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Putting the interests of the citizens first, always

Stephen BershenyiGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Stephen Bershenyi
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Fellow citizens of Garfield County,My name is Stephen Bershenyi, and I am a candidate for Garfield County Commissioner in District 2. I am a native of Garfield County, raised in a family that ranched on Four Mile Creek. My wife, Jo, and I reside in Glenwood Springs. I am an artist-blacksmith, and Jo is a craniosacral therapy practitioner and healing arts teacher.I made the decision to run for county commissioner because Garfield County is at a decisive moment in its history. We are nearing the end of the first quarter of natural gas activity that began in 2001 and is projected to end in 2035. We are continuing to experience growth that is expected to bring between 50,000 and 100,000 new residents to Garfield County in about the same time frame. How we as a county approach these issues is very important for the future of Garfield County.Natural gas development has brought good jobs to Garfield County. I welcome those jobs and the people who do them, many of whom will decide to live here and raise their families. With that welcome comes a need. That need is to elect a county commissioner whose sole interest is to put the interests of you, the citizens, first always. I recognize that we need the energy being produced in our county. I do not accept the idea that the western half of Garfield County has to be a national sacrifice zone to achieve that goal. The gas and oil companies operating in Garfield County are not my friend, not my enemy, and not my business partner. They are an industry operating in the county that if elected, I will be called upon to oversee on behalf of you the citizens. My only loyalty is to you, the citizens. I will always act in your best interest as you inform me of that interest. I will forge a new relationship with the gas industry that clearly spells out for them what our expectations are. Expectations like using highest and best industry practices that they have proven they can do in other oil-and-gas-rich areas of our nation. We can also reasonably expect them to use the new directional drilling equipment in our county, phasing out 1950’s technology. Further we should expect them to pay their share of infrastructure maintenance as a cost of doing business, just as all other businesses in our county are called upon to do. When industry meets our expectations, we all win. The county will, with diligent oversight, be able to emerge from the end of energy development with air that is still clear and safe to breathe, with pure and adequate water supplies, and with a landscape that has suffered fewer scars and has been properly reclaimed.Growth is our other big issue. It is complex and brings with it the need to examine how we grow and where we grow. It will require county leaders who are able to face the reality that hard decisions will have to be made. The discussion between the county and the municipalities is a critical part of this equation. I will undertake this discussion in earnest immediately if elected. I will work to have Garfield County provide the umbrella under which the six mayors in the county can come together to work on all the growth issues that we face together. Issues like deciding where growth should occur close to existing infrastructure to meet both the county’s and the municipality’s plans for the future. We must decide together how to incorporate transit-oriented features into each development. We must plan with a long view to a future in which transportation solutions will include mass transit as a more fundamental part of our planning. Another large issue is affordable housing, how much should be built, and where it should be built.Preserving significant amounts of our precious open space to enhance and protect our quality of life is another important goal of a comprehensive approach to growth.As we stand at this decisive moment in our county’s history, I am ready to tackle the complex problems that we face. I bring honesty, energy and the understanding of the hard work ahead. I pledge to you, the citizens of Garfield County, that I will always remember you are my boss, and that I owe my entire loyalty to you. You will be the only special interest group that I will serve. I will represent all of you, and I will welcome all of you into the discussions that we need to have in order to fashion sound long-term solutions to our challenges.I am Stephen Bershenyi, and I ask for your vote on Nov. 4 to be your new county commissioner in District 2. It will be the greatest privilege and the most solemn obligation of my career. I eagerly look forward to doing the work that you the citizens of Garfield County help direct me to do.Stephen Bershenyi, D-Glenwood Springs, is running for Garfield County Commissioner in District 2.


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