Summit County Democrats select Elisabeth Lawrence as next commissioner |

Summit County Democrats select Elisabeth Lawrence as next commissioner

Summit County Democratic candidates speak in front of voters to fill Dan Gibb's position Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco.
Hugh Carey /

Final Update: After six rounds of voting, Elisabeth Lawrence has been chosen to be the next Summit County Commissioner.

Below are live updates from the meeting as it happened.


The Summit County Democratic Party is in the process of selecting a new county commissioner tonight. The party’s vacancy committee will vote to fill the vacant commissioner’s seat left by former commissioner Dan Gibbs, who resigned last week after being appointed to head the state’s department of natural resources. The committee – made up of 43 members, of whom 36 are present to vote — will vote until one of eight candidates — Emily Tracy, Kevin Burns, Jennifer McAtamney, Erin Gigliello, Mark Burke, Gary Martinez, Leigh Girvin and Elisabeth Lawrence — achieves a simple majority of members present. The chosen candidate will be sworn in as commissioner and serve for two years in 2020, when all three commissioner seats will be up for election at the same time.

This post will be updated along with the proceedings.

Update 7:25 p.m. — The eight candidates have given their speeches and the meeting has now moved to a question and answer session, with candidates given 60 seconds to answer.

One of the first questions asked is how candidates intend to lower health care costs in the county. Kevin Burns said he wanted strengthen and stabilize the Summit County Community Care Clinic. Gary Martinez said that the county needs to work with Gov. Polis and the state government to reform the state’s regional insurance system. Elisabeth Lawrence touted her work with the Summit Foundation and the efforts they have made to alleviate health care costs, as well drawing from the community’s talent pool to produce a solution. Leigh Girvin said she supported the Peak Health Alliance‘s effort to create collective bargaining for consumers.

Update 7:43 p.m. — The eight candidates were asked to describe what set them apart from other candidates with one word. This is how the candidates answered.

Erin Gigliello: Integrity. Leigh Girvin: Perspective. Mark Burke: Genuine. Gary Martinez: Experience. Kevin Burns: Variety. Jennifer McAtamney: Hard-working. Emily Tracy: Ethical. Elisabeth Lawrence: Tenacious.

Update 8 p.m. : The candidates asked what their stance was on wildlife conservation. Erin Gigliello said that people come to Summit County to see the wildlife and our nature, and that the county needs to work to protect it. Elisabeth Lawrence said the county needs to be conscious about wildlife when approving new development. Jennifer McAtamney said the county needs to develop more public-private partnerships dedicated to wildlife conservation. Kevin Burns and Leigh Girvin both emphasized the need to combine different aspects of county governance – such as alternate transportation options — to encourage wildlife conservation.

Update 8:15 p.m. — The candidates are now giving their final statements. Leigh Girvin invoked her passion and love for Summit County, along with her experience and hopeful vision for the county, in asking for the party’s support. Gary Martinez emphasized his 9 years working for the county and as county manager, as well as promising to prepare and pass a new funding package for county services in 2020. Erin Gigliello promoted her ability to collaborate and negotiate, and a “willingness to work” that makes her the best choice for commissioner.

The candidates have all had their say, and now the vacancy committee will move to voting. The lowest vote-getter will be dropped from each round of voting until a single candidate receives a single majority of 19 votes.

Update 8:25 p.m. — After the first round of voting, Leigh Girvin received the least number of votes, and has been eliminated from contention. On to round two.

Update 8:37 p.m. — After the second round of voting, Mark Burke has been eliminated. Six candidates remain, no majority reached yet.

Update 8:46 p.m. — After the third round of voting, two candidates — Kevin Burns and Jennifer McAtamney — have been eliminated, tying for least votes. Four candidates — Emily Tracy, Erin Gigliello, Elizabeth Lawrence and Gary Martinez — remain.

Update 8:54 p.m. — After the fourth round of voting, Gary Martinez has been eliminated. It’s now between Tracy, Lawrence and Gigliello.

Update 9:03 p.m — After the fifth round of voting, Emily Tracy has been eliminated. Two candidates – Lawrence and Gigliello – remain. The next round will be the final vote.

Update 9:10 p.m. — Elisabeth Lawrence has been voted by the Summit County Democrats to be the next commissioner of Summit County district 1. “I am so ready to work for you,” Lawrence said in brief comments after the vote. “Thank you Summit County, thanks Dems.”

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