County hopefuls to gather

Republican assembly to be held today

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Four Republican county commissioner candidates, two for each open seat, will discuss their views and goals at the Routt County Republicans County Assembly today.

Candidates who receive at least 30 percent of the delegates' votes will have a place on the primary ballot.

Incumbent for the District 1 seat, Nancy Stahoviak, will make one of her first public appearances since she experienced kidney failure and knee infections last December. In the past few months, Stahoviak has been undergoing knee surgeries and recovering at her Oak Creek home, participating in county meetings through teleconferences.

"I think it's important (to appear at the assembly) since I'm running for re-election," Stahoviak said. "I want them to be able to see personally that I'm ready, able and willing to continue the job I've been doing for 12 years."

Stagecoach resident Bea Westwater announced her candidacy for the District 1 seat Friday and also will be present at the county assembly.

Mike Kien, a libertarian, also is running for the seat.

Mark Marchus and Jeff Fry, candidates for the District 2 seat, also will give speeches at the assembly. Both hope to replace District 2 incumbent Doug Monger, a Democrat.

On the issue of the justice center's west-of-downtown location, which has become more controversial in the past months, Stahoviak said she feels county commissioners have made appropriate decisions and gone through a long public process from the start.

Stahoviak said she feels important issues the county faces include affordable housing and early childhood care.

"They're exciting issues, but they're also the ones that are hardest to figure out how to solve, and I'd like to be involved in that," she said.

Westwater said she feels county commissioners should have made it clear two years ago that the justice center was court ordered and had to be completed by 2006. She said she feels there is a need for Lafarge's proposed gravel pit, and that she supports continued cooperation with the city and time spent developing a county identity.

Marchus said he thinks the $15.5 million price tag on the new justice center is too high and too soon, that Lafarge's proposed pit is a necessity, and that there should be a top-down change in how the county does business.

Marchus was terminated from his position as Routt County's chief building official on allegations that he did not create a good working environment at the department and violated county gift polices, allegations that he has denied.

"I would like to think the voters in Routt County are intelligent enough to know that that is a separate issue," he said.

Fry concurs with Marchus, saying the justice center's cost needs to be cut through any steps possible, that the proposed gravel pit is a necessity, and that roads should be a priority. He said he also feels that funding the county's sheriff's department needs to be of utmost importance.

"Right now, the county commissioners' office is as big a part of the problem as ... the solution," Fry said. "I think they have a tendency to bow down to special interest groups."

The county assembly begins at 1 p.m. in the Colorado Mountain College gymnasium. Call 870-2891.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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