Voters in Pitkin County have an enviable dilemma when it comes to the Board of County Commissioners race pitting John Young against Steve Child.
Both of these Old Snowmass residents, vying for the District 4 seat on the board, strike us as genuinely having the county's best interests in mind. Neither longtime local appears to have a hidden agenda, and both speak their minds thoughtfully and with purpose.
In the days leading to the June 26 primary election, this newspaper put its support behind Child. At the time, we felt that he was the best choice among the four candidates - we cited the rancher's expertise and hands-on experience with agriculture, conservation, water rights and land management.
That was four months ago, and we still believe that Child has the ingredients to be a good commissioner. But now, after each candidate's positions have crystallized, we feel strongly that Young would be even better.
For starters, Young seems to want it more. He has impressed us with his go-getter attitude on the campaign trail. His sense of mission is evident on the streets of Aspen, where he's brought a meet-and-greet style to anyone willing to shake his hand and listen.
We realize that campaigning on the streets and sitting in a six-hour land-use hearing have nothing in common. Campaigning can be fun and social. A six-hour hearing can be arduous and tedious.
But Young's aggressive approach on the campaign trail shows us that he's a person who's willing to listen to and learn from the residents of Pitkin County and get a true feel for what they want in a commissioner.
We also see Young's approach - aggressive but not abrasive - well-suited for the board, which has a plateful of highly charged issues in the coming years. The airport expansion and potential drilling on Thompson Divide stand above the rest.
Young doesn't hedge when it comes to oil and gas drilling in Pitkin County: He has pledged to push for a one-year moratorium on fracking in Thompson Divide and has emphatically stated that drilling is not appropriate anywhere in the county.
We believe his tough stance on drilling in Pitkin County is what we need. Child, however, has shown to be a passive candidate who feels that drilling is inevitable here, and he won't put up the type of fight Young advocates when energy firms ramp up to tap Pitkin soil.
We also support Young's desire to keep the airport as intimate as possible and energy-neutral.
As the first town manager of Snowmass Village, Young recognizes how vital the tourism economy is to Pitkin County. That's why he recognizes the value of affordable housing and retaining the local work force, keeping the county free of drilling and protecting our water and open space.
Young has a professional background in both the private and public sectors, which is vital experience when it comes to working as a county commissioner.
He has shown he deserves a seat on the board.
We encourage voters to cast their ballots for John Young in the Nov. 6 election.