Clouse beats Kraynyk
in low-turnout election
by Mary-Ann Brandon
LA VETA — On Wednesday Aug 1, a public forum was held in La Veta to offer insight into the views of the two candidates running for the vacant town board seat.
Moderator Bob Baker opened the meeting by introducing the candidates and then immediately turned the floor over to them to explain why they feel they are best suited for the position.
Chip Kraynyk was the first to speak. Citing his deep interest in community, he referred to his volunteer work on the La Veta Tree Board, his co-authorship of the La Veta Commons Report, and his work as an organic products inspector. He believes these experiences have allowed him to develop qualifications as a trained listener.
Key issues for him include sustaining the unique nature of the community, protecting water, and reinvigorating what he calls “the missing generation” (young adults between the ages of 20 and 35). He spoke openly and clearly about his concern for protecting the pristine beauty of La Veta and about his commitment to finding common ground by learning from divergent points of view.
Clouse cites his volunteerism with the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts and his work with area youth as examples of why he would make a good board member. He has served on several boards, where he has developed leadership ability. He is a boys’ facilitator and works with the DSS Reconnecting Youth Program. He is also a newspaper reporter assigned to cover the school board meetings for the Huerfano World Journal. Earnest and folksy in his style, he understands working within a shoestring budget and touts a common sense approach to problems which allows him to look at all angles.
Questions from the audience followed and the candidates found themselves in agreement on most of the issues. Both concur that water quality is of great importance as are the needs of youth, community spirit and protection of the environment.
When asked about commitment to the job, both men promised a willingness to do whatever is necessary to serve meaningfully. Kraynyk reiterated his record of voluntary attendance as a concerned citizen at 90% of town board meetings. While not able to claim a similar record, Clouse promised that if elected, “I’ll be there for you.”
The forum ended with closing remarks from Clouse and Kraynyk. A tone of gentlemanly civility permeated the entire proceeding. Each candidate was gracious towards the other. No mud slinging, no ill will, simply two men offering their service to the community.
Clouse edged out Kraynyk to become the newest Trustee on the Town Board. Clouse received 98 votes, and Kraynyk received 69. The election drew only 167 people to the polls, although, according to Town Clerk Laurie Erwin, there are about 500 registered voters in La Veta.
Clouse has lived in the La Veta area for about 15 years. He chairs the Oktoberfest Committee and has been involved with the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts for many years – on the board, as an actor and also as a carpenter for the theater remodel and set construction.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward