Hague, Taylor vie for open Summit County CMC trustee seat | PostIndependent.com

Hague, Taylor vie for open Summit County CMC trustee seat

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The Nov. 1 mail-in ballot election includes contested races for four Colorado Mountain College board of trustees seats.

In District 2, incumbent Stan Orr of Glenwood Springs is being challenged by Kathy Goudy of Carbondale.

Running for the open District 4 seat are Richard Hague of Breckenridge and Robert Taylor of Summit County. Dick Bateman, the current Summit County trustee, is term-limited.

Running for the open District 5 seat are Ken Brenner and John Fielding, both of Steamboat Springs.

In District 6, incumbent Wes Duran of Twin Lakes is being challenged by Pat Chlouber of Leadville.

Board of trustees members must reside in the county that comprises their director district, but they are elected at-large by the voters to represent the entire college district.

Today we hear from Richard Hague and Robert Taylor of Summit County.

Richard “Rick” Hague is retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers in the banking and financial services management consulting practice where he worked world-wide for Fortune-500-sized banks, credit card and auto finance groups.

Robert Taylor is retired. He served as the Summit County manager and early in his career was a college-level instructor.

Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on the CMC board of trustees?

Hague: Dick Bateman, the current Summit County trustee, is term-limited and invited me to run for his seat. I have been involved for years in community education work in the history and heritage arena through my multi-year presidencies of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and Summit Historical Society. In these capacities, I developed and participated in community education programs, tours, lecture series, and similar programs to foster knowledge and understanding in our community.

I’m also vitally interested, in these difficult economic times, in providing our local community residents with practical, relevant training and education to develop job qualifications and skills. It is only through training and education that our local economies can grow and diversify in a positive and focused manner.

I have been continuously involved in giving back to my community as a volunteer in many capacities. For instance, I served as chair or vice-chair for about three years on the Breckenridge Economic Development Advisory Commission, which advised the town council on business development matters.

Additionally, I have been a multi-year volunteer for the U.S. Forest Service in the local visitor information unit, a guest services volunteer at the Breckenridge ski resort, and at the Backstage Theater. I see my participation as a CMC trustee as a very logical extension of my volunteer community involvement work.

Taylor: As a very longtime resident of Summit County, I was excited to see that the District 4 trustee position was opening up. I have been a fervent supporter of CMC since 1976, when my wife and I moved to the mountains, and I taught courses in both Leadville and Breckenridge.

Having just completed my doctorate from the University of Denver in English/writing, back then I taught English courses (I had earlier taught at San Francisco Community College, Metro State and the University of Denver). I taught a few other adjunct courses over the years, but the burden of my time was spent working for Summit County government, where I started as human services director, moved into an assistant manager position for a few years, and then served as Summit County manager for over a decade (the end of 1990 until October 2001).

Serving as a trustee for CMC will allow me, in my retirement, to serve both the local community which I have come to know and love and the college which has become such a vital force in the mountain communities.

Q: What’s your opinion about the college’s recent move toward four-year degrees?

Hague: I’m extremely supportive of this expanded program. It provides a flexible, cost-effective way for local young people and working adults to expand their qualifications in locally relevant knowledge areas such as business, environmental management, nursing and education. It facilitates “locals staying local” if they so choose rather than having to move to distant schools for higher education.

I feel very strongly about CMC offering programs that are relevant to the communities in which our campuses are located. For instance, hospitality and hotel management-focused business administration degrees and forest management-focused sustainability degrees would benefit both our local communities and our working residents tremendously by providing locally relevant, local training.

Taylor: I was overjoyed to see CMC move in the direction of awarding some B.A. degrees. I have met many people who have been deterred from continuing past their second year in higher education because of the difficulty and cost of traveling to the Front Range to pursue their four-year degrees. There are so many young people living in the mountains who will be grateful for the opportunity to work toward their career goals through Colorado Mountain College.

From recent conversations with college officials, I understand that CMC would like to add a bachelor’s degree in education to its degree offerings. I will work hard to make that happen.

Q: What does CMC need to do to keep college education affordable and attainable for district residents?

Hague: Considering CMC’s funding source restrictions, creative, outside-the-box thinking and initiatives are necessary to develop new funding sources for each campus. Use of campus facilities for non-CMC programs and projects – on a fee basis – is a no-brainer, as is expansion of fee-based , noncredit, continuing education programs.

One down-the-road idea for a hospitality-focused business administration program might be the operation of a CMC-owned hotel in which students would serve intern roles to receive real-life experience. This type of arrangement is used by several universities in North America. I have several other similar ideas for innovative supplementary funding.

Taylor: Having followed CMC closely year after year in my professional roles with Summit County government, I appreciated the fiscal prudence with which the college approached development in its various regions. Their deliberate building up of a hefty reserve fund has been much to their advantage when building new facilities, such as the successful campus facility at the gateway to Breckenridge.

The countless hours of work that so many people have dedicated to the creation of a successful foundation also continue to bear fruit. Finally, college officials have worked hard to develop partnerships with their local communities.

As an “independent” community college, CMC needs to continue its careful strategy to the development of new programs and facilities while continuing its commitment to strong local partnerships.

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