Voters chose Norman Butler Jr. and Larry Archibeque to serve four-year terms on the Empire Electric Association board of directors during Thursday’s election.
For the District 4 seat, Butler earned 1,258 votes, or 46% of the vote, winning over Marianne Mate, 1,066 votes (39%), and John J. Hernandez, 413 votes (15%).
For the District 7 seat, Archibeque ran unopposed and attracted 2,314 votes.
“I’ll work hard to do what is best for the community,” Butler said after vote tallies came in. “It means a lot that voters have confidence in me, and I appreciate their support.”
This is his first time serving on the Empire Electric Board. He said he looks forward to learning about its operations.
“It’s a lot to learn. I’m looking forward to the challenge and contributing as a board member,” Butler said.
His interest in serving on the board came from “wanting to serve the community.”
Archibeque said he also looks forward to learning about the energy industry and helping to govern the cooperative.
“I appreciate this opportunity to serve the community,” he said.
Archibeque said his goal as a board member is to strike a balance between the different energy sources to maintain the lowest cost possible for the customer.
Butler will replace District 4 board member Bill Mollenkopf, and Archibeque will replace District 7 board member John Porter.
The mail-in ballot election results were tallied and announced at the end of the annual meeting held at Empire’s Engineering and Operations Center. About 60 people attended the meeting.
Voter turnout was 21%, with 2,737 ballots returned out of 13,000 sent out. The turnout was better than last year’s election which saw 16% voter participation. Board members are paid $1,000 per month.
Butler grew up on the family farm on Summit Ridge in the house where he resides. He attended schools in Cortez and Dolores and graduated from Dolores High School. When not at school, he worked on the farm.
From 1974 to 1992, Butler worked for Ponderosa Timber as a saw filer and millwright. During that time, he married and started a family with three children. In 1993, he started up his own business, Lone Cone Lumber, manufacturing log home kits. He also continued to farm. In 2004, Butler started work as a millwright for Aspen Wallwood. Currently, he holds the position of foreman, millwright and mechanic for Aspen Wallwood and Aspen Wood Products.
Butler is a member of the Cortez SDA church and has been the school board chairman for Cortez Adventist Christian School for more than 20 years. He has been on the Summit Reservoir and Irrigation Co. board for more than 24 years and has served as president for more than 10 years.
Archibeque has been a lifelong and multigenerational resident of Montezuma County.
“I grew up in the sawmill camps of Fish Creek and Red Cloud, once located north of Dolores,” he said. “My elementary education was in the Dolores School District, and I attended high school in Mancos, graduating from Mancos High School.”
He received a bachelor’s degree from Fort Lewis College, a master’s from Adams State College, and a post-graduate endorsement in education from the University of Northern Colorado.
He retired after 34 years in education in Montezuma County and has served on the Piñon Project Board and the Montezuma County Habitat for Humanity Board. He also assisted and coordinated commodity distributions in Dolores for several years.
“Service to the community and giving back to the community has always been a lifetime goal as many have given back to my family and myself throughout our lifetime,” he said.
He said his goal serving on the Empire Electric board is to enhance the organization for its constituency.
“I pledge to all that I will be committed, value-oriented, transparent, accessible and hardworking for all members of Empire Electric while maintaining a focus on fiscal responsibility and service to the community at large,” he said.