Democratic field for BOCC seat widens |

Democratic field for BOCC seat widens

summit daily news
Summit county, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE ” Longtime Summit County resident Kerry Gibson this week formally opened her campaign for county commissioner by filing election papers with the Summit County clerk.

“I believe Summit County deserves a commissioner with knowledge about the area and a keen awareness of how to solve problems in a non-partisan manner,” said Gibson, a Realtor and volunteer on local civic boards.

Gibson will face at least one other candidate in an Aug. 12 Democratic primary. Karn Stiegelmeier announced her candidacy several weeks ago, and one other person is also considering a bid, said Democratic party chair Sandy Briggs.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican nominee Peggy Long in the November election to replace her husband, Commissioner Tom Long, who has reached his term limit.

Gibson said her early days in Summit County included a stint living in Montezuma and working at Arapahoe Basin as a ski patroller. She moved to Boulder during the 1980s and back to Summit County in the ’90s.

“All my life I’ve been looking for the next big adventure,” Gibson said, describing part of her motivation for seeking political office. “This is such an amazing community, I was thinking it would be a great way to have a positive impact. I’d like to be an agent for continuing the quality of life we have up here.

“I’m a collaborative consensus builder. Yes, I’m a Democrat, but I haven’t always toed that party line,” Gibson said, positioning herself as a moderate candidate with appeal to independent voters. She said environmental protection is important, but must be balanced with making sure that business and development aren’t stifled.

Gibson said her election petition shows broad-based support from every part of the county.

Gibson served on the county’s first affordable housing task force in the mid-1990s. Housing is still one of the most critical issues facing the county, and Gibson said it would be a priority for her if she’s elected.

As a Realtor, she said she’s seen how challenging it is to get local workers like Forest Service rangers and teachers into homes they can afford. The combined housing authority is on the right track, but can’t do the job alone. Gibson said she would look for more affordable housing support from large employers in the area, as well as from developers.

Gibson said her experience on the Summit Foundation board helps her identify community needs, which translates to understanding how the county commissioners can tackle important issues.

Having been involved in accessibilty issues, Gibson said that would be a hot-button topic for her. Serving on the BOCC would give her the chance to improve accessibility in the county, she said.

She also said she’s a strong supporter of small businesses and would look for ways to promote a friendly climate, making it easier for people to open new businesses, perhaps by offering incentives to entrepeneurs.

“We have tremendous opportunities in Summit County, but we must clearly and consistently address the difficult issues that impact our citizens. We have to address affordable housing and childcare, growth and development and identify ways to expand our economy,” Gibson said. “Summit County will continue to grow – how that growth happens is, I believe, one of the key concerns of a county commissioner.”

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