Eagle County Commissioner Candidates – Respond to ECT!

by – the candidates themselves

There are 2 Eagle County, Colorado Commissioner seats up for grabs in the November 2012 general election.

Open – District 1 – (outgoing/term limited) Peter Runyon

Open – District 2 – (incumbent must be re-elected to keep his seat)

Not up – District 3 – Sara Fisher retains her set for two more years

Attention Eagle County GOP Caucus Attendees – the Eagle County GOP Caucus is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th 2012 – 7PM – Battle Mountain High School – in Edwards.  More info (Click Here)

It is an open meeting where Commissioner candidates will meet and speak – HOWEVER you must be a registered GOP voter to vote in the Caucus election.  The Caucus elections will determine the Eagle County GOP preference for the 2012 Presidential race.  Later, at the scheduled EC GOP Assembly (Saturday, March 24th – Eagle County Building) voting will take place to determine if a Republican (County Commissioner) Primary election will be held in August 2012.  Local GOP registered voters should register at the 7FEB Caucus to be eligible to have their vote count for County Commissioner at the GOP County Assembly .

Announced GOP Candidates as of (30JAN2012) – Alphabetical order

Competing for District 1 GOP nomination – Jeff Layman and John Rosenfeld

Competing for District 2 GOP nomination – Mike Beltracchi and Shayne Mitchell

The ECT contacted these candidates and asked them a few “Pre-Caucus” questions – for ECT readers to review.  ECT also asked these Candidates to include their contact info so interested parties can ask other questions and get some answers before Caucus Day, Tuesday, February 7th.  [Click On] their digital photo’s to enlarge them.

In Alphabetical order – first up District 1 – Candidate Jeff Layman’s answers.

Bio – Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Jeff Layman moved to Vail in 1980 to begin a public safety career spanning 30 years with the Vail and Avon Police Departments and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.  He served in many capacities with increasing supervisory, managerial and leadership responsibility, including seven years as Police Chief and five as Undersheriff.  Since January 2011, Jeff has served EagleVail as Community Manager.

Jeff met and married Barb in 1983.  Barb and Jeff have two children, Nicole, 24 and Zac, 21.  They have lived in EagleVail for more than 25 years.

Over the years, Jeff has been active in his church, Mt. of the Holy Cross Lutheran, and his community through the Eagle River Youth Coalition, Vail Valley Cares, Eagle County Public Safety Council, Snow Safety Rangers, the Buddy Mentors, Colorado West Mental Health Local Advisory Committee, Battle Mountain High School Advisory/Accountability Committee, Boy Scouts, Youth Sports and the EagleVail Property Owner’s Association.

Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Wichita State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from CU’s Graduate School of Public Affairs.  He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy

1 – Why are you running for Eagle County Commissioner?

It’s been reported that more than 5,000 jobs have been lost in Eagle County.  The Eagle County website currently lists more than 400 properties in which the foreclosure process has begun.  Many of our friends, family members and neighbors are unemployed and underemployed.

I share the experience of many Eagle County folks in knowing how it feels for the boss to come in and say “your job is being eliminated.”  I have incredible empathy for those in similar situations and will use this foundation to start my decision-making process in every circumstance.

My experience working with all kinds of people and all kinds of organizations makes me uniquely qualified to be an effective proponent for the citizens and taxpayers of Eagle County.  My reputation is one of someone who can effectively cooperate and collaborate with others to make decisions and improve the lives of those we serve.

I have relevant experience with preparing, administering and reducing budgets.  I have directed spending cuts and increased efficiency in four public agencies during lean times.

I have served the public in Eagle County since 1980.  I have a history of community involvement as a volunteer, non-profit board member and public servant.  My life is all about public service.

I have great passion for Eagle County, its people, its visitors and the diverse lifestyle that it supports.  I am a husband and father.  I care about our people.  Working to help families and to protect the most vulnerable among us from abuse, neglect and exploitation is what I have been doing my entire working life.  As an Eagle County Commissioner, I intend to continue to do so.

I am well prepared for the opportunity to serve in this capacity.  I can positively contribute to ALL Eagle County citizens.

2 – The County’s Home Foreclosure rate is now into the thousands (since Commissioner Stavney took office 3 years ago) because families are losing their Jobs, then their homes to Foreclosure.  When elected would you continue Stavney’s policy of ignoring our local economy in favor of spending millions more on so called “Open Space”?

We need to focus on doing what we can to stimulate employment.  I will look for the chance to encourage job growth each time I am asked to weigh in on an issue.  I will actively look for opportunities to work closely with towns to increase the number of available jobs.

I respect and encourage local control and the right of municipal self determination.  I don’t feel it necessary for the county to compete with the municipalities on any level.

3 – What “direction” would you like to see the Board of County Commissioners move our local economy in order to improve shrinking property values in Eagle County?

We all understand that our local economy has historically been over-weighted in recreation, real estate and construction.  That fact has served our needs and our lifestyles very well.  We also know that, for our future, developing economic diversity is critical.

