In the four-way race to fill a vacant Montezuma County Commission seat, MB McAfee stands out.
She has worked hard through the years to make the county a better place to live. She has attended, and contributed to, the conversation at numerous commissioner meetings, particularly in regards to significant events and on behalf of those needing some assistance. She has firm views but believes that everyone has value and prides herself on liking people and on enjoying bringing people together.
A graduate of Montezuma-Cortez High School with degrees from the University of Colorado, and a former teacher, McAfee is experimenting with intensive dryland grass grazing on family acreage.
But most of all, she is known for her advocacy for The Bridge Emergency Shelter. McAfee describes her original goal as creating a facility for The Bridge, and as it slowly took shape, she served as its advocate, executive director and board chair.
In bringing The Bridge to fruition, McAfee shared its vision with human services organizations, Cortez City Council members and leaders of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. She knows local organizations and their leaders and members well.
McAfee has ideas about boosting the county’s economy in the face of declining revenues. She would begin by returning it to active membership in the county economic development organization. McAfee is a Democrat.
In the race is Republican Jim Candelaria, also a native of Montezuma County, who is raising hemp with a hope the crop will strengthen the county’s agricultural base. Candelaria runs a construction company, is a member of the sanitation district’s governing board and is a former firefighter. He says with his familiarity with many county residents, he would be able to respond to county needs.
As to asserting jurisdiction over roads which existed prior to the creation of the U.S. Forest Service, McAfee says it would cost too much to spend time in court. Candelaria says he would avoid legal action by sitting down and negotiating.
Both McAfee and Candelaria have said they would not overturn the county’s ban on the sale of medical and recreational marijuana.
Steve Chappell, the son of a two-term Republican commissioner, is running unaffiliated. So, too, is Jesse James Sattley.
Chappell is an outfitter and businessman who says he would support solar farms but is uncertain about the economic merits of the Paths to Mesa Verde trail between Cortez and Mancos.
Sattley has run a less visible campaign but has said he is open to more medical marijuana availability and that a railroad spur could stimulate economic development.
All four candidates have engaged in a civil dialogue in front of the voters. To their credit, there has been no shouting or name-calling.
With McAfee’s leadership in creating The Bridge and her participation in commission meetings, she has shown that she has the interest and drive to help make Montezuma County an even better place to live.
We vote for Mary Beth McAfee.