Meet the candidates for Rifle City Council | PostIndependent.com
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Meet the candidates for Rifle City Council

Joe Elliott
Staff Photo |

Editors note: The following names appear in the same order as they will appear on the ballot.

Joe Eliott

Age: 50

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

I have been a resident of Rifle and Garfield county my entire life.

What do you do for a living?

I am in my 18th year working for Colorado Mountain College as a construction manager for college wide facilities. Much of my work involves budgets and cost estimating, scheduling projects, coordinating contractors and working through the state inspection and permitting process.

Do you have family members living in the area?

My parents Gloria and Jack Pat live just outside of Rifle.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

My first involvement with the city of Rifle was as a Planning and Zoning commissioner. A friend shamed me into applying for the position by saying I had construction and budget experience, I had lived here my entire life and I was being a slug not to step up and help out. On the Planning Commission I began to respect the work of our city staff and my fellow commissioners and it was good to help improve a community I have spent my entire life in.

I would like to remain as a city councilor to see completion (of) the infrastructure projects that the current council and staff have put in place. The main projects being our water tanks and new treatment plant as well as the need to begin improvement and long term maintenance of our streets. I see these projects as our highest priority. A new recreation center would be great, however, at this fiscal point in the city’s needs it should sit as a project we continue to explore.

I would like to pursue upgrading and expansion of current recreational facilities that the city has in place. A good example of this is our swimming pool. Our pool has served kids , families and swim lessons for many summers and is long over due for upgrading and expansion. I would like to see better information and communication between the city and the community. Perhaps we increase community surveys from five years to once a year for quicker feedback. Lastly we live in a great area with good people. I feel safe and grounded in Rifle. I would like to thank the residents that turned in the last community survey, that information helps staff and city council know what is important to you and how we should proceed. Go Rifle.

Annick Pruett

Age: 53

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

I have lived in Rifle for 16 years.

What do you do for a living?

I began my career in media sales and stayed in that field for close to 20 years. In 2007, I made a career change and became the president and CEO of the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce. While at the chamber, our accomplishments included working with the city and the construction community to develop a robust local’s preference policy. We collaborated with several local organizations to save the Rifle Correctional Facility when the state threatened to shut it down in 2009 in the midst of our economic downturn and the pull back of the oil and gas industry.

In 2011, I was offered an opportunity to join Grand River Health as their community relations director. I currently serve on the CMC Advisory Board, the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation board and was the recipient of the Oran Harmon Person of the Year award by the Rifle Chamber for 2014.

Do you have family members living in the area?

My husband David, and his parents (Mike and Irene) have been in Rifle since the mid ‘70s and own businesses here. We have two children, Dalton, 15 and Makenna, 16, and two yellow labs, Boomer and Timber.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

I have wanted to serve on city council since I left the chamber four years ago, but the timing wasn’t right for my family and I. I thought this would be a good time to run as many veteran members of council are not re-running. I am familiar with the current and past challenges facing the city. I understand the needs and frustrations of the business community and our residents. I also see what is possible. I enjoy the responsibility that comes with being a leader. I can bring balance to the council. As a city, we need to focus on the basics and address the needs of our aging infrastructure, while not abandoning the need to find ways to provide amenities that attract people to live here and businesses to prosper here.

I enjoy collaborating with people, building relationships,and working with teams to find solutions to challenges and create new opportunities.

I look forward to hearing from the community and what they would like to see from their future council members. What issues do they face? What keeps them up at night?

Aaron Flesch

Age: 43

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

I … moved to Rifle from Yuma, Arizona on Dec. 17, 1999. My brother and I were here in October of 1999 to help our sister through a difficult time and it was nearly impossible for me to return to the Southwest after witnessing the Rocky Mountains in the fall. It only took a couple of months for me to sell my place in Arizona, load my things into a U-Haul truck and leave the desert behind me.

What do you do for a living ?

I worked at various heating and cooling companies in the valley until starting Aaron’s Heating and Cooling in the fall of 2006. Owning my own business has been a huge blessing and I want to take a second to thank anyone reading this who has used my company. I would like to pass a special thanks to one client, a recently departed Dirk Myers. His straightforward approach and “no problem” attitude made him one of my favorite people to work with and eventually, a good friend. Brother, you will be missed.

