Houpt brings important perspective to commission board | PostIndependent.com

Houpt brings important perspective to commission board

In a race containing few demarcations between the candidates on the issues, the choice in this fall’s Garfield County commissioner race is clear. Trési Houpt should be re-elected to the job she first took on four years ago.The Democrat is running against Republican Steve Reynolds. He has offered thoughtful and moderate views on matters such as energy development, managing population growth, providing for affordable housing, dealing with gravel pits, and improving relations with municipalities.But in taking the positions he has, Reynolds has left little daylight between himself and Houpt on the issues. As a result, he’s sought to differentiate himself in terms of style, saying he would take a different approach to working with fellow commissioners John Martin and Larry McCown than Houpt does. Reynolds believes his interpersonal skills lend themselves to achieving compromise with others, whereas Houpt has been a polarizing voice who, as a result, has been less able to influence the decisions commissioners make.There’s no doubt Houpt sometimes has found herself to be a voice crying in the wilderness on the commission. But she’s made an increasing effort in recent years to reason in a nonconfrontational manner with Republicans Martin and McCown. And one doesn’t have to look hard to find times when she has been part of the majority vote, as occurred last week when she and Martin committed to a substantial increase in funding for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, with McCown voting “no.”Conflict is just part of the process in politics and can’t be avoided to some degree if Houpt is doing the job she believes she was elected to do. That is to serve as a progressive voice on the commission, and it’s a job as important as the one McCown carries out in representing a more conservative constituency within the county.Houpt has distinguished herself on many fronts during her first term. She has pushed the county to be responsive to concerns of residents affected by natural gas development and has been an ardent voice for affordable housing, mass transportation, planning for gravel pit development, and preserving open space and providing trails.Houpt is campaigning with the message that “the work’s not done.” She has done much for county residents in her first term and could do much more if re-elected. She brings experience and a needed balance to the county commission. She deserves to be returned to office and allowed to continue to bring a different perspective to how the county should be run and what its future should be.

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