The League of Women’s Voters held an online forum Sept. 23 for the two candidates running for the District 3 Montezuma County Commission race seat.
Unaffiliated Rebecca Samulski and Republican Joel Stevenson were invited, but only Samulski attended.
Samulski answered questions from moderator Judy Schuenemeyer and explained her position on issues.
Her goals if elected include keeping the current level of public services and more long-term planning to better manage growth in the county.
Facing challenges requires “coming together as a community, using the assets and skills we have right here to come up with creative solutions,” Samulski said.
She said denser development should be directed to areas with available water and sewer infrastructure.
“We’re not making any more water; in fact, there is less and less of it,” Samulski said.
In response on enforcement of zoning standards in the Dolores River Valley, Samulski said education was needed because the county does not have the resources for widespread compliance monitoring.
In response to the makeup of the County Board of Health, Samulski felt it would be a good idea to include a health professional on the board. The Board of Health is made up of the Montezuma County Commissioners.
She said the county’s resistance to enforce mask wearing “added to the confusion” during the pandemic and was counter to what health specialists were advising.
On the economy, Samulski would encourage timber-based products, tourism, outdoor recreation and value-added agriculture such adding more cideries to the local orchard industry.
“With tourists, we want to keep them here and help them find ways to spend money in our community,” she said.
Samulski said she has past government experience, ran the local FireWise wildfire mitigation program, and is the founder of the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative, which promotes forest health and the logging economy.
“One of my skills is bringing people together to solve complex problems and empowering people to be active in their community,” she said.