Restaurant owner Kent Lindsay and Colorado brand inspector Joel Stevenson have won the Republican Primary for Montezuma County Commissioner Districts 2 and 3.
Unofficial results were released at 8:45 p.m. by county Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell.
For District 2, Lindsay won 3,184 votes, compared with Danny Wilkin’s 2,496 votes – 56% to 44%.
For District 3, Stevenson won 3,036 votes compared with Monty Guiles’ 2,640 votes – 53% to 47%.
Of the 16,000 ballots sent out, 9,043 were returned, for a 56% voter turnout. An additional 259 ballots were rejected for lack of a signature or other discrepancies. Those voters will be notified and will have eight days to cure their ballots. About 65 military ballots could be returned in the next eight days as well.
Lindsay and Stevenson are set to make the November general ballot. There were no Democrat challengers for either district.
Lindsay served two terms as commissioner from 1997-2005. He currently serves on the Empire Electric Association board, was a volunteer firefighter and served on the Cortez Fire Protection District board.
Lindsay has also owned and operated the Rio Grande Café on Cortez’s Main Street for 40 years.
“I’ve been involved in the community and understand the issues and challenges,” he said.
A lot of them are the same from 20 years ago, Lindsay said. His priorities include protecting water rights and agricultural values, public safety, economic development and practical land use.
“I take a commonsense approach to decision making,” Lindsay said. “I’ve got some ideas, will listen to the public and will work with the other commissioners and local towns.”
Exploring the use of a biomass plant to burn slash from the forest and provide local power is one of his ideas. Another goal would be to develop a more active economic development plan for attracting businesses to the area.
“Research is needed on what is a good fit for our area, then go out to specifically recruit that type of business,” he said.
As far as governing style, Lindsay said: “You have to listen, listen, listen and realize that the people that come through the door of the Commissioner’s room are there for a purpose and sometimes you are their last hope to accomplish that goal. You have to be fair and equal and have no predetermined opinions or motives. A commissioner who had served a few terms once told me when the time came to make these decisions to not only govern with your mind but also with your heart. I have kept that advice close.”
Stevenson was born and raised in the county and has worked as a livestock inspector for the Colorado Department of Agriculture for 22 years.
“I’ve been active in the community and served on different boards, and I also have some experience with state government. I’m currently serving on the Montezuma County Planning Commission,” he said. “I believe I can get the job done.”
Stevenson said he is a staunch supporter of property rights and the U.S. Constitution.
He said he is familiar with the county land use code and is learning more about the inner workings of the county as a planning commissioner. Some of his goals include keeping the county financially secure and governing in a business-friendly way to attract jobs.
Stevenson wants to establish country of origin labeling for agricultural products.
“Our consumers need to be informed of where their food is coming from. This in turn will promote economic growth,” he said. “As far as economic development and creating jobs, we need to give incentives such as waiving some of the startup fees to allow growth and solvency of our business owners.”
Stevenson wants to explore expanding the Cortez Municipal Airport to allow larger companies access to the community.
“We need to work together as a county and when elected, I intend to promote a working relationship with each town,” he said.
As far as governing style, he plans to keep an open mind.
“I will ensure that I am informed and have all the facts prior to making any decision that would affect our county as a whole,” Stevenson said. “And most importantly I will use common sense in all decisions.
District 2 and 3 commissioner seats are currently held by Keenan Ertel and Larry Don Suckla, who are both serving their second four-year terms. They are term limited at the end of the year.