WALSENBURG- The five men vying for the two open county commissioner seats, and James England, aspiring to his old seat on the Walsenburg City Council, spoke at a candidate forum before a packed room on Friday, October 19.
The forum, sponsored by the Huerfano World Journal, was a chance for the public to hear the candidates all answer the same question, so that apples could be compared to apples on their answers.
The event was held at the Spanish Peaks Library.
James England was the only one of three candidates for the Ward 2 seat to attend the forum. Paul Rivera sent in a written statement read by moderator Debi Sporleder, and Cathy Pineda skipped the event entirely.
England told the audience that he brought experience and accessability to the ward seat. He feels Walsenburg has two options- “continue the status quo of bickering and passing the buck, or a more positive city council that gets things done.”
The commissioner candidates were asked questions ranging from, how would you keep the county budget solvent, to, what do you see as the future of Huerfano County, to, what is your stance on water in Huerfano County?
Each of the men gave similar answers; stay within budget, get jobs and employers in to the county, improve communication, and to support the water mill levy on the ballot, to work at keeping water in the county.
Where the differences were, and what each candidate stressed, was why they were best qualified to be commissioner.
Lonnie Brown noted the number of boards he has been on, and his many years in the county, working for CO. Division of Wildlife.
Ray Garcia talked of his experience with water issues, and dealing with state and federal agencies.
Joe Albano, a sheriff’s deputy, talked about helping people, being a teacher and a former US marine.
Max Vezzani talked of being born and raised in Huerfano County, and his management career in state parks, starting at Lathrop park.
Nick Vigil, a Walsenburg son, served in the US Air Force, then worked as a boilermaker. He has served on numerous boards throughout the county.
One thing that was made clear was each man was passionate about the county, and would be a good fit for the commissioner’s seat.
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