Unaffiliated candidate Brian Bark makes ballot in GarCo Commissioner District 2 race
A three-way race is shaping up for one of the two Garfield County commissioner seats up for election in November.
Brian Bark of New Castle, who is unaffiliated, has been cleared by Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico after submitting sufficient petition signatures to appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
He will be up against six-term incumbent Republican John Martin of Glenwood Springs and Democrat Katrina Byars, also of Glenwood, who earned her party’s nomination in the spring to challenge for the District 2 commissioner seat.
Bark notes on his campaign Facebook page that he is a stalwart non-partisan.
“Many people are tired of the two-party monopoly, if you will. You’re tired of the current parties attacking each other at all levels of government and not doing the jobs they were elected to do,” he writes.
“We currently have three Republican commissioners and a large portion of Garfield County citizens feel as though their voices are not being heard. Many voters are looking for a candidate that will represent the people and not a political party.”
A politician he is not, Bark continues.
“I’m not running against or in opposition to anyone or any party,” he said. “I am running for the people of Garfield County.”
Bark elaborated in an interview with the Post Independent on Thursday that he has no particular political ideologies.
“I don’t represent a political party,” he said. “The way I look at it, there’s a job opening in November, the county is hiring a county commissioner and the voting public is the hiring committee. In that sense, the voters look at everybody’s qualifications and decide who can best represent them.”
Bark said he has over 40 years of experience in building and facilities maintenance and management, specializing in HVAC systems and having worked for Garfield County school districts and the Grand River Hospital District.
“I’m good with money, both in the public and private sector,” he said. “I think it is important for people to know what their county government is doing and where their money is being spent.”
To get on the ballot, Bark had to navigate the state’s new temporary petition timeline rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about in-person petition signature gathering during the height of the outbreak.
Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order in the spring that changed the date when candidates not being certified by the Colorado Secretary of State could start circulating petitions, from May 14 to June 1, and the date for turning in the petitions from July 9 to July 27.
Bark said he needed 506 valid signatures and turned in 622, of which 514 were determined by Alberico’s office to be valid.
While gathering signatures, Bark said he talked to more than 2,000 people in Garfield County.
“I’ve been telling everybody, you need to get involved in your local government and find out what they are spending your tax dollars on, to hold them accountable and don’t just sit there and complain about it,” Bark said.
The District 2 commissioner seat is one of two seats on the Board of County Commissioners up for election in the Nov. 3 general election, which is being conducted by mail ballot. Incumbent Republican Mike Samson is running for reelection to the District 3 seat against Democratic challenger Leslie Robinson. Both are from Rifle.
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The three incumbents are declared, and challengers have until Jan. 25 to gather nominating signatures to run for Glenwood Springs City Council April 6.