Meet the candidates for middle Garfield County fire board | PostIndependent.com

Meet the candidates for middle Garfield County fire board

With fire board elections set for May 8, Colorado River Fire Protection District candidates are being invited to introduce themselves and take questions from voters at a series of meet-and-greet events this week.

The second of two such events is scheduled to take place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Silt Town Hall. Questions will be asked of the candidates by a moderator, and the event will be rebroadcast on Rifle community Channel 10.

Eight candidates are running for three seats on the middle Garfield County fire board. Five of the candidates are running for two four-year terms, and three of the candidates are running for one open two-year term.

Appetizers will be provided, according to Colorado River Fire Fighters Association's Landon Churchill, as the event will serve as an opportunity for the community to introduce themselves and ask questions of the fire board candidates.

Board elections will be held at the fire stations in Rifle, Silt and New Castle on May 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Churchill sent out questionnaires to each of the candidates, receiving responses from seven, as they answered questions like "why are you running" and "what is your vision for CRFR." More information about the candidates can be found on the Colorado River Fire Fighters Association Facebook page, including short video bios from each.

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Among the candidates running for the two seats up on four-year terms, incumbent Rex Rhule from Rifle said that he has been instrumental in helping the department grow over the years.

"I currently serve as president of the board of directors of CRFR and have been a member of this board since 2014," he responded to Churchill. "I have always been a member who encourages, promotes and expects staff to be proactive vs. reactive."

The other four-year incumbent Yvonne Long, also from Rifle, has served on the CRFR fire board for the past eight years.

"It has been my honor in being able to play a small part in watching this organization grow from a few volunteers to the over 100 paid and volunteer staff of today," said Long, who is also head of Garfield County Public Health. "I hope to be able to continue to help drive and bring this organization forward making CRFR the best fire district in the country."

Addy Marantino, vying for one of the four-year seats, said she met her partner in life and father of her children while volunteering with Rifle Fire in 2002 and is running to return to the fire service and to work for the community and family as she had done in years prior.

"In light of the recent legal action reported in the news I believe there needs to be an injection of new perspective on the board and within the department," Marantino responded in reference to a recent sexual harassment and gender discrimination claim in federal court by a female employee of the district.

Paige Haderlie of Silt, also running for the four-year seat, wants to contribute to her community.

"Strong departments such as CRFR ensure a safe community to call home," she said in the questionnaire. "If elected, I would love to see CRFR foster a positive work environment for both salaried and volunteer positions."

"CRFR is already a regional and state leader in training and technology," Alan Lambert responded to Churchill. "With foresight, leadership and collaboration it will only get better, and I would like to be a part of that. I bring no agenda, only a willingness to work for you."

Rifle resident Lambert, an incumbent vying for the open two-year seat, just joined the board in January and will have sat as a board member for only two meeting before the May election.

"As a board member, we should always keep in mind that we need to distill our collective ideas and work together to improve the organization we represent, see that the employees have the tools, pay and environment they need to accomplish their work while at the same time giving the taxpayers/membership the best possible service for the money," he told Churchill.

Lambert said he wants to continue to see CRFR become a regional and state leader in training and technology.

Scott Marsh, vying for the two-year seat, served on the Rifle Fire District for over 10 years and wants to return to work for the CRFR board because of the sense of community it will give him.

"I think CRFR is a great organization, and I am interested in helping with its future growth and success. I do feel that a change of blood on the board is vital at this point in the progression of the department," he said.

Rifle resident Sue Abernathy spent seven years as a firefighter in Craig and "loved every minute of it."

"My vision for CRFR is to join in the current visions and bring new insight to the group as a whole," she told Churchill. "I believe that new views can be helpful to existing ones."

Churchill did not receive a response from Carl Artaz of New Castle, vying for one of the two four-year seats, in time for this article.

4 year Candidates (2 seats up for election)

Paige Haderlie – Rifle

Carl Artaz – New Castle

Addy Marantino – Rifle

Yvonne Long (incumbent) – Rifle

Rex Rhule (incumbent) – Rifle

2 year Candidates (1 seat up for election)

Alan Lambert (incumbent) – Rifle

Scott Marsh – Rifle

Suzanne Abernathy – Rifle