Updated November 7, 2012 at 12:16 a.m.
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Steamboat Springs South Routt Democrat Tim Corrigan used his service to the tightly knit communities of Oak Creek, Phippsburg and Yampa as a springboard to claiming the Routt County Board of Commissioners District 1 seat against local ski legend and Republican challenger Jim “Moose” Barrows on Tuesday night.
After receiving Barrows' concession, Corrigan said he will step down as South Routt School Board president but will remain on that board through 2015, even as he tackles his new role in county government. Corrigan said his first priority as a county commissioner will be to reach out to all county employees.
With all but a few provisional ballots counted, 6,787 ballots had been cast for Corrigan and 5,562 for Barrows, a difference of 55 percent to 45 percent.
"I would really like to tackle working with all of the employees," Corrigan said. "I feel strongly about my relationship with my employees in my business and in the school district. I want to facilitate great understanding from top to bottom of what expectations are from the county commissioners, with real feedback and buy-in from employees."
Corrigan and Barrows were seeking the seat being relinquished after five terms by Republican Nancy Stahoviak, of Oak Creek. Corrigan said that after talking to Stahoviak on the telephone Tuesday night, he soon will begin the work of learning the ropes at the historic downtown courthouse in Steamboat Springs. He already spent much of the campaign season attending commissioners meetings and hearings.
Barrows said he was pleased to say that the fall campaign was a clean one in every respect.
"Tim's going to be just fine and the county will be in good hands," Barrows said. "I just got hit by a real strong Democratic tidal wave."
Corrigan was unopposed in the Democratic primary, but Barrows had to defeat two adversaries in the Republican primary.
Although Barrows lives on a small ranch just off Routt County Road 14 on the way to Stagecoach and has been a Realtor here for 40 years, he is best recognized as a former Olympic downhill skier and coach. He didn’t hesitate to talk during the campaign about how closely he identifies with Steamboat Ski Area and the resort community.
Asked during an Oct. 18 candidates forum to describe the biggest issue facing Routt County, Barrows said: “The biggest issue is the division between the urban area of Routt County and the more cosmopolitan things happening at the ski area. I grew up understanding the participation of agriculture and mining as peripheral entities to support the big engine, the ski area, that drives our economy.”
Corrigan lives outside Yampa and runs a drywall company based in Steamboat. Corrigan said the most pressing issue for Routt County is shoring up the county budget.
“Coming up with a way to restore the pay cuts our employees have taken and find a sustainable way to do that,” he said on the campaign trail this fall. “Second, addressing the shortfall we have in our reserves to complete the county overlay program for roads and bridges, and how to maintain reserves in the future.”
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com