Steamboat Springs Former Steamboat Springs City Council president Bill Martin announced Wednesday that he is running for the District 3 seat on the Routt County Board of Commissioners.
His announcement brings to three the number of candidates vying for the seat that will be vacated by Republican Dan Ellison. Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Paul Strong already have announced their candidacies.
County commissioners Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak are not up for re-election.
At a gathering at the Steamboat Yacht Club on Wednesday afternoon, Martin told supporters that he decided to run for the seat because of his love of the area.
"I am running because I feel a compassion for this community," Martin said.
Martin, 57, has lived in Routt County for 37 years. For two decades he has owned and operated a kitchen cabinet and design business, William Martin CKD. Martin said he started out as a cabinetmaker's apprentice. He said the experience taught him about the financial pressures that workers face.
Martin said others supported his candidacy and that he'd be good for the position. Martin, a Democrat, said there is a demand for people with "middle-of-the-road" politics. He calls himself a candidate who is fiscally conservative and socially moderate.
Martin has been chairman of the Steamboat Springs Water Commission since 2004. He was a Steamboat Springs City Council member from 1991 to 1995 and was council president for two years. Martin was on the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission from 1989 to 1991 and was its chairman from 1990 to 1991.
As a county commissioner, Martin said his biggest goal would be to improve communication. He said controversial issues such as gravel pits and the new justice center deserve more communication between the commissioners and county residents.
His time on the City Council proved he was an effective communicator, Martin said.
"People felt like they were welcome in the council chambers," he said, adding that he thinks the Commissioners Hearing Room is less friendly.
Martin joins Mitsch Bush, vice chairwoman of the Routt County Planning Commission, on the Democratic ticket. Strong, a member of the Steamboat Springs City Council, is the lone Republican in the race.
Martin said the race is not about him running against Mitsch Bush but rather about members of the Democratic Party selecting the candidate who represents their values.
Mitsch Bush said Wednesday that the competition will help the democratic process.
"I was really glad to see another Democrat in the race," Mitsch Bush said. "It will help people talk more about the issues and get excited about this race for county commissioner."
Mitsch Bush thinks the race will go well.
"I know that we, as Democrats, will run a clean, ethical campaign so that the people can hear the issues and make their decision," she said.
Martin encouraged attendees of his announcement party to take part in party caucuses Tuesday.