Child for county commissioner |

Child for county commissioner

All four candidates for the District 4 seat on the Board of County Commissioners have admirable qualities, a grasp of the issues and thoughtful ideas about how Pitkin County government should function. But in Tuesday’s primary election, we suggest that voters choose Steve Child based on his affability, vast knowledge and positions on many key topics.

Pitkin County commissioners spend a great deal of time working through various types of land issues. Child’s expertise in this arena will bring added value to county government. Child, 64, is a longtime rancher with hands-on experience in dealing with agriculture, conservation, water rights and land management. Judging from his answers at recent panels and in newspaper questionnaires, he seems to favor a balanced approach with regard to land uses in the county.

For example, Child supports the Wexner land swap, which would make public a large private ranch in Garfield County in exchange for little-used federal lands in Pitkin County near Mount Sopris. While Child sees recreational and other benefits to that exchange, he has openly criticized the county’s recent decision to purchase land in Eagle County to develop a community farming operation, pointing out that there is no actual community near the location. His responses to these issues have been consistent, intelligent and practical.

We also like his commitment to renewable energy and the environment, topics that grow in importance with every passing year. Child has said that one of his greatest concerns is climate change and that he favors a carbon-neutral approach to any new development. He’s also pragmatic enough to know that some battles aren’t winnable and that there are instances in which compromise is necessary. Should he win the election, such forward-thinking policies, combined with a dose of realism, will serve his constituents well.

Child also has the pedigree, so to speak, for the job. His father, the late Bob Child, was an active and well-liked commissioner a few decades ago. It stands to reason that Steve Child shares some of the same attributes of the man who raised him. We see in the younger Child a soft-spoken demeanor, good listening skills and the ability to forge compromises. The commission already has enough strong personalities; perhaps it could use someone with a different personal style and a more genteel approach to conducting government business.

Child also is a retired schoolteacher and bus driver. He has a long and diverse record of community service, having served on local caucus boards, quasi-governmental committees, parent-teacher organizations – even coaching Little League baseball.

He sings and plays stand-up bass. He knows what it’s like to stand on the side of a mountain in subzero weather and make and spread snow for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike. He served a two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

Such diversity compels us to endorse Steve Child for county commissioner and urge voters to check his name on June 26.

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