McCown wants to continue making a difference
Larry McCown is very clear on why he chose to run for county commissioner eight years ago, and why he’s running this year to continue in the job.”I want to make a difference,” he said, “and I’ve always felt that you shouldn’t complain if you’re not willing to do something about it.” McCown believes his background in law enforcement, heavy road construction and running businesses – including building and operating Rifle’s Fireside Lanes bowling alley – has prepared him for his position as a Garfield County commissioner.”The diversity of my background encompasses the things I deal with as a commissioner,” he said. After a career as a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer, McCown worked with Daniel Construction building the Unocal oil shale facility near Parachute. He also worked as a superintendent for Flatiron Structures on highway projects in Glenwood Canyon, DeBeque Canyon and around Denver. But Denver didn’t suit him.”I’m not a metropolitan guy, and I have no aspirations to become one,” he said.The Western Slope was much more appealing to McCown. “It’s what made me decide to stay in 1981,” he said. “I decided to stay in Colorado not because of a job but because of the quality of life.”Becoming better neighborsGarfield County commissioners face some tough issues, such as oil and gas industry impacts on residents. “I truly feel sorry for those people that have been adversely impacted by the gas industry,” he said. “They’re victims of the laws and statutes. And we aren’t allowed to do anything about it, not anything that will hold up. It’s frustrating.” The frustration stems from surface and mineral rights that have been in place for more than 100 years.McCown explained the first landowner had 100 percent surface and mineral rights, then broke those down into fractions, often between family members. Years of handing down and selling those rights have created a quagmire of fractionalized ownerships.In the meantime, McCown said he’s working with the industry to become better neighbors.”Hey, folks, the gas industry is going to be here for a while,” he said, though he said he thinks people need to think beyond the immediate activities of drilling and development. “Natural gas is a price-driven industry, and demands indicate those prices aren’t going down,” he said. “Plus it’s the preferred energy to heat our homes and businesses.”McCown said it’s important to remember that the testing, drilling processes, trucks and workers aren’t going to be around forever. “After the wells are in place, the impacts are going to be much less,” he said. “There will be a small facility at a wellhead which will receive the occasional visit.”‘Experience and leadership’McCown believes Garfield County is better off today than it was 1996, when voters first elected him county commissioner, and again in 2000.”We’ve maintained a positive atmosphere here,” he said.But that doesn’t mean that citizens always agree with his decisions.”In eight years, you create baggage,” McCown said.McCown said key to being an effective commissioner is the ability to put aside emotion and focus on what is in the best interest for all the county’s citizens. “You have to put aside that emotion as you listen,” he said of decision-making on the commissioner level. “You have to listen to the facts for as long as it takes.” McCown said he’s developed the experience that’s given him a working knowledge of the county commissioner’s job. “At eight years, I haven’t outlived my usefulness,” he said. “I have experience and leadership.” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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