Opinion | Susan Knopf: Stand and be counted | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Stand and be counted

If you are a Summit County registered Democrat, please meet me at our caucus and assembly at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Summit High School.

I know this is probably not how you planned to spend your Saturday afternoon. This year it’s a lot more important than average.

Summit Democratic Party Chair Patti McLaughlin said, “I feel passionate about this. I want to see people come out and support their candidates. … National … politics begins at this level.”

Candidates gain a place on the ballot by gathering signatures on petitions or by receiving 30% of the votes at the assembly. If you attend the assembly, you will help determine who will be on the primary ballot.

This year, we have Democrats challenging incumbent Democrats. The challenges are not just political jockeying. There is substance. And the issues matter to you, even if you didn’t know about it.

Kathleen Neel is term-limited as our county clerk and recorder. She is leaving office. Her commitment to serve is driving her to challenge the incumbent county treasurer.

Lisa Eurich worked for our tax assessor’s office more than 10 years. When she decided to run for the office previously held by Beverly Breakstone, she said she was given a choice: resign or be fired. She asked for the policy that mandates that course of action. So far, she says, no one has shown her that policy statement.

It would have been pretty easy to transfer her to another department. There are openings, and at least one other department head wanted her, she said.

Other people have been forced out of the assessor’s office. There are issues, even if people you have trusted tell you there aren’t.

I’m not sure why folks are trying to sweep this under the rug. The bulge in the carpet is growing bigger. The issues being created are both unnecessary and a disservice to the people.

The missteps are costing us money, though the amount is not disclosed per legal settlement.

One of the things I have found pretty shocking is the anger of some local Democrats opposing competition for office. For the record, I am delighted to see robust political debate and interest in the best leadership possible.

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Bully!”

Eurich said it best. She said if we were not supposed to challenge incumbents, then they would be elected for 12 years not four. “Bully!”

I like Eurich for tax assessor. Locals agree. She is a certified residential appraiser with more than a decade of county government experience. She’s a friendly person and genuinely concerned with the issues facing her office. She has a strong desire to help innovate solutions to some of our property tax disparities.

We have issues that plague our communities, even if you don’t know about it. And let’s face it: We don’t really care to know much about it. We just like smart people to fix issues, so we can worry about our own problems. Right? Eurich will do that.

For the record, Kathleen Neel has been a great county clerk and recorder. Think about the last election fiasco and the issues that are still unfolding in several counties. Aren’t you glad Summit County isn’t in the news for that? I’ll take an Interstate 70 shutdown over a county clerk and recorder fiasco every day of the week.

Neel will bring the same integrity and managerial skill to her role as Summit County treasurer. She says she’s proud of the collaborative relationships she’s built. Just ask any title company in town. They are rooting for Neel.

There’s competition for coroner, too. The previous coroner apparently planned to leave office and then changed her mind. Former Chief Deputy Coroner Amber Flenniken decided to run. “Bully!”

Flenniken is a 27-year resident of Summit County. She works at St. Anthony Summit Hospital. She is certified through the Colorado Coroners Association and the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Competition is good. It is the basis of our capitalist economy and the basis of democracy. Those who try to squelch debate are advocating mediocrity and stagnation.

Saturday will be a good day to stand up, be counted and participate in our vibrant democracy. See you there!

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