Ten Republicans announced their candidacy for elected positions in Montezuma County during a standing room only party lunch Thursday at Shilohs in Cortez.
Sheriff Dennis Spruell announced he will run for another term as the county's top law enforcement officer. Spruell has 34 years experience in the field and says he works within the budget and finds savings, “but I still am able to give my deputies raises.”
Spruell said he eliminated the need for expanding the jail by reducing inmates population 30 percent due to a successful pretrial services program. He believes in “firm but fair” law enforcement, is critical of federal encroachment on local issues, including public lands access, and said the sheriff is the “ultimate law enforcement officer because he is elected by the people.”
Spruell said he will focus on running a clean campaign “that is based on my accomplishments and what I plan to accomplish.”
Former Colorado State Patrol investigator Steve Nowlin announced his candidacy for the county sheriff position. A longtime local, Nowlin has worked in law enforcement for 37 years, serving with the Cortez Police Department, as a sheriff deputy, and with the Colorado State Patrol for the past 30 years — 20 as a patrol officer and 10 as a criminal investigator.
“I've investigated major crimes and drug investigations,” he said. “I was honored as a Master Trooper and I retired Jan. 31.”
Nowlin highlighted his volunteer efforts as well. He ran the Montelores wildlife rehabilitation center for 13 years with his wife, helped to save the Jersey Jim firetower and was past president of the Four Corners Rifle and Pistol Club. As a hunting instructor, “I teach ethics of respecting our natural resources and firearm safety.”
He said “there is no better calling than running for sheriff. I would love to continue my service for the people in my home.”
There are three Republican candidates for one county commission seat being vacated by Steve Chappell, who is term-limited.
Jim Candelaria announced his candidacy for county commission District 1. Candelaria is a lifelong resident and well-known builder.
“I want an opportunity to give back,” he said. “I will focus on continued growth in our infrastructure to attract development and jobs, I will conduct proper planning for growth, and keep a balanced budget.”
Candelaria is a member of the Cortez Sanitation District Board.
Candelaria is a retired battalion chief of the Farmington Fire Department. He was named Builder of the Year by the MontDolores Home Builders Association from 2000-2004.
“I understand small businesses, and will lead the county into economic growth,” he said.
James Lambert is also seeking the District 1 county commission seat and will run against Candelaria. Lambert has a science degree from CSU and worked for 37 years in farming and light-industry fields as well as in the roofing and siding business. He served as a volunteer firefighter with the Pleasant View Fire Department, has been on school commissions, was on the board of directors that founded the Montezuma Water Co. and served on a county commission budget advisory committee.
“I feel that I can do the job,” he said. “The northwest district has a lot of energy and agriculture and needs representation from the commission.”
Donnie Tanner also announced his candidacy for county commission. Tanner was born and raised locally. He is a fourth generation farmer and rancher, and a third generation agricultural pilot.
“I will learn and listen,” he said. “I believe in private property rights and the right to use public lands. Tanner said he will work toward keeping tax dollars in the community and wants to better promote the county to generate jobs.
“I want to bring the pride back to the area,” he said.
Two candidates seek the county coroner position.
George Deavers has been the deputy crooner for 11 years and has experience as an EMT for the Lewis-Arriola Fire Department.
“I've investigated a lot of different deaths and worked with a lot of different agencies,” he said. “I'm familiar with the job and the cases.”
Michael Hall is also running for county coroner. Hall served for six years with the Arizona Highway Patrol and is a small-business owner.
Two Republicans are running for county assessor.
William Scott Davis was appointed as interim assessor by the county commission after Mark Vanderpool took a job in the private sector. He has worked in the assessor office for 20 years, 11 as deputy assessor.
“Buyers and sellers value the property, and our office reports the news,” he said. “I know the office well, and we pass state audits on performance.”
Cynthia Claytor, a certified appraiser with the Montezuma County assessors office, is also running for county assessor. She is a 12-year resident and if elected will run the office with “a professional attitude.”
Kim Percell announced her candidacy for Montezuma County Clerk. She has worked for the clerk's office since 2005, beginning in the motor vehicle department, and then being appointed to chief deputy in 2011. “I would love to have your support,” Percell said.