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Carbondale seats attracting interest

Gregory Conroy
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” All joking aside, Carbondale residents will elect four town trustees on April 1 ” April Fools’ Day.

With four of seven seats on the Carbondale Town Board up for election, potential candidates are coming forward. Candidate petitions were made available just this week; already one incumbent and four would-be candidates have said they will run, or at least are showing an interest. As of noon Wednesday, five petitions had been picked up for circulation. They must be turned in by Feb. 29.

Incumbent Trustee Ed Cortez, who is seeking re-election to the board, has picked up his petition. Frosty Merriott, a former candidate who sat in as a guest trustee earlier this month, picked up a petition, as well.

“I’m pretty much officially in,” Merriott said.

Merriott said he will be out this weekend, seeking the 25 signatures from registered town voters that are necessary to get one’s name placed on the ballot.

Incumbent Alice Laird is eligible to seek a second term, but has said she does not plan to run for re-election, while Trustee Russ Criswell is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.

A fourth seat, vacated when former Trustee Scott Chaplin resigned, is wide open.

Residents are stepping up.

Among the prospective candidates picking up petitions this week were Bruce Gray, Rico Torres and John Hoffmann.

“I care about Carbondale a lot,” said Gray, an 11-year resident of Carbondale, when asked about his potential candidacy. “I feel that I would like to participate in the direction that Carbondale is going in the future.”

Torres is hoping that he can fill a role on the board that he feels has been missing.

“I think it’s time for the town to get some real cultural Latino input,” Torres said. A 20-year resident of Carbondale, Torres feels that he could do well to bridge the cultural gap that has split the town.

Torres said he does not necessarily want to be a voice for the Latino community, but rather, an interpreter to help aid the oftentimes frustrating miscommunication that can occur between two different cultures. Torres is hoping to be a new asset to the board.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and I don’t see any Latino board members,” Torres said. “I think I can really help the town.”

Hoffmann could not be reached for comment on his intentions.

To seek election, a candidate must be a resident of the town for at least 12 months prior to the election date. Candidates must also not be a paid employee of the town, nor can they apply for employment with the town during their tenure on the Town Board, if they’re elected.


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