Mary Beth “MB” McAfee is a welcome addition to the District 1 race for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
She will raise awareness of issues that affect a substantial number of the county’s underrepresented citizens.
McAfee is also brave to tackle that challenge, because she, along with other progressives in Montezuma County, remembers the vitriol heaped upon her husband, Chuck McAfee, during his own campaign. One of the loudest criticisms was that he’d lived in Boulder.
Montezuma County is not Boulder. No one – certainly not Chuck or MB – imagines that it is. But it is also not monolithically white, male and staunchly conservative.
Over the past decade, partisanship in Montezuma County has grown more pronounced, as it has across the country. At the same time, political diversity has increased here. Simply put, the population includes a growing number of people who not only have no voice and no vote on the county commission, they don’t even have an ear there.
McAfee ticks several discussion-broadening boxes. Besides being a Democrat and a woman, she has broad and valuable experience in, simply put, making things work. She is both visionary and practical. She has been an active volunteer for many years in an area where funds and helpers often are in short supply. She grew up here and came back after a successful career elsewhere. Those are all good qualities.
It’s far too early to endorse anyone for the commission seat. In the Republican primary, incumbent James Lambert will face two challengers who also will contribute unique topics and viewpoints, and other candidates may yet step up.
It’s long past time, though, to stop dismissing anyone who doesn’t match up well with the local majority and any idea that isn’t part of a national platform.
Many, many of the issues relevant to local governance don’t fit neatly into partisan classifications, and the county benefits when the full range of ideas can be debated openly and honestly. We need everyone to bring their best to the table and to be respectful of others who are doing the same.
Let’s take some time to listen and think carefully. MB McAfee potentially speaks for a whole lot of the county’s constituents who may not be part of the partisan majority,w but who definitely have a right to be part of the conversation about the future direction of this county.