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LPEA director elections in District 1

With challenges in the energy industry looming large, interest in securing a “seat at the table” when La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) determines current and future policy has stimulated a solid field of candidates for the upcoming board of directors election in three of LPEA’s four districts.

In accordance with LPEA’s bylaws, annually one seat in each of LPEA’s four districts comes up for election. Though the election in District 2 is slated to be officially cancelled by board action on April 20 given only one candidate, elections are confirmed for Districts 1, 3 and 4.

“We welcome the interest from our members, and we want them to be involved,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO. “In coming years we’re going to be faced with rising costs for the production of electricity, and we will need to be thoughtful and conscientious as we explore our options going forward. This election is very important. We encourage all LPEA members to get to know the candidates and vote.”

With the retirement of current District 1 Director Harry Cole, LPEA members in Archuleta County will elect a new representative from a field of three: Brad Carey, Ken Fox and J.B. (James B.) Smith. District 1 contains approximately 7,500 eligible voters.

“All districts will, however, be receiving election materials,” said Munro, noting that bylaw amendments must be considered. “Primarily due to new statutes adopted in at the State Capitol, we need to amend our bylaws to be in compliance. The election packets contain detailed information on these amendments, and we would truly appreciate it if everyone would take the time to vote on the amendments. It may seem as though your vote doesn’t matter — but it really does.”

Election packets will be mailed to all member-owners (those who pay their electric bill to LPEA) on April 22, and ballots must be returned by 4 p.m., Friday, May 13, to FredrickZink & Associates. The independent, Durango-based CPA firm has been retained by LPEA to tally the ballots utilizing La Plata County’s official ballot counting equipment. The results will be announced at the LPEA Annual Meeting at Sky Ute Casino and Resort in Ignacio on May 14. Registration for the Annual Meeting begins at 9 a.m., with the business meeting to commence at 10:30 a.m. A complimentary lunch follows.

For additional information, contact LPEA at 247-5786 or visit

District 1 candidates

Brad Carey, P.O. Box 1792, Arboles, is a new candidate for District 1.

Carey, originally from Albuquerque, N.M., studied architecture at the University of New Mexico before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force where he was introduced to electronics and communications. His Air Force information technology (IT) training opened the door to the commercial airline industry where he spent 14 years, ultimately rising to regional IT manager responsible for a number of airports and facilities. In 2002, a lifestyle change brought him to Pagosa Springs where he built a new home for his family and launched what has proven to be a successful small business, Integrity Computers. He also earned his credentials as a Pagosa area Realtor. His volunteer activities have included service as a HOA board director and deacon and secretary on a church leadership team.

“My unique live/work environment offers me a perspective others don’t have. Though I work in Pagosa, I live in the far reaches of Southwest Archuleta County, with hay farmers and cattle ranchers as neighbors. My goal is to represent all District 1 residents, using a level head, a critical eye and a willingness to serve others. Those who know me will tell you I’m the kind of guy who likes to help; to pick up the slack or fill a void or need. It’s who I am; a can-do attitude with God-given abilities of administration and leadership. Am I more qualified than others? Probably not. Do I have a desire to utilize my talents on the LPEA board? You bet!”

Ken Fox, 865 S. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, is a new candidate for District 1

Fox, retired from the U.S. Air Force where he held various command and staff positions throughout his career, is an active member of the Archuleta County community. A Pagosa Springs resident for more than 23 years, he has applied his experience and talents to agencies ranging from the Archuleta County Airport Authority and Archuleta Board of County Commissioners to the Area Agency on Aging and the Archuleta County District 50 JT School Board. He was co-owner and partner of K and K Aviation, Inc., and served as Archuleta County Airport manager. Raised in Tucson, Ariz., Fox earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Arizona and a masters in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in addition to his studies with Air Command and Staff College with the USAF.

“I believe that as LPEA continues to meet the needs of the 21st Century, we will be required to continue to be innovative as we search and develop sustainable and renewable energy efficiencies. We MUST decrease our dependency on foreign sources of energy and better utilize the potential we have domestically. There are numerous opportunities available in the areas of wind, solar and geothermal (to name a few). The future challenges of the electrical industry, to provide cost effective and reliable electric power, will be daunting. I would very much like to be a part of the team problem-solving efforts of the LPEA Board and staff. I believe my background and experience would contribute to meeting these continuing challenges.”

J.B. (James B.) Smith, 43 Scratch Court, Pagosa Springs