Letter: County commissioners? What do they do?
As soon as I began visiting with the community about my candidacy for county commissioner, I noticed a pattern. Almost invariably, after I introduce myself, I’m asked, “What does the county commissioner do?” Everyone has a general idea, but it gets a little fuzzy on the details. We’ve been fortunate as a community to have very good commissioners, and as such, maybe it’s fine for those details to be fuzzy.
At their core, county commissioners are full-time public servants. County commissioners work to represent the interests of the people of Eagle County at local, state and national levels. They work to advance the vision and mission of the county.
Commissioners accomplish their work through the development and implementation of policy. Developing policies involves setting high-level goals with long-range positive outcomes. These policies address important issues facing our people. Some of those issues are:
• Economic growth.
• The purchases of open space.
• Land use.
• Management of roads, transit and trails.
• Public-health needs.
• Social services.
• Early-childhood and aging services.
• Affordable housing.
• Protecting our natural environment.
The saying “All politics is local” stems from the understanding that local, county-level policies have the most direct impact on the lives of a county’s residents every day.
That requires a commissioner to look out for the interests of all people, not just those willing to show up at meetings to give input but also those who are working too hard to come to meetings. A great commissioner finds ways to engage people at all levels.
So what skills does the county commissioner need? This was the key question I asked myself over and over as I considered running for the office. What I heard matched my skills. A good commissioner is:
• A good listener who is able to hear and integrate opposing points of view.
• Able to work with people with different perspectives.
• Able to make difficult decisions.
• Skilled at using metrics and data to make decisions.
Engaging our community, setting its direction and influencing lives in a positive manner align well with my drive to serve others.
I have spent the past several months listening to people and asking about their concerns and priorities for improving Eagle County. From Red Cliff to Vail, El Jebel, Basalt and all the places between, I have reached out for information. Meeting so many members of our community has strengthened my resolve to be your county commissioner. I continue to be encouraged by, and appreciative of, the amazing people in our county, who collectively make this the best place to live in America.
As your county commissioner, my vision is to enhance our county’s ability to be a place where working families succeed, our children thrive, young adults find opportunity and seniors participate as vibrant members of the community.
My parents taught me that if you want to make things better or solve a problem, you have to step up and help with the work. That’s just what a county commissioner does.