by Brian Manning
HUERFANO — Judy Benine is no stranger in Huerfano County; she is the county clerk and has lived in Walsenburg all her life. She graduated from Walsenburg High School in 1964.
After high school, Judy worked in the creamery in Walsenburg. Then she married Jim Benine and left her job to raise their two children, a son Ryan and a daughter Natalie.
Benine later went to work with her husband in the Black and White grocery store, owned by her in-laws where she worked until it burned down in 1988. In the 1990s, she worked in the court for one year and decided to run for the office of County Clerk. She won that election, took office in 1995, and has been winning elections every four years since that date.
As county clerk, Judy is responsible for the records of all commissioner meetings, motor vehicle matters, marriage licenses, mapping, elections, liquor licenses and other functions. She remarked that motor vehicle registrations are difficult because people do not understand that she must follow the laws and has no control over the regulations.
The Benines bought the Rambler Hotel and restaurant while Judy was serving as the county clerk. She often worked weekends and evenings running the restaurant and supervising banquets, reunions and other functions, while working as the county clerk.
She is the oldest of seven children, five girls and two boys. She feels her parents and grandparents were great role models and instilled good values. She is fluent in Spanish because her grandfather spoke Spanish in their home and insisted that the family become bilingual.
Today Judy and Jim have two grandchildren Noah, 15, and Liam, 10. They have been married for 47 years and will celebrate their 48th anniversary in May of this year. Their son is a pilot for Frontier Airlines and their daughter is a flight attendant for the same airline.
Judy Benine has lived in Huerfano all her life and has hope for the future of the county. She says it’s a great place to live and to retire, but jobs are needed to keep youngsters in the county.