Summit Daily editorial: Re-elect Davidson and Stiegelmeier as county commissioners
The knock against the current board of Summit County Commissioners is that they think alike and act alike, that anything but a Kumbaya 3–0 vote is a rarity — that they’re the government equivalent of the Super Friends.
In theory, having a more adversarial, Batman v. Superman kind of board might sound attractive. In practice, however, we believe the level of teamwork and commitment that Thomas Davidson, Karn Stiegelmeier and Dan Gibbs have brought to the county’s most urgent problems is refreshing and a boon for residents.
Davidson and Stiegelmeier are both up for re-election this year and we believe both have earned your vote.
While Gibbs has picked up the mantle of health care and Stiegelmeier water issues, Davidson has distinguished himself as the champion of workforce housing and child care.
As proud as he is of his accomplishments on those fronts, what Davidson is most eager to point to in his record, however, is his work to make the county more financially resilient. After the Great Recession, the board faced tough decisions, including the prospect of laying off more than 20 upper management positions. As personally difficult as those cuts were, Davidson said that they ultimately enabled the county to build up emergency, rainy-day reserves that have grown to more than $12.8 million today.
Davidson, a Democrat seeking his third and final term, has also had the guts to go to voters when he believes there’s an essential service that needs additional support. Again and again during Davidson’s tenure, voters have approved ballot measures to create new funding sources for emergency services, water quality and housing needs.
Davidson has also set himself apart in his ability to form partnerships with towns and nonprofits.
Among them is the alliance with the school district, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) and nonprofit group Early Childhood Options to preserve and expand the Early Head Start and Head Start preschool and child care programs for low-income and underserved populations in the county.
Davidson has taken a leading role with these initiatives in county, serving on the Early Childhood Option board since 2000, in addition to being appointed by the governor to the state’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission in 2013.
Also to his credit, Davidson has worked to bring the $23-million project to realign and expand Highway 9 to fruition.
We believe that Davidson’s main opponent, Independent Bill Wallace, is a strong and honorable candidate, with valuable experience as an elected official. Wallace would make a fine commissioner, but the reality is that Davidson has done little to disqualify himself and much to build an impressive track record of getting things done. The Summit Daily is proud to endorse Thomas Davidson for District 2 county commissioner.
Stiegelmeier, the Democratic incumbent also seeking her third and final term, has proven herself to be one of the community’s fiercest environmental advocates. The future success of Summit County depends on our ability to preserve the natural beauty and health of our landscape. More than most, Stiegelmeier gets this concept and has worked tirelessly to ensure our fragile environment doesn’t become a victim of its own success.
The conservation-based projects she highlights during her eight-year tenure as commissioner include the clean-up of the Pennsylvania Mine, the Sts. John Creek and Tenmile River restorations and the ongoing efforts to renew the Swan River. But she isn’t just a one-trick pony. Stiegelmeier has also done impressive work on workforce housing, child care funding and health care.
Stiegelmeier, the seventh female commissioner in the county’s 155-year history, is also willing to stand up for Summit County’s rights when it comes to water issues. She has served on a number of committees, including the Colorado Basin Roundtable, Northwest Council of Government’s Quantity and Quality council, and Summit’s Water Quality board after first taking the commissioner seat in 2008.
“We talk about our beautiful mountains and trails,” Stiegelmeier has said, “but we need water for everything to thrive, and a lot of recreation really is on water, whether on the river or on river water that’s in the form of snow. I see it as the lifeblood of our environment and our economy.”
We believe this sensibility will take Summit County in the right direction. The Summit Daily is happy to endorse Karn Stiegelmeier for District 3 county commissioner.
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