Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs attorney Vance Halvorson has been elected to lead local Republicans for the next two years.
Halvorson takes over for Jennifer Schubert-Akin, who served as an active and enthusiastic chairwoman of the Routt County Republican Central Committee but decided in December not to run for re-election, citing a need for more personal time. Halvorson was elected at Wednesday's monthly meeting of the Republican committee, held in the Routt County Courthouse Annex in downtown Steamboat.
"One of the things I want us to do is focus on why we are Republicans," Halvorson told the group, citing a need for the party to get back to fundamentals after a November election that saw widespread Democratic victories in local, statewide and national elections.
Halvorson's message resonated with at least one meeting attendee.
"I don't think there's any doubt our party is in a big struggle," said Steamboat resident and former Olympian Jim "Moose" Barrows. "One of the reasons we weren't successful in the election is that we had basically lost our focus on the Republican ideals."
Barrows cited "less government and (more) personal property rights" as two of those ideals.
The committee elected several other officers Wednesday, including three regional vice-chairs.
Former Steamboat Springs City Council member Kevin Kaminski will serve as the party's vice-chair representing Steamboat Springs, Jeff Fry is the vice-chair representing the Hayden area, and Dick Klumker, who ran unsuccessfully for Routt County assessor in the fall, is the vice-chair representing South Routt. Steamboat Springs City Council member Paul Strong will serve as the party's treasurer and Geneva Taylor, wife of state Sen. Jack Taylor of Steamboat, is the party's secretary.
Several participants in Wed-
nesday's meeting praised Halvorson's longtime service to Routt County and the Republican Party.
"He contributes unbelievably to the community," Geneva Taylor said.
The Republican committee meets the first Wednesday of every month.
The Routt County Democratic Party also met Wednesday to elect new officers, but results from the potluck dinner meeting were not available Wednesday evening.