Beeson unopposed in D.A. re-election bid |

Beeson unopposed in D.A. re-election bid

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” It appears Martin Beeson will be unopposed when he seeks re-election in November as the 9th Judicial District Attorney, but he still senses a need to get a special message to his constituents.

Beeson perceives that people in his line of work get a bum rap. Prosecutors are often portrayed as “the bad guys” by society and the media in general, and by special interest groups, he said.

“That’s just wrong,” he said.

Beeson wants to do something about the allegedly tarnished image of prosecutors. So even if he remains uncontested in his re-election bid, he plans to get together early and often with constituents in his four-year term and try to build trust. Beeson said he likely will use town meetings and presentations to civic organizations to bolster that relationship. The 9th Judicial District serves Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.

Beeson isn’t taking anything for granted in the election. Although he is unopposed at this point, a potential challenger could emerge until Aug. 26 as a write-in candidate.

As it stands, Beeson is the only official candidate. He took office in January 2006 after voters recalled Colleen Truden. Beeson is the Republican nominee for the post, and no other Republican or Democrat has entered the race.

He said he is running for a full four-year term because it’s “the right thing to do” after “starting off on this quest for truth and justice.” Beeson said his staff is just getting to the level that it should be to be effective in that fight.

There were 11 attorneys in the office, including Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney, when voters handed him the reins. He has added two attorneys to handle felony cases and another for Rio Blanco County court in Meeker. He is still interviewing for one more prosecutor and an investigator.

Beeson said his job is to get the tools that his deputies need to successfully prosecute criminals. He said he believes he and Cheney do a pretty good job, but there are some policies, which he wouldn’t identify, that need to be examined and possibly changed.

Beeson has made good on a promise to boost his staff’s pay to make it competitive with similar jobs throughout the state. Shortly after taking office, he vowed to raise salaries across the board for his employees. He sought a 30 percent increase over three years for everyone except himself. (His salary is set by state law.)

Thanks to funding decisions by the county commissioners within his district, the salaries were raised 10 percent each in 2007 and 2008. Beeson will seek the funds in the 2009 budget process to provide the final part of the 30 percent salary increase.

The staff has gone from being grossly underpaid, which led to turnover, to competitive, according to Beeson.

He’s looking for a similar turnaround in the opinion of his constituents.

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