Eagle County: Two of three seats up on county board | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County: Two of three seats up on county board

Aspen Times Weekly Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The Eagle County commissioner races pit two veterans in county politics in one race and two newcomers to county politics in the other.

In the county commissioner district one race, incumbent Peter Runyon is facing a challenge from Dick Gustafson, who was a commissioner from 1984 to 1993. Runyon, 63, is a Democrat from Eagle-Vail. Gustafson, 73, is a Republican from Vail.

In the district two race, Republican Debbie Buckley is squaring off against Democrat Jon Stavney for the seat being vacated by Arn Menconi because of term limits.

While neither candidate has served in county government, neither is new to politics. Buckley, 51, served eight years on the Avon Town Council and also served on the board of directors of ECO Transit, the Eagle Valley’s bus company.

Stavney, 41, served 10 years on the town of Eagle board of trustees, including four years as mayor from 2004 until this year.

Runyon, a photographer, owns a souvenir business. He has championed growth control since winning election in 2004 and he also helped institute affordable housing requirements on new development. His platform can be found at http://www.prunyon.com.

Gustafson, a former small business owner as well as a stock broker, real estate broker and insurance agent, has emphasized fiscal responsibility in the campaign. He is critical of the Eagle County commissioners’ decision not to lower the tax rate when 2006 property values soared. He also is opposed to requiring developers to provide afforable housing. The private sector will voluntarily provide it as long as the government cooperates, he said. His platform can be found at http://www.electdickgustafson.com.

In the district two race, Buckley’s positions are similar to those of Gustafson. Her campaign theme is “Restoring trust, building community.” The small business owner said in her campaign material that trust must be restored between the commissioners and citizens. County taxes and spending helped break down that trust, her materials suggested. Her platform can be found at http://www.electdebbiebuckley.com.

Stavney is a project manager for a construction company. His materials said that he supports responsible growth and that the county must review projects in a way that maintains the quality of life in Eagle County. The county needed the additional tax funds that resulted from higher property values to help maintain that quality of life and build the infrastructure needed in the growing area, according to Stavney’s materials. Stavney believes he is in a unique position to lead because he makes his living in construction but has also been a mayor; he is married to a school teacher and has elementary school-aged children attending public schools. His platform can be found at http://www.jonstavney.com.

Although the commissioners run in districts, voting is at-large, meaning that all county voters may cast ballots in both races. Eagle County includes the El Jebel area and part of Basalt. The board of county commissioners has three seats, so this election could shape the direction of that government.

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