Do you have family members living in the area?

I’ve also been blessed with a beautiful wife, Rebecca, and two wonderful daughters, Ily and Charlie, 10 and 6 respectively. These ladies are my support system and I cannot imagine life without them. Additional family in the area includes my sister and brother in law, Jeannie and Paul Schroeder who you may know from Trends Clothing Co. Together we were able convince my brother Arby Flesch, and his wife Pauline to also make the exodus from Arizona and they now live in Silt. I am thankful to have these family members near.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

Over the past few years I have become a huge fan of history, American history mostly. The struggle Americans endured to break away from the tyranny of the British is one of my favorite stories. The result of this struggle has left subsequent generations with incredible freedom. I want to be involved in defending this freedom and that is the main reason for running for Rifle city council. I think the current council has been doing a sound job at keeping the city running smoothly. It is refreshing, in slow economic times, to see our city budget accordingly rather than follow the federal lead of spending our way to prosperity. Because of this approach Rifle is in sound shape. There are some important infrastructure projects to oversee but I think things are going fairly well. I look forward to giving back to this community and serving its best interests.

Ed Green

Age: 66

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

I am a Colorado native, born and raised in Englewood and a graduate of Englewood High. I also attended the University of Colorado for my bachelor of science in business and received my master of business administration from Colorado State University. Linda and I came to Rifle in 1998, the year in which I became the Garfield County Manager. Although we did move to North Palm Beach for a few years, we kept our home in Rifle, knowing we would eventually want to return here to retire.

What do you do for a living?

I am retired. However, before my retirement, I had an eclectic career that spanned 43 years. After the Army, my first professional job was with the Atomic Energy Commission and its successor, the Department of Energy at Rocky Flats. I held a number of positions there over a 16 year period as procurement officer, budget analyst, contract negotiator, chief, contracts section, and program analyst. From there, I became materiel manager for Hughes Aircraft in their space and communications division. Following that, I was the director of the procurement division for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. From there, I became contracts director and project vice president of a 2,300 person environmental remediation project for Fluor Corporation (the largest engineering and construction company in the world). In 1998, I became county manager for Garfield County and I rounded out my career as a city manager for North Palm Beach, Florida.

Do you have family members living in the area?

Our grand-daughter, Larissa, lives with us. She works at City Market and attends Colorado Mountain College. Our grand-daughter, Lena lives with her husband Ben and our great grand-son Alexander in Rifle. We have a nephew, David Ockers, who is a construction superintendent in Aspen and lives in the Iron Bridge subdivision south of Glenwood. My sister Connie and her family live in Grand Junction. The rest of our family including our son Eric and his daughters, Kristin and Megan, our daughter Kathy and her son Dylan, and our daughter Jodee, all live in the northern suburbs of Denver.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

I was approached by councilman Jay Miller to consider running for council. He noted that there were going to be a number of positions open this election period and there was a need for someone with directly related local government experience to fill one of those positions. I do have extensive experience in local government as the county manager for Garfield County and as a city manager for North Palm Beach, Florida; a community approximately twice the size of Rifle. In addition, I have over a quarter century of experience as a senior level manager in both private industry and local government and a total of 43 years of professional experience in a variety of disciplines including budgeting and finance, strategic planning, contracting and logistics, property management, human resources, vehicle and equipment management, utilities, roads, and drainage management, and both project and program management. I believe this background, has provided me with the knowledge and experience necessary to make good decisions for the city and the citizens of Rifle. I run for one reason: to be of service to my community.

Theresa Hamilton

Age: 46

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

I’ve lived in Rifle off and on since 1988, and permanently since 1994.

What do you do for a living?

I work for the Garfield Re-2 school district as the director of districtwide services. I primarily handle communications responsibilities and grant writing. Prior to working for Garfield Re-2 I was the sports editor and reporter for The Citizen Telegram and the multi-media developer for Morris Communications and the Glenwood Post.

Do you have family members living in the area?

My father, Barry, lives in Rifle. My brother, Sam, lives in Grand Junction, and my 10-year-old (almost 11) niece lives in Silt.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

I am running for city council because of a deep seeded belief of giving back. I live and work in Rifle and approach this venture without a specific agenda, but rather in the spirit of learning and growing with a community that has given me so much support, and opportunity.

