Oak Creek Town Board candidate: Experience is key | SteamboatToday.com

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Oak Creek Town Board candidate: Experience is key

Oak Creek candidate touts time spent in project management

Oak Creek Town Board candidate Bernard Gagne was appointed to a vacancy on the board earlier this year and is one of five candidates running for the trustee positions in the election Tuesday.

Candidate questionnaire

To read Bernard Gagne’s responses to a candidate questionnaire, click here.

— After visiting Routt County for several years, enjoying the Flat Tops and the streams, Oak Creek Town Board candidate Bernard Gagne, then living on the Front Range, decided he was done with city living.

Six years ago, Gagne moved to Routt County, and he hasn't looked back. He decided that instead of focusing on work — Gagne worked on technological systems for high-rise buildings on the Front Range — he would focus on his quality of life.

He said he wasn't looking for the trappings of Steamboat Springs, with condos, townhomes and streetlights, and wanted instead to live in South Routt.

Gagne was appointed to a vacancy on the Oak Creek Town Board in January to replace Gerry Greenwood, who retired, and Gagne has since waded into the medical marijuana debate and all of the other work of the board. Gagne is one of five candidates running for four open Town Board seats, to be decided in an election Tuesday. The other candidates are Dawn Smith, Lawrence Jaconetta, Linda Price and Joh­rene Meyers-Story.

Nikki Knoebel is running for the open mayoral seat.

Gagne said one of the biggest issues that the town has struggled with for years — the police force — is at a stable place, and he's happy with the decisions the board has made in hiring Lance Dunaway as the town's sole police officer.

"I think the town has the direction of police force that we're looking for," Gagne said during an interview at the Catamount Ranch & Club, where he works as buildings manager. "Lance is a good guy. He's a good fit personality-wise for the town; he's a real professional in his business, and that's great."

Gagne said he's also pleased with the outcome of the medical marijuana discussion and the ensuing policies the town adopted, including an approval for dispensaries and a moratorium on building changes to allow medical marijuana cultivation.

"I believe both were appropriate actions," Gagne wrote in response to a questionnaire sent out to all candidates. "Having researched this topic vigorously, I am convinced the appropriate actions were taken by the board as well as the Planning Commission, which voted to recommend approval of the dispensary license."

On infrastructure improvements, another major topic of town concern, Gagne said his experience working on multimillion-dollar, multiyear projects on the Front Range has prepared him to guide the town through water, sewer and road upgrades.

"What I hope is that if I'm elected, that I would be assigned to the Public Works Commission, be­­cause I have exten­­sive background in plumbing as well as electrical and project management — lots of project management experience," he said.

The mayor assigns each Town Board member as a public works, police or administrative commissioner.

"I think that with the town's upcoming public works projects that I would be a good fit. I would be a benefit to the town in managing those projects from the contract standpoint as well as the hands-on physical progress," Gagne said.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com