Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs announces run for third, and final, term | SummitDaily.com

Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs announces run for third, and final, term

Surrounded by more than 50 friends and supporters, Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs stood at the steps of the county courthouse in Breckenridge Wednesday and announced he is running for a third and final term as commissioner in the fall. Gibbs has been county commissioner since 2010, having served as a Colorado House Representative and State Senator before that.

Gibbs said he felt "blessed" to serve Summit County. "I know firsthand how special our community is, and I've worked to maintain the high quality of life here in Summit County," he said.

Gibbs also acknowledged that the county has "unique challenges," which he intends to tackle.

"How many of us know people who are struggling to find housing?" Gibbs said to nods and sounds of approval. "I'm working on your behalf from Keystone to Copper Mountain on workforce housing needs," noting his work with the town of Breckenridge on the Huron Landing housing project.

“I know firsthand how special our community is, and I’ve worked to maintain the high quality of life here in Summit County.”Dan GibbsSummit County Commissioner

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Gibbs also touched on his efforts to rein in health care costs, which become a heavier burden every year for Summit residents.

"We are in a health care crisis, when we look at affordability and accessibility of health care," he said. "I'm going to continue to work at the local, state and federal level to help solve some of these challenges."

Gibbs ended his announcement with a promise to keep working on environmental issues. "There is nothing more we can do to support our economy than preserving and protecting the environment we have here. That's our economic driver, folks and we all know that."

Gibbs noted how the White River National Forest, a major driver of tourism in the county, was seeing a two-thirds cut to its budget.

"When we're surrounded by over 80 percent federal lands," he said, "and the state is seeing its population increase by 100,000 more every year and putting more stress on our trailheads and services, that funding cut just doesn't work for us. I'm going to work hard to lobby Congress to find funding."

In a nod to future generations and leading chants of "Kids for Gibbs," he said it was important to keep the young ones in mind when making environmental policy.

"When we think about the environment, we think about the kids that are here," he said. "I want to make sure they have the same opportunities to enjoy the amazing outdoors we have in our backyard."

Gibbs promised to lobby state legislators on these issues. Turning his attention to Summit resident Julie McCluskie, who will be running in the fall to replace Millie Hamner as Colorado House Representative for District 61, Gibbs said he planned on "knocking on her door real soon" to collaborate on the challenges Summit is facing.

McCluskie, one of several supporters donning an orange "Dan Gibbs for County Commissioner" sticker, said she fully supported Gibbs' final campaign as commissioner.

"Dan Gibbs has been a very strong leader for Summit County. He's really well connected with the needs in our community, he understands what working families are facing with affordable housing, high cost of health care and the need for all of us to respond to population growth in Summit County and across the state. I think he's an honorable man doing an honorable job."

When asked about whether he had thought about running for higher political office again, Gibbs said he might consider it in the future.

"I love serving at the local level right now, but I would not rule out an opportunity to serve a larger community," he said. "For right now, there's so much we can get done here."

Gibbs also said he had considered running to succeed Rep. Jared Polis for his seat in the 2nd Congressional District.

"I did think about it for a few days, but when Tate was born," he said as he cradled his baby son in his arms, "I couldn't imagine myself being away from my family. So, I made family my priority."

Gibbs also announced the opening of his new campaign website, DanGibbs.com. As of yet, no other contender has announced their candidacy in the commissioner's race.