When my family moved here in 1988, one of the first places I chose to get involved was with the youth through coaching and umpiring softball and baseball. I am a past chair of the local Relay For Life, and currently serve on the LiveWell Garfield County Steering Committee.

I’ve seen a lot of changes as a Rifle resident, but what is interesting to me is that we continue to talk about the same large themes — diversity in economy, investment in infrastructure, and maintaining quality of life. These are ever present, always changing issues before city government. There is a delicate balance to strike in responsibly maintaining existing infrastructure and providing the infrastructure and amenities that support a community to grow and thrive. I am a big-picture thinker that likes data to support assertions, and a collaborator. I believe those skills can help guide Rifle in the future.

I have a passion for our youth, especially youth recreation, and our schools. There can be no greater investment than in our children, and developing our future doctors, inventors, and leaders.

The people, however, have remained the same in Rifle. The city continues to be a great place to call home, and the people of Rifle, many of which I am fortunate to call friends, are exceptional mothers, fathers, policemen, nurses, business people, teachers and cooks. My greatest hope is that I can be a voice for the people of Rifle and help guide our community in the future.

Brent Buss

Age: 52

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

Six years, however I lived just outside Rifle in the county (Rifle Village South) from 1994 to 2009.

What do you do for a living?

Owner Thrifty Thrills Thrift Stores in Rifle and Glenwood Springs; Eastern Illinois University 1981-1985 (B.S. in industrial technology); naval flight officer from 1986-1991 (Norfolk, Virginia); stock broker with Dain Bosworth Inc. Rapid City, South Dakota 1992-1994; City Market manger 1996-2008 (Glenwood Springs); assistant and store manager for Village Market and Clarks Market (Edwards, Snowmass, Basalt and Battlement Mesa) 2008-2011.

Do you have family members living in the area?

Married to Tamara M. Degler (for) 26 years. She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (and) worked for nurse family partnership as nurse supervisor until last year, (and) now is co-owner and runs our Rifle thrift store. Three children (Silas 25, Luke 22 and Morgan 19). Graduated from 12 years of Rifle school each. All currently living in California.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

As a business owner in the city, I am encouraged by the growth of our city. I would like to help its continued growth and responsible development. I feel a detailed economic plan is needed and would like to help develop this with the other members of the council to promote jobs in our area while maintaining the small town atmosphere and environment we all currently enjoy.

Dana Wood

Age: 31

How many years have you lived in Rifle?

Four years.

What do you do for a living?

I manage the LiveWell program for Garfield County Public Health. This is a county-wide program that focuses on reducing and preventing obesity/obesity related chronic diseases through the promotion of healthy eating and active living. Previously, I worked for Rocky Mountain PBS in Grand Junction, the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation (Main Street program manager), and Keystone Symposia in Silverthorne (an international biomedical/life science conference organization).

Do you have family members living in the area?

I don’t have immediate family in the area, but there are members of this community that I consider my family.

Why are you running for council and what issues do you hope to address if elected?

I love where I live, I love my community, and since moving here in 2011, I have been committed to taking action in order to move Rifle toward becoming an even greater place to live, work and play. I am an active volunteer for the Rifle Animal Shelter, where I help with fundraising and events. I serve as a board member for the Rifle Farmers Market and I sit on the city of Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission, where I have the privilege of serving my community by working with city staff, citizens and elected officials.

As a Rifle city councilor, I would hope to increase communication between the city and the citizens of Rifle in an effort to improve upon transparency and collaboration. By seeking public input and implementing community needs, I believe that the City will be more efficient and effective. I would focus on improving infrastructure to increase safety and community wellness. There are several neighborhoods, parks and trails that are incomplete or have been forgotten; by putting more resources into these projects, the community will have more sufficient amenities and become an attractive place to live and do business. A financially sound municipality is vital to the community. I would work with other councilors and staff to build up reserve funds as a source for future capital expenditures and to mitigate risk. I would like to take advantage of the many recreational features in the community to boost economic development through sales tax and tourism. By partnering with other local organizations and focusing on existing assets, Rifle can start to build a more stable economy.

Ultimately, I am running for city council because I believe in Rifle and through public service I can give back to the city and the people and make a lasting, positive impact on my community.


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