Chamber announces council endorsements |

Chamber announces council endorsements

Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors
The seven candidates running for Rifle City Council field questions during the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram | |

Candidate endorsements

Annick Pruett:

Annick understands the business climate in the region. Of all the candidates who have not served on the council previously, Annick is the most prepared to be seated on the council. Additionally as a previous CEO of the chamber, she understands the concerns of the business community and would represent us well. She is focused on infrastructure issues and wants to ensure that deferred maintenance is attended to if she is elected.

Joe Elliot:

Joe has the best handle on the current issues at the city being that he is the only incumbent candidate. Our concern was with his answers regarding fluoridation of the city’s water since he is willing to let this go to a vote to the public. As an elected official he is elected to make the hard decisions and this is just dodging the questions when the council has been briefed on the benefits and risks of this action at a much higher level than the average voter. He did give good answers though and understands that the work that is being done to diversify the economic make-up of the city is moving in a positive direction. He specifically mentioned the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting as being the kind of thing that needs to be supported by the city. He has positive community involvement and grasp of issues concerning Rifle.

Brent Buss:

A former Naval officer and small business owner, Brent has also served on the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board (EAB) as its chair. He seems level-headed and has a good temperament for the council. It is good that he has community service through his position on the EAB.

+ Business owner and understands oil and gas issues.

- Not particularly strong on issues. His personality and past experiences should give him the discipline to come up to speed quickly.

Ed Green:

Ed has the knowledge of governmental operations. He did not mention the business climate in his discussions, but has a very firm understanding on budgeting. He is focused on “building wealth” through the budgeting process. He has a strong understanding on the issues and working with community partnerships. He understands business and that has been demonstrated by his work at the county where one of the major accomplishments under his tenure was rebuilding the airport which is now home to the Center for Excellence.

Theresa Hamilton:

Theresa gave good, solid answers during the meet the candidates election forum. She is informed of various issues affecting our community from having sat on the chamber’s government affairs committee and from her work at the Garfield Re-2 School District. She knows the economic climate of the area very well. Her answers about prioritizing the city’s “needs versus wants” gave her favorable responses. She is strong on community involvement and collaboration.

+ Positives are community outreach and understanding the issues.

- May be a little weak on understanding the business climate but collaborations with the chamber and the city should overcome that objection.

Dana Wood:

We appreciate her involvement in the community. She is active in the Farmers’ Market, Boomtown Players, and an active volunteer at the Rifle Animal Shelter, she also serves on the Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission. Her work at LiveWell has also been a benefit to the community and has helped her to develop many strong community relationships. However, she lacks the business experience we were looking for and she seems to want to put recreation and tourism at the forefront of economic development; which is not the strongest economic driver.

+ Very involved in Rifle — possibly the most involved candidate at a community level.

- Lacks business experience and issues facing the city outside of the groups she is involved with.

Aaron Flesch:

Aaron is an earnest and honest businessman who would govern with the best of intentions. He seems to have a genuine desire to serve the community. He mentioned that he believes is strengths are “diagnosing and fixing problems” which is to believe was a reference to his job as an HVAC professional. However, we think that his opposition to the water treatment facility shows inexperience and a willingness to listen to only one side of an argument about a critical issue. He also seems to be the only candidate who didn’t reference some form of community involvement.

The Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce is an organization dedicated to promoting regional economic growth. Before Sept. 8, the city of Rifle will cast their votes for five candidates in the municipal election. First let us start by saying that we at the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce believe that the voters of Rifle have a difficult decision to be made this election. There are seven outstanding candidates, all who have the best interest of Rifle in mind.

They all have a strong desire to serve their community and have a stake in improving the economy vitality in Rifle. As a chamber, we are looking for dedicated, business-minded individuals whose best interest is the overall success and future of the community and whose experiences expressed a strong emphasis following this criteria: Business experience and understanding of the current business climate; community involvement and their willingness and experience in working with community partners; understanding of issues important to Rifle and demonstrated a grasp of the issues presented in the questions forum.

With this in mind, we believe that there is not one wrong candidate in this election. As vice-chairman of the chamber board of directors Aron Diaz said at the meet the candidates election forum Aug. 18, “Rifle is very blessed to have such high quality candidates willing to serve.” However, some candidates have stronger qualities than others.

Overall we were looking for a candidate who is committed to making sure we have a competitive economic climate with better opportunities and quality of life for all Rifle residents. The Rifle Area Chamber board of directors strongly believes these candidates (in the order presented) will best represent the chamber’s bipartisan commitment to ensuring a strong, pro-business environment that fosters economic growth and job creation well into the future.

1. Annick Pruett

2. Joe Elliott

3. Brent Buss

4. Ed Green / Theresa Hamilton / Dana Wood

5. Aaron Flesch

We wish all candidates the best in their future endeavors and hope that the citizens of Rifle are involved in their community and take advantage of the opportunity to vote in this election.

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