I support adopting a long term, strategic plan to develop new options for economic diversity.  Growing our health, wellness and fitness business has been identified as the most viable opportunity at this time.  But it may not be only option.  We should learn from the past and not put “all of our eggs in one basket”.  County government, to the extent possible, should encourage continued long range planning for economic development and should actively support the initiatives of other entities, be they towns, special districts or non-profits.

While critical, the long term is not the “only thing”.  We must view each and every action the county takes RIGHT NOW with an eye on its effect on job creation or loss.  I will emphasize job preservation, creation and stimulation in every single decision, every single discussion and every single collaboration in which I am involved.

Contact Jeff Layman at C 970-376-7004.

GOP Candidate – John Rosenfeld – District 1

Bio – John Rosenfeld is owner of Johnie’s Garden, Inc. in Minturn, a full service landscape contracting company.  John started the business in 1991.

John is currently serving on the Minturn Town Council, since being appointed to the post in 2010.  John also serves as First Vice-Chair of the Eagle County Republican Party, treasurer of Congressional District 2 and was Secretary of House District 56 until the recent redistricting.

John graduated Cum Laude from Colorado State University with a degree in Landscape Horticulture. He worked his way through college by serving as Resident Assistant.  John realized his passion for plants while working at the Mason City Country Club golf course during the summer.

John has always enjoyed playing sports, and served as captain of his High school football and hockey teams.  He enjoys, hiking, and gardening, and is active in his community, volunteering for several activities. John enjoys playing Santa at Christmas time. He is a licensed NRA firearms instructor.

John and his wife Cherish live in Minturn. They have two dogs and 8 nieces and nephews.

1 – Why are you running for Eagle County Commissioner?

I am running for County Commissioner to bring a business oriented approach to the decision making at the County. I have a unique combination of business and political experience that will help improve the job market in the County. We need to remove cumbersome regulations from businesses so they can create jobs in Eagle County.

2 – The County’s Home Foreclosure rate is now into the thousands (since Commissioner Stavney took office 3 years ago) because families are losing their Jobs, then their homes to Foreclosure. When elected would you continue Stavney’s policy of ignoring our local economy in favor of spending millions more on so called “Open Space”?

Our local economy must be the number one priority of the Eagle County Commissioners.  Joblessness in the County is the reason so many families are struggling in these difficult times. I believe there are steps that the County can take to get government out of the way so businesses can create jobs here in Eagle County.

Open space is an important asset in our County. I believe open space must be incorporated into developers plans to provide communities with parks and recreation within developments. Developers should dedicate a portion of their proposed developments to open space. If private landowners desire to protect their land by placing their land into conservation easements, they should be encouraged to do so. I believe these two options are a good utilization of open space. The voters of Eagle County narrowly approved an open space tax for preservation of land to be used for recreation and community parks. I do not believe that the voters approved the use of general fund money to be used to purchase open space lands, especially in this economy.

There have been several polls showing a desire to place the Open Space Tax back on the ballot. If the voters desire this question on the ballot, then it should go on the ballot. And if the voters decide that the original intent of the Open Space Tax has been abused and vote to repeal the tax, I will not use fancy gimmicks to do it anyway. The Board of County Commissioners must be accountable to the voters. I will work hard to gather input from the citizens of Eagle County to determine what they feel is in the best interest of the taxpayer with regard to Open Space Funds.

3 – What “direction” would you like to see the Board of County Commissioners move our local economy in order to improve shrinking property values in Eagle County?

Decisions and policies that enhance the business environment in the County should be the priority of the Board of County Commissioners.  Decisions made by elected representatives must be made free of emotion. Policies must be adapted that use proven principles to achieve results. The number one result we need in Eagle County is job creation. Removing the government regulation will help clear the inventory of homes on the market and in foreclosure, creating a quicker recovery in the housing sector. Creating opportunity in the Real Estate market will put realtors, contractors, tradesmen and many others back to work.  This needs to be our focus.

GOP Candidate – Mike Beltracchi – District 2

BIO – Mike Beltracchi has been in the leisure ski travel business for the past 25 years years.  He moved to Edwards in 1993 and started Go West Tours which he owned until 2000 when the company was sold and subsequently acquired by ski.com where he currently works in group sales.  He has run over 1000 group trips to most of the major ski resorts in the western US and Canada, during which time he has had a lot of experience in solving problems, some seen and many unforeseen.  He is also involved in creating digital marketing, video and social media for several local businesses.

As a long time supporter of education, Mike currently works with the Literacy Project teaching English as a Second Language at the Avon Library and is a tutor at Berry Creek Middle School.  He is also a student of languages and is currently studying Spanish at Colorado Mountain College where he has studied Italian and French in the past.  He was on the board at Meet The Wilderness and initiated the successful merger with SOS.  Growing up in the Boston area, he has been a life long hockey fan and has coached in line hockey.  Mike is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in marketing.

