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Two candidates in Republican coroner primary race

On Aug. 10, registered Republicans in Archuleta County will be asked to select a candidate for county coroner for the Nov. 2 general election. Since no Democratic candidate has filed to run for this office, the winner of the primary will be the presumed winner of the office.

Incumbent Coroner Carl Macht responded to several questions posed by SUN staff for this candidate profile. County coroner since 1992, Macht is a native of Archuleta County and has worked as a paramedic and EMT in the county for 30 years.

According to Macht, “During my 18 years as a certified death investigator, I have investigated over five hundred deaths, eighty percent of those have been natural. Accidents and suicides make up the rest of the count, with only a handful of homicides.”

When asked by SUN staff, “What is the biggest challenge for the coroner’s office, now and in the upcoming year?” Macht’s response was, “The challenge this year in my office is being a politician rather than a professional who conducts himself with integrity and discretion. Death is an intimate tragedy for the family and in a small community, needs to be kept as private as possible. Families trust me and talk to me when they are shattered by grief and I must maintain that trust.”

Macht added, “The coroner’s office has always needed to balance finding the truth behind a death and being fiscally responsible to the county and its taxpayers. Money for training, supplies, and autopsies is always in short supply.”

When asked, “What, if anything, can be done differently with how the coroner’s office is run?” Macht’s response was, “I have met the financial conflict by developing close cooperation with all agencies that can lend expertise to an investigation. I have built excellent relationships with the law enforcement agencies in this county and across the state. I know who can provide services and expertise to me and when they are needed. I continue to train, study, and learn within my field so that my medical knowledge is current. I can interpret patient medical records, medications, symptoms, and traumatic forces that cause death.

“I attend every autopsy I order and have a finely trained forensic team. The team includes the Colorado Bureau Investigation, State Patrol, Coroner’s assist team, county evidence techs, medical personnel, hospice, and victims advocates. I thank them for their help. Because of their dedication and expertise, the team here is an excellent one.

Finally, when SUN staff asked, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?” Macht responded, “I have become good at determining the cause and manner of death. It allows me to know when an autopsy is needed and when it is not; and when a death is suspicious and when it is not.”

Macht’s primary opponent Rich Aldahl was not available for comment and numerous calls by SUN staff went unanswered.

According to information listed on the Archuleta County Republican Party website, Aldahl is an 11-year resident of Pagosa Springs, served 32 years with the Los Angeles police department, 25 years of which were spent as a homicide detective.

jim@pagosasun.com