County candidates busy

Mitsch Bush published, Strong visits Mexico City

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— The two candidates for Routt County Commissioner are not letting campaign season slow them down.

Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Paul Strong have achieved significant personal accomplishments lately - on top of their work in local government and preparations for an election that is less than two months away.

Strong visited Mexico City for a four-day conference last month, an event attended by nearly 40 municipal officials from around the country and featuring a discussion with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista.

Mitsch Bush authored a chapter in a recently published book, "Mountain Resort Planning and Development in an Era of Globalization," the research for which began at a 2002 Steamboat Springs conference of the same name.

The candidates are vying for the District 3 commissioner seat currently held by Dan Ellison.

Mitsch Bush is a member of the Routt County Planning Commission, and Strong serves on the Steamboat Springs City Council.

Mitsch Bush said the book addresses growth, sustainability and tourism issues in mountain resort communities around the world, from New Zealand to Europe to Steamboat Springs. People from a variety of professional backgrounds wrote chapters, she said. Hers is titled "From collaboration to implementation in an era of globalization: Local policies to preserve agriculture, wildlife habitat and open space in the mountain resort towns of the Rocky Mountain West."

"My chapter really focuses on how partnerships emerge from problems," she said. "And it shows how our heritage, a sense of community, and a tourism economy are all related. As everybody knows, our guests are no longer only from the U.S. - they are from all over the world."

Strong was a guest in Mexico City for four days at the beginning of August.

"Obviously, Mexican-American relations are at a very interesting point today," he said about the setting for the conference. "Immigration was a big topic. While we're not going to get complete consensus at this point in time, it was helpful to exchange our points of view."

As Mexico's foreign minister, Bautista holds a position comparable to that of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Strong said Bautista emphasized Mexico's intent to build its economy and keep more workers from leaving the country.

"He would much prefer having the undocumented workers in their country, helping their economy, rather than in our country, helping ours," Strong said of Bautista.

During the next two months, Strong and Mitsch Bush will have plenty of forums to discuss county issues.

"Sept. 1, I figure, was really the kickoff of serious campaign season," Strong said. "We're certainly into full swing at this point."

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