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Vote Wills for district attorney

Aspen Times writer

Republican and independent voters who declare their party affiliation will have the final say on who will be the next 9th Judicial District Attorney.Two Republican candidates, H. Lawson Wills and Colleen Truden, are on the Aug. 10 primary ballot. Because no Democrats are running to replace the outgoing Mac Myers, the winner of the Republican primary will almost certainly be the next DA.Wills would bring more experience to the job than Truden. He has spent 14 years as a prosecutor, first in El Paso County and, since 1992, in the 9th District, which includes Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. For the past seven years, he’s been the No. 2 prosecutor, after Myers, overseeing cases in Pitkin County.Wills says he’ll continue the cautious, people-friendly philosophy that Myers cultivated. A theme of Wills’ campaign has been the idea that malicious, mean-spirited criminals deserve all the wrath that a DA can muster, while others – those acting mostly out of stupidity or carelessness – should be treated less severely, perhaps with drug rehabilitation, probation and work-release programs.Wills also supports Myers’ decision this year to withdraw from TRIDENT, the regional drug-crime task force comprised of sheriff’s offices, police departments and the DA’s office. Myers explained recently that his decision was based on what he saw as sloppy workmanship that focused more on making an arrest – any arrest – than on making a good arrest.Truden served for nine years as a municipal court judge in Glenwood Springs, a part-time job that mostly deals with misdemeanor offenses. Before moving to Glenwood in 1994, she worked as a clerk (a lawyer for judges) for trial judges and a federal district court judge in Indiana. She entered private practice when she moved to Glenwood Springs.Truden has based much of her campaign on a call for change. She claims to have skills that her opponent lacks, learned from private practice, and describes her management style as open. And she promises to work more closely with the business community to pursue crimes such as check fraud.Truden has been indirectly critical of Myers’ decision to withdraw from TRIDENT, mostly pointing out the need for the various law enforcement agencies to cooperate with each other. She has the support of Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario and Carbondale Police Chief Gene Shilling, both vocal supporters of TRIDENT.Either would likely be able to perform the job, but Wills brings the right mix of experience and skepticism. While Truden’s business and administrative experience is considerable, Wills is a seasoned prosecutor. While cooperation between law enforcement agencies is important, it is more important to have a DA who is willing to challenge the law enforcement community when things are askew.Vote Wills for district attorney.


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