Jesse James Sattley, of Dolores, has petitioned onto the November ballot for Montezuma County commissioner representing District 1.
Sattley, 70, was raised in the county and has worked as a farmer and rancher for decades. He was a county road maintenance worker and mechanic for 26 years. As an unaffiliated candidate, he had to gather 178 signatures to make the ballot.
“I represent the working class, and if elected, I will work for them,” he said in an interview.
His campaign platform includes no new taxes, more conservative government spending, and fair, independent decision-making.
“We’re a blue-collar community, so on all decisions, I’ll keep that in mind. If it helps them, I’ll vote for it; if not, I won’t,” he said. “I won’t just vote along with the other (commissioners) if I disagree with them.”
Sattley is especially concerned about government overspending and said he believes the county must stay within its financial means, avoid projects they can’t afford and keep a strong reserve.
“It is a question of needs versus wants,” he said. “Do we really need to pave a road if we can get away with just chip-sealing it? Should new equipment be bought, or can we maintain what we have? If we can do something in-house, we should, instead of contracting it out. I think there are some savings there.”
He is against a proposed county sales tax because it “puts a burden on the working class. You have to get by with what you have. That’s the way I was raised.”
He feels that the local economy has been hurting, noting that local construction companies have left town and oil and gas and logging industries have diminished.
“This is the time to tighten the belt,” Sattley said. “I feel the county needs an audit by a third party who is not from the area to see where we stand on the budget.”
Sattley said that if elected, he would advocate for more input and ideas from employees on improving department efficiency, and he would reject favoritism.
“The working people know a lot. They need to have more of a say,” he said.
Sattley supports outdoor recreation, and as commissioner would work toward “access for all the different users.”
He feels that some users are not as compatible on the same trail – such as horses mixing with cyclists and motorized users – and that more thought should be put into making some trails just for horses as a way to reduce conflicts.
“There are so many more users on the trails now, and to make it more fair, dividing uses in certain situations seems practical,” he said.
The reduced access to area lakes because of the invasive mussel risk is also a concern for Sattley. He said he understands the problem, but feels more effort is needed by the county to add boat inspection stations at McPhee and other lakes that have restricted or cut off motorized access.
“You have to protect our water from these mussels, but I think if we try harder, we can do that and also keep up access for our citizens,” he said. “A key part of that is working with state and federal agencies that manage those waters to get what we need.”
Sattley is one of four candidates in the race for the one open commissioner seat. The other candidates are Republican Jim Candelaria, unaffiliated Steve Chappell and Democrat MB McAfee.
Sattley said it appears his campaign is low-budget compared with other candidates, but that he is running it based on what he can afford.
“I’m only spending within my budget, the same way I think the county has to be run,” he said.
He welcomes people to call him about his views and plans if elected at 970-882-4691.