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Democrats conduct county, district assemblies, pick candidates

On Saturday, April 10, local Democrats conducted their county assembly to designate Democratic county candidates to the ballot; elect delegates and alternates to represent them at larger district assemblies; certify the election of new precinct co-chairs as elected at precinct caucuses; discuss and vote on resolutions approved by precinct caucuses which will be forwarded to the State Party Platform Committee for consideration at the State Assembly; and designate a vacancy committee for filling candidate vacancies for the November election.

Candidates or their representatives for all races were provided time to address the assembly.

First up was the only contested race of the day — U.S. Senate. Supporters of both Sen. Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff spoke passionately about what each candidate would bring to the job of representing Colorado. Romanoff won the poll 23 to 11 over Bennet. Based upon that result, Archuleta County will be sending three delegates to the Democratic State Party Assembly for Michael Bennet and six for Andrew Romanoff.

Next up was State Senator Bruce Whitehead, who talked about the work occurring at the State Capitol, and answered constituents’ questions. State House candidate Brian O’Donnell was also in attendance and talked about the need to stimulate and diversify the economy of southwest Colorado. Statements were also made on behalf of governor candidate John Hickenlooper, Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, and State Treasurer Cary Kennedy.

Fred Uehling, local CPA and candidate for county assessor, was designated to the ballot by a unanimous vote. Before the vote, Uehling discussed the importance of the assessor’s office for the local community, and enumerated his qualifications for the position. These include continuing education work through the International Association of Assessing Officers, 27 years as a federal auditor and experience as treasurer for several local entities including the PLPOA and Seeds of Learning, and as finance chair for Community United Methodist Church. When elected, Uehling indicated that he will focus on fairness and consistency in assessments, qualifications of staff, good communication and ensuring that staff is treated fairly and consistently.

The following precinct committee elections were ratified by the assembly

Precinct 1 — John Egan and Rex Shurtleff.

Precinct 2 — Becky Herman and Kent Davis.

Precinct 3 — Emily Franklin and Ginny Douglas.

Precinct 4 — Randy Fox.

Precinct 5 — Christa Laos.

Precinct 6 — Dave and Sandi Butcher.

Precinct 7 — Paul Carpino and Ray Finney.

Precinct 8 — Susan Yalom.

Eleven resolutions from precinct caucuses were approved to be sent on to the State Platform Committee. Those resolutions will be available on the Archuleta Democrats website,

The assembly elected Kerry Dermody, Ben Douglas, Kathy Keyes, Mamie Lynch, Bob Nash, Jann Pitcher and Nan Rowe as the vacancy committee for the November election.

The delegates and alternates elected by the assembly to 6th Senatorial District and the 59thHouse District Assemblies, which took place April 17 are Hank and Norma Buslepp, Dave and Sandi Butcher, Paul Carpino, Ben and Ginny Douglas, Barbara Jetley, Bob Nash and Nan Rowe. The 6th Senatorial District includes all of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties.

Delegates and Alternates to the 3rd Congressional District and State Assembly, which will be held May 21-22, are Lesli Allison, Hank and Norma Buslepp, Paul Carpino, Janice Davis, Ben and Ginny Douglas, Emily Franklin, Rich Goebel, Becky Herman, Barbara Jetley, Bob Nash, John Porco, Nan Rowe and James Walton.

State Senator Bruce Whitehead on the ballot as Democratic Candidate for 6th Senate District

Bruce Whitehead, State Senator from the 6th Senate District, was unanimously nominated to be the Democratic candidate for State Senate during the district assembly held April 17 in Silverton. Archuleta County had eight delegates in attendance.

In his presentation to the assembly, Sen. Whitehead noted he is one of only two engineers in the State Senate and is, it is safe to say, the most knowledgeable member of the State Assembly regarding water issues. He has been proud to serve as vice-chair on the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee and on the Senate Transportation Committee and was also selected to serve as the Senate Ag Committee representative on the Inter-Basin Compact Committee. His efforts this session have been focused on putting people back to work in Colorado. He carried bills this session for the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Public Health and Environment, as well as the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Cattleman’s Association. This included sponsoring the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act. He is also sponsoring the Job Retraining Act and is working to eliminate late fees for trailer registrations which have adversely affected many Coloradans, especially those in agriculture.

Whitehead is a native Coloradan and lives in Hesperus with his wife and two young daughters.

Delegates from Archuleta County joined those from La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties in unanimously nominating Brian O’Donnell, a non-profit executive from Durango, to be the Democratic candidate for State Representative

Following the nomination, O’Donnell said, “I am honored that citizens from throughout Southwest Colorado have placed their trust in me. I am running for State Representative because I want to work together with the citizens of Southwest Colorado for a prosperous future.”

In a speech at the assembly, O’Donnell outlined his priorities. “I will focus on the economy and jobs, investing in the health and education of the citizens of southwest Colorado, and being a responsible steward of our natural resources,“ said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell has lived in La Plata County for 12 years. He earned a degree in economics in 1993. O’Donnell works as the executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, where he oversees a staff of eight and a $2 million annual budget. O’Donnell is married and has a two-year-old daughter who was born in Durango.

The 59th State House District includes all of Archuleta, La Plata, and San Juan counties and half of Montezuma County.