Steamboat Springs Routt County Board of Commissioners candidate Nikki Knoebel has run for office before. She first pushed her fascination with politics from idle to active three years ago when she ran for Oak Creek Town Board. A year later, she took the step up to mayor of the South Routt town, sweeping to victory in an uncontested election.
On Wednesday, she took to the steps of the Routt County Courthouse to officially announce her candidacy, speech in hand and two dozen supporters spread below. That, she said, was a first.
“It was exciting,” she said afterward.
“It’s something I’ve discussed for a while,” Knoebel, a Democrat, said about her decision to run. “I’ve involved myself in the community the last three years, and this was next step to help my community.”
Knoebel said three years in Oak Creek politics has taught her a lot, no experience more lasting than seeing the tangible results of the hours logged trying to fix a problem or help a constituent.
“It’s amazing when you see things get done that you helped with,” Knoebel said.
She is running for a four-year term to replace longtime commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, a Republican.
As a commissioner, Knoebel said she’d work to maintain and reinforce the county’s policy as it relates to oil and gas exploration, an issue she said could be one of the most important in her term.
“If we can establish a good relationship with these types of industries, I can see it paving the way for Routt County to become more alternative while bringing in green industries,” she said in her speech.
She also cited a desire to keep agriculture at the center of the county’s focus.
Agriculture “helped define our history and it will help shape our future,” she said. “I’d like to see us continue to respect our agriculture history while looking forward to industrial and business opportunities.”
Knoebel jumps into what quickly is becoming a crowded pool. She’s the second Democrat to declare for the District 1 seat. Tim Corrigan, president of the South Routt School Board, announced his candidacy Jan. 11.
Three Republicans — Moose Barrows, Brita Horn and Tony Stich — also have announced their intentions to fight for the seat.
Catherine Carson, chairwoman of the Routt County Democratic Party, said the party will meet in caucuses March 6 to vote in a straw poll of the candidates. Local Democrats will set their primary ballot at the Routt County Democratic Party’s assembly in Steamboat on March 31.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com