Darrel Levingston, front left, listens Rob Ryg, his opponent for Routt County coroner speaks on Sunday at a candidates forum in North Routt County.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Darrel Levingston, front left, listens Rob Ryg, his opponent for Routt County coroner speaks on Sunday at a candidates forum in North Routt County.

Candidates speak out at North Routt forum

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Local contested races

Colorado House of Representatives District 57

State Rep. Randy Baumgardner (R)

Steve Ivancie (D)

Mike Kien (L)

Routt County Sheriff

Sheriff Gary Wall (D)

Garrett Wiggins (R)

Routt County Coroner

Darrell Levingston (D)

■ Coroner Rob Ryg (R)

■ Kevin Nerney (U)

— Sparks already have flown in the race for Routt County sheriff, but Sunday’s North Routt Candidate Forum provided few fireworks.

The candidates in that race, Democratic incumbent Sheriff Gary Wall and Republican All Crimes Enforcement Team Commander Garrett Wiggins, didn’t debate during the forum. They, along with candidates in other local and regional races, spoke about themselves for a few minutes to a group that included about 10 residents at the North Routt Fire Protection District’s Station No. 1 in Clark.

Wall said in his nearly four years as sheriff, he’s almost eliminated the turnover in his office of 49 — 14 people left in his first year, compared to just five this year. Wall said he’s stayed under his budget every year. Wall said the Sheriff’s Office has started training Hayden Police Department officers in special weapons and tactics, or SWAT, exercises. He said the Sheriff’s Office soon would be working with the Steamboat Springs Police Department for training.

Wiggins touted ACET’s “almost perfect” conviction rate and said he would put its track record against any law enforcement agency in the state. Wiggins mentioned the relationships he’s developed in a more than 20-year law enforcement career and some of the endorsements he’s received. Wiggins said he loves his current job and that he doesn’t need the job as sheriff but wants to give back to the community.

Despite the tenor of the forum, Wall and Wiggins still were able to get in a couple of jabs at each other.

“I want the job as sheriff. I want your support. I need your support,” Wiggins said. “I want to bring a professionalism and competency of law enforcement back to this agency.”

“I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing,” Wall countered. “I’ve hired people who are professional to exercise good judgment and discretion to help instead of trying to get people.”

In addition to Wall and Wiggins, candidates in other local races attended the forum to share information about themselves and why they’re running for office.

All three candidates for the Colorado House of Rep­resentatives in House District 57 were in attendance. They included incumbent state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican; and challengers Steve Ivancie, a Democrat and former Steam­boat Springs City Councilman, and Oak Creek Resident Mike Kien, a Libertarian.

In the race for Routt County coroner, incumbent Coroner Rob Ryg and Darrel Levingston, a longtime member of Routt County Search and Rescue, also spoke at the forum. Kevin Nerney, a former firefighter who also is running for coroner, didn’t attend.

Even a couple of candidates running unopposed for re-election were in attendance, including Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush and Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whid­don.

Catherine Carson, chairwoman of the Routt County Democratic Party, said Sunday’s forum allowed the candidates to get out and meet with county residents and talk about the issues. Carson said the event was a nice warm-up for the upcoming weeks of campaigning leading up the Nov. 2 election.

Longtime North Routt residents Chuck and B.J. Vale hosted the event. Chuck Vale said the candidate forum is one of many gatherings they’ve helped organize in the past 40 years. He said the Vales thought it was appropriate for North Routt residents to hear from candidates close to home.

“I’m all for local government,” he said. “It should be about the people.”

Comments

ftpheide 4 years, 3 months ago

Only ten people showed up, thats sad.

Why is it that Sheriff Wall connects lack of employee turnover to his competency as a Sheriff? It's not a popularity contest! People move. People need to be replaced. Is he hanging on to employees because he thinks it makes him look bad if they leave?

Wall is suspose to stay with in his budget. This isn't any accomplishment! When he first campained for Sheriff it was discovered that he had a previous bankruptcy. He explained this as his ex-wifes fault. So be it! Quit using your ability to stay under a hugh budget as an accomplishment.

Now tell us what real accomplishments you've made in over the past three and a half years!

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seeuski 4 years, 3 months ago

Is there any way you would vote for Garrett Wiggins? Just curious.

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ftpheide 4 years, 3 months ago

I fully understand your comment. If Nick was a canidate, I would back him 100%. We're down to two. Wall is the same as not having a Sheriff. Wiggins - we don't have another choice. To me he is the better canidate between the two but I understand why your reluctant. Wiggins quest to be Sheriff is why the unknown Gary Wall won the first time. Between the two- I would have to vote for Wiggins.

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Aaron Murphy 4 years, 3 months ago

To "lame"-

I would imagine that Levingston has seen a dead body in his experience with Routt County Search and Rescue. The article gives very little information about any of the candidates running for coroner. I do know that Levingston has a website, listed in the side column of this article, which lists some of his background and qualifications. I don't personally have any problem with Ryg, or the job he has done as coroner, but at least check out the information about the candidate before you claim he has no experience.

As far as the other races- it will be interesting to see how things develop as November 2nd draws nearer, and I hope that some sort of formal debate will make its way into the other areas of the county. In an non-presidential election year, the most important thing is that people get out and vote, and it is great to see so much discussion taking place!

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ftpheide 4 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone ask Garrett, at this assembly of ten people, who his choice of undersheriff is? This is kinda important!

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