County commissioner incumbent points to eight years of leadership |

County commissioner incumbent points to eight years of leadership

Steve Child
Guest commentary
Pitkin County District 4 incumbent Steve Child at Squirm Night on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

“Are you sure that you want to run again?” I have been asked that question in reference to the COVID pandemic, which has turned all of our lives upside down, and changed how we as Pitkin County commissioners have had to conduct business virtually for the past seven months. I do want to serve one last four-year term as your commissioner, to continue the important projects which we have started over the past eight years, and new ones we have now undertaken.

There are some very important “big rocks” on our plate prioritized by the commissioners this past winter — these are extremely critical issues facing our community. These include climate change action; our community’s mental health response; a jail which needs to deal better with detainees with mental health and substance abuse issues, and to separate male and female detainees; affordable housing, which is perennially in short supply here, and where we have made progress through partnerships on the Basalt Vista project and the Phillips Mobile Home Park; the growth management system, which has worked well for years but needs revisions to deal with issues that have come up regarding the GMQS scoring system; the TDR program; the very large energy use per square foot in larger homes; and the Airport Vision committee recommendations to keep our airport as a gateway for visitors to come to our towns, and make our airport more welcoming and comfortable, quieter, more energy efficient and less polluting.

And on top of these very important issues for our community, we have had the medical and economic demands of the pandemic superimposed on our lives.

Dealing with all of these issues requires a thoughtful and common sense approach, and a strong cooperative team effort among the members of the BOCC, Pitkin County staff and members of the public. I have a lot of experience working on all of these issues, and a lifetime of practical experience, which helps me tackle them. My experiences from working in our ranch business for six decades, being an irrigator, school teacher, school bus and Village Shuttle bus driver, driving a snow cat, making snow, serving in the U.S. Army, and holding a variety of positions in many nonprofit and volunteer positions I have filled over the years have given me the wisdom and patience that are key traits for an elected official in our community.

I have served on the boards and in leadership positions in many local organizations involving educational, agricultural, environmental and transportation issues, and now most importantly have eight years of valuable experience as your county commissioner. As a commissioner I have been a strong advocate at the capitol on legislative issues, and for our aging community on a local and statewide basis.

You may notice two things different about my campaign from others — I am not accepting any donations, and I do not have any yard signs. I ask that people donate their money to several local organizations that are providing food to economically stressed families in our valley during this pandemic period: The Food Bank of the Rockies, Lift Up, and Highwater Farm and its supporter Aspen Valley Land Trust. I do not like yard signs: I have spent over 50 years of my life doing road cleanup projects, and see yard signs as clutter in our environment that will end up in the landfill.

Please vote for me for one final term as your county commissioner. Our future depends on wise leadership, and I can best provide that to our community. Thank you.

Editor’s note: The Aspen Times has offered each candidate a guest column of 600 words or less. Steve Child is the District 4 Pitkin County commissioner running for re-election.