County treasurer faces Republican challenger in ’06 election |

County treasurer faces Republican challenger in ’06 election

Longtime Garfield County Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain will face a Republican challenger this year.Meanwhile, several other county officeholders plan to join Chamberlain in seeking re-election.Gala Ivie, a Republican who lives south of Silt, has announced that she will be running for treasurer.Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, Assessor Shannon Hurst and Coroner Trey Holt all say they plan to run for another term of office. All are Republicans.County commissioner Trési Houpt, a Democrat and the only commissioner whose term of office ends this year, could not be reached for comment Monday. However, she plans to run again, said Leslie Robinson, a local Democratic activist.Ivie has 14 years of experience working in treasurer’s offices. She now is employed with Eagle County’s office.Chamberlain, a Democrat, was elected treasurer in 1986.Ivie is a Meeker native, and moved to McCoy in 1981, and to the Silt area in 1999. She graduated from Colorado Mountain College, has a degree in early childhood education and owned a nursery school in McCoy in the mid-1980s.She worked in the Rio Blanco County Treasurer’s Office from 1974-80, and the Eagle County office from 1987-89. She rejoined the office in 1999.She also has worked as a veterinary office manager and a bank teller.She said she is familiar with the computer system that is used for billing and collecting taxes in Garfield County and understands the county’s cash flow and investment needs.”I just think it’s time for some fresh ideas, some excellent customer service, and just time for a change,” she said.Chamberlain believes her longevity matters.”There’s something to be gained by having the history that my office provides,” she said.She said there has been a lot of turnover in the county administration and accounting offices.”By my office being so constant, we have really benefited the county in that way,” she said.She said she also has worked to keep a small staff, for the sake of taxpayers.Robinson said she thinks Chamberlain serves as a good budgetary check and balance to the county commission, which has a Republican majority.Robinson said Democrats are recruiting possible candidates for the assessor and sheriff offices. Both require people with special backgrounds, “so it’s not a simple task to find somebody to run in those positions,” she said.Hurst has worked in the assessor’s office for more than two decades. She was appointed assessor in 2001 after Steve Rippy resigned from the job to become New Castle town manager. She ran unopposed in 2002.Vallario defeated two-term Sheriff Tom Dalessandri in 2002.He said running again wasn’t a hard decision for him.”I’ve got to tell you, my job, I’ve just been soaring, it’s just been so much fun,” he said.Vallario said he hopes a majority of county residents are happy with the job he’s doing and that he’ll run unopposed. In recent decades, however, the county has seen some heated races for sheriff.”If we have a race, that’s politics and we’ll work as hard as we can and race as hard as we can and see what happens in November,” he said.Some of his current goals as sheriff include introducing a program to use dogs for patrol, tracking and drug sniffing, and continuing to increase deputy numbers to meet the needs of a growing county.He said he’s proud of his office’s improved working relationships with local police departments. He also is encouraged by initial discussions between him and recently elected District Attorney Martin Beeson. Vallario had been outspoken in his support of prior DA Colleen Truden, who was ousted in a recall election.”She’s out, he’s in and the two institutions (the DA and sheriff offices) have to continue to work together. We can’t be holding grudges and being angry,” Vallario said.He said he appreciates the efforts Beeson has made to meet with local law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s office.Holt, who owns funeral homes in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, will be running for his fourth term as coroner. He ran unopposed four years ago.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext.

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