Samson versus Carter for District 3 commissioner | PostIndependent.com
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Samson versus Carter for District 3 commissioner

This race pits Republican Mike Samson against Steve Carter. Both men are running to replace outgoing Commissioner Larry McCown, who decided not to run for re-election. Every voter in the county will be able to decide who is the best choice to succeed McCown.

Name: Mike Samson

Age: 54



Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Educator



Education: Received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in political science and then a master’s degree from Western State College in history.

What are the top three issues facing the county?

1) Civility in government, working together

2) Natural gas Industry, exploration and production and growth thereof

3) Transportation

Energy companies are expected to drill about 1,000 new wells each year in the county until 2015, according to a recent report. How must the county cope with that development?

The county must continue and perhaps even enlarge the oversight that it has concerning the oil and gas industry. Many of the new wells will be built upon already existing pads, but new pipelines will need to be constructed.

It is imperative that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s new rules and regulations be equitable and enforceable, because it is the state agency that approves all well permits, as well as rules and regulations thereof. The question of impact fees may need to be addressed after the new COGCC rules are adopted. Health and safety of our county residents will be one of my paramount concerns.

What is your view on affordable housing in the county? Does the county need higher affordable housing requirements for any new development?

The county raised the affordable housing requirements from 10 percent to 15 percent. This was good. I applaud the efforts of the five entities ” county, city, hospital, school and fire ” working together for solutions to affordable housing in the Rifle area. The new Rimrock 1,500-unit project, coupled with energy companies participation, is a great model for all of us in the county to use and improve upon.

My proposal of the Garfield County Forum would be an excellent start in order to have municipalities and other districts working together to find viable solutions to the housing concerns that we face.

With the economy in stress, many seniors on fixed incomes in the area may be facing large challenges. What should the county do to assist them?

The seniors in our county hold a special place in my heart, and we must assure the stability of funding for those senior programs. Close cooperation with the cities to insure such is essential. If elected, I will strive to do my best in making sure that the seniors have a strong voice in all programs that the county has in place or may create to assist them in having a good quality of life.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Garfield County?

Garfield County is presently funding RFTA with over $700,000. For future expansion, I can see that amount increasing. Several years ago an election was held asking the citizens of this County if they wanted to join RFTA. It is my understanding that proposal was defeated.

I understand times have changed, and therefore, I can see the wisdom of having a new election concerning this question, but with that being said, I want the voters to understand all the implications associated with such a move. If a majority of the voters wish us as a county to join, then so be it.

Has the Garfield County commission made a decision this year that you would like to see rejected or overturned?

I’m going to answer this question in more general terms than being specific. I was able to attend the county commission meetings on Mondays through the months of June, July, and part of August. One thing that caught my attention was the small amount of citizen participation. I know that in many ways a public body can’t be wide open, but I feel that private citizens need to be encouraged to have their voices heard within those types of proceedings. Therefore, I would encourage the citizens to attend and participate as much as legally possible.

What is your vision for future growth and development in the County? Where should it be limited? Where should it be encouraged?

The county’s Comprehensive Master Plan and Land Use Code are paramount instruments in determining the growth within our county.

Future growth should be encouraged to happen in and around the existing municipalities where the infrastructure will be easier to use or build upon.

It is imperative that the cities and the county work closely together for this end. I believe the Garfield Community Forum would be a good avenue for all the communities to sit down together for the benefit of the entire county. I want all the communities input concerning growth close to their boundaries.

What are the most significant issues, except for energy development and affordable housing, that this county faces. How would you propose solving them?

The federal and state governments are in trouble. We need to be fiscally stable. The state has indicated that they may cut 10 percent of (its) budget. That will affect us on the county level in many areas such as senior programs, health department, and social services.

We must be prudent and wise in how county revenues are spent because of these outside forces which we have no control over.

Civility in government – forging a working relationship of respect and commitment between communities, business, and the county. Working together in a united front will help all the residents of this great county.

Why should the county voters elect you as a county commissioner?

From the start, I have said that we need greater civility and cooperation within our county. I sincerely believe that because of my background I could play a part in doing so.

I am a life-long resident of this great county. I know the people and I know the land. I have a strong desire to work diligently and steadfast in making sure that Garfield County is governed properly, wisely, and efficiently.

If elected, I will feel it a great honor and responsibility to listen to all and use good common sense and judgment in making decisions that affect us all.

Name: Steve Carter

Age: 63

Party affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: Retired judge, attorney

Education: B.S. in journalism and J.D. in law from the University of Colorado.

What are the top three issues facing the county?

1) Growth management

2) Transportation: roads repair and improvement, and public transportation

3) Affordable housing

Energy companies are expected to drill about 1,000 new wells each year in the county until 2015, according to a recent report. How must the county cope with that development?

The county must ask the energy companies to provide us with more information about their plans earlier on in the process, and we should explore with other counties the fair and appropriate means to minimize the impacts from gas development to adjoining property and surface property owners.

What is your view on affordable housing in the county? Does the county need higher affordable housing requirements for any new development?

Each city has differing needs, and the county must work with the cities and towns, and with other government entities and private employers to encourage affordable housing so that those who work here, live here and can contribute to the communities. The current requirements are one, but only one, approach that will work.

With the economy in stress, many seniors on fixed incomes in the area may be facing large challenges. What should the county do to assist them?

Fund the housing authority at a higher level, and expand the senior programs (nutrition and transportation, among others), which were recently taken over from Colorado Mountain College. Encourage Glenwood Springs to join the county and other towns in supporting this worthwhile program.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Garfield County?

Until the county joins RFTA, we won’t get a seat on their board and can’t influence policy. All we do now is throw money at the problem without working to solve it. It’s shameful that two commissioners refused to permit the voters to decide whether to join RFTA this election. We need to encourage public transportation, not only from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, but from Eagle to Grand Junction. This can only be done if the county has a seat on the RFTA board.

Has the Garfield County commission made a decision this year that would like to see rejected or overturned?

Yes, the decision to permit mini-man camps as a matter of right on private property without the express permission of the surface owner.

What is your vision for future growth and development in the county? Where should it be limited? Where should it be encouraged?

Commercial and industrial growth should be channeled to the existing towns and municipalities, and the county should allow high-density development only in existing municipalities or require the developer to incorporate.

What are the most significant issues, except for energy development and affordable housing, that this county faces? How would you propose solving them?

The other issues that concern the voters are: 1) The deterioration of the county road system, which can only be solved with money by funding improvements from tax revenue and imposing an impact fee on new development and wells.

2) Preservation of the scenic areas and the quality of the air and the water which is the reason we love to live here. These issues require careful monitoring and prudent regulation, and amendments to the land use code that recognizes the value of criteria other than development.

3) The lack of dialogue and cooperation between the county and the cities. The boards of each town and the commissioners need to meet in regular meetings at least once per quarter, not merely in the six months before elections.

Why should the county voters elect you as a county commissioner?

Thirty-two years of experience as the Garfield County judge in Rifle, and my whole professional career representing municipalities and individuals have given me the knowledge, skill and ability to listen to all sides of an issue and to make fair decisions for the benefit of everyone, not just one industry or group.


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