Commissioners set sights on year with new member |

Commissioners set sights on year with new member

Naomi Havlen
Pitkin County commissioners, from left, Jack Hatfield, Michael Owsley and Dorothea Ferris set off on new terms in office after a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday on the steps of the courthouse. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Pitkin County has one new county commissioner – Woody Creek resident Michael Owsley, who was sworn onto the board at noon Tuesday by Judge Jim Boyd of the 9th Judicial District.Commissioners Dorothea Farris and Jack Hatfield were also reaffirmed to their seats on the board at the same time while wet snow fell on a small crowd on the steps of the Pitkin County Courthouse. The next four years will be Farris’ third and last term in office and will be Hatfield’s second term in office.

Owsley, who has been attending county commissioner meetings since he defeated Commissioner Shellie Roy in November, said he is looking forward to participating as an elected official.”I have enormous amounts of learning to do now – it’s like grabbing onto a freight train that’s moving down the track at a rapid clip,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to hang on.”He said he has received strong support from fellow Woody Creatures and other Pitkin County residents who wish him well in his new position. Farris said she’s looking forward to Owsley’s participation on the board, calling him “intelligent, committed and a welcome asset.” But she cringed when reminded that this is her final term on the board.

“Finances, the budget and water will be our key issues,” she said. “But the regional and state relationships I’ve established over the last eight years are excellent and will be put to good use – this is an exciting time for us.”Primarily, Farris said, the county will need to be diligent about protecting local natural resources, especially considering a general lack of help from the state and federal government on that front.

Hatfield echoed the same sentiments when asked about his second term, saying he’ll be focusing on protecting the quality of life and environment of this area, since it’s “key to what makes Pitkin County the desirable, unique county that it is.””The challenges for this term are still the same, except I expect we’ll have more presence at the state Legislature, working with other counties and the public,” he said.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is

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