Mike’s Contact Info:

970.688.4988 (O)

PO Box 2225

Edwards, CO 81632

1 – Why are you running for Eagle County Commissioner?

Eagle County Commissioners have the responsibility to serve all people in the county, not just limited special interest groups. Seventeen percent (over $4 million annual) of the county’s budget is being spent on Open Space, when at the same time there have been major cut backs in budgets for essential government services such as roads and bridges as well as public safety. It is time to put the Open Space tax on the ballot for citizens in Eagle County to decide if they want this tax to continue until 2025, generating another $50+ million to be spent on Open Space in a County where 83% of the land is already public, or whether this tax should go away and we look at other alternatives for the funds that will benefit the whole county if we are willing to keep taxing ourselves $4 million per year.

2 – The County’s Home Foreclosure rate is now into the thousands (since Commissioner Stavney took office 3 years ago) because families are losing their Jobs, then their homes to Foreclosure. When elected would you continue Stavney’s policy of ignoring our local economy in favor of spending millions more on so called “Open Space”?

In 2002, spending $4 – $6 million per year for Open Space passed by 51 votes out of 11,265 total votes. Times change. Budgets change. Fast forward 10 years later and the Eagle County School District is faced with substantial budget cuts, forcing them to consider reducing everything from salaries and bus service to make ends meet. Faced with a similar situation in your own home with limited funds, would you fix your car or buy the empty lot next door? I have read that the state of Colorado is not mandated to provide transportation for kids to school. If that’s the case, why don’t we repeal the Open Space tax and subsequently put another question on the ballot to use a portion of these funds to provide transportation to school kids? Thousands served with public funds instead of just a select few.

3 – What “direction” would you like to see the Board of County Commissioners move our local economy in order to improve shrinking property values in Eagle County?

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the County and it’s the third largest in the state. There’s probably only 2 degrees of separation from everyone in the County and Tourism. We need to look at ways that we can attract more visitors to the valley in all four seasons, be it through an international arrivals facility at the Eagle County Airport or making it easier for more tourist businesses and events to start up that would also increase demand.

To keep moving forward, change is necessary and sometimes the changes need to be bigger rather than smaller. Our County is not broke. It just needs to reallocate its priorities of where to use surplus funds that are being generated by a tax that has served a very narrow group of people in the County. The time is now for change.

GOP Candidate – Shayne Mitchell – District 2

Shayne Mitchell

Committee to Elect Shayne Mitchell

PO Box 530 Wolcott, Colorado 81655

Cell 970.376.7269 E-mail snippssteam@aim.com

Website under construction will be available by 3FEB2012 ShayneMitchell.com

New e-mail will be Shayne@ShayneMitchell.com

BIO – I am a Western Colorado native and my family has been in Western Colorado for 130 years. I have been a busy owner and job creator for the past 16 years. I have been conducting business in Eagle County for the past 8 Years.

1 – Why are you running for Eagle County Commissioner?  I want to put my experience and fiscal common sense to work for the people of Eagle County.  The people of Eagle County need a Board Of County Commissioners with an open door policy.  The current BoCC does not listen the people of Eagle County and is oblivious to the current state of the economy.  I will bring an open door policy to the Commission and listen to what the residents of Eagle County want and need.

2 – The County’s Home Foreclosure rate is now into the thousands (since Commissioner Stavney took office 3 years ago) because families are losing their Jobs, then their homes to Foreclosure.  When elected would you continue Stavney’s policy of ignoring our local economy in favor of spending millions more on so called “Open Space”?  When elected I will definitely move the county in a new direction.  We must put a stop the the current land grab agenda.  This includes not only “Open Space” but also the purchase of real estate with no definitive purpose.  Anyone living in Eagle County is only minutes away from public lands and open space. As your District 2 Commissioner, not only will I re-focus the county’s priorities, but I will work to undo as much of the damage as possible.

3 – What “direction” would you like to see the Board of County Commissioners move our local economy in order to improve shrinking property values in Eagle County?  The frivolous waste of revenue must be stopped.  The commissioners should be focusing their budget and attention on developing industry and commerce. This is how revenue is created and mortgages are paid.  We need to get Eagle County back to work. People are losing their homes everyday. I don’t believe these people who have been hit the hardest are going to find comfort in “Open Space”.  If we are going to get the economy rolling again and protect our already shrinking property values, we must create jobs.


One response

  1. Congratulations ECT for the first forum introducing the four Republican Candidates for Eagle County Commissioner, districts 1 & 2. As this election cycle gets into full swing it is important to note that there are only two candidates that have been very active with the Eagle GOP, contributing their time, effort, and money to get things done. Those candidates are John Rosenfeld and Shayne Mitchell, business owners, job creators and fiscally responsible men who will finally bring some common sense to the Eagle Board of County Commissioners. I urge all registered Republican voters in Eagle County to attend the caucus, at Battle Mountain High School, Tuesday, February 7th at 7:00 PM. Pre-register at Cologop.org. I hope to see you there. Claudia Alexander

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