In Montezuma County, politics happens differently than in most other places.
For example, the conventional wisdom is that primary contestants should remain somewhat restrained, in order not to provide ammunition against the candidates who will represent their respective parties in the general election, where no holds are barred. Here, the district attorney race and at least one county commission contest were bitter (on one side of each race, anyway), and so far the single November race has been civil and even quiet. For that, we thank the candidates and their supporters.
That could change more than three weeks remain before Election Day, although most voters will receive mail ballots early next week but the tone of the race so far suggests that no matter who wins, Montezuma Countys 3rd commission district will be represented by a thoughtful, practical man who is willing to listen to all voices, consider all ideas and vote for the good of all.
In addition, the Journal admires and applauds anyone willing to run for local office, because competition helps to inform both candidates and citizens and, at the end of the campaign season, to refine government.
Each of the candidates has strengths. In alphabetical order:
Dewayne Findley knows the job, having served a term that ended eight years ago, and his track record in public service extends beyond the commission. He has proven adept at building relationships that benefit the county; his work on transportation is one example. As the owner of a local business, he understands the interplay between county decisions and economic development.
Greg Kemps education and work experience as an industrial supervisor are well suited to the business of running the county. He has followed the commission closely and studied the issues carefully. He has worked hard for local organizations. He articulates very clearly the frustrations some citizens have experienced with past commissions, and he is committed to spending long hours on county business. In addition, theres a lot to be said for the presence of an opposition voice on a three-member commission that too infrequently peers over the party line.
Larry Don Sucklas broad business experience has familiarized him with many aspects of the county and, he says, I love where I live. He has been visiting other counties and collecting good ideas that could be implemented here. As an independent, and one younger than the typical commission candidate, he is not locked into one perspective. At the same time, he has a deep respect for the history and traditions of the county.
All that said, we believe that Findley should win, and we believe that he will do a good job for Montezuma County. He was a strong commissioner the first time around, and the relationships he developed then, and has maintained since, put him in the best position to help the county now in its dealings with the state, the tribe and the federal public lands agencies. He has demonstrated an ability to identify resources and craft workable compromises. Findley supports growth while understanding the dangers of unregulated development of any kind.
Next to the school ballot issues in all three districts, the county commissioner election will have the largest impact on the daily lives of county residents. Be sure to vote.