearslong process, and you’re seeing the result of that today.”

Summit County commissioner candidates

Democrats Thomas Davidson, District 2, and Karn Stiegelmeier, District 3, are term limited.

District 1: Breckenridge

District 2: Dillon and Frisco

District 3: Silverthorne

View Summit County district maps here.

Similar to his opponent Erin Young, Butler is an advocate for an economic advisory committee. In order to help businesses survive the pandemic, Butler believes there needs to be more tax relief. 

“I personally much favor incentives as opposed to fines and penalties,” he said. “I always try and look for good partnerships and win-win scenarios.”

Butler said he would take a flexible approach to mitigating the spread of the virus. He said he is in favor of keeping businesses open as much as possible by working with them directly on their plans for preventing the spread of the virus. 

“I realize in any crisis, people want certainty, and that’s almost impossible,” he said. “At the same time, if there’s something we can do to try and work cooperatively so people can make good decisions going into the wintertime, I think that’s absolutely essential.”

Once the immediacy of the pandemic is over, Butler wants to solve traffic and congestion problems, create more housing for both short-term and long-term residents and help improve behavioral health issues in the county. 

Butler said he’s supportive of the sheriff’s Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team, which is dedicated to responding to mental health related cases in order to stabilize the person involved and deescalate the situation.

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“One other major issue that will be a lingering effect of the whole coronavirus fiasco is the mental and behavioral and substance abuse health issues,” he said. “Those are things we’re going to have to focus on for a long time.”

Butler said his experience in public office will help him bring expertise into the position. 

“Now is not the time to have folks that are learning on the job,” he said. “You really need somebody who is ready to hit the ground running; has a good, solid background; wants to work collaboratively with the towns and other citizens; and realizes that this is a really critical time for our future, but there’s a lot of opportunity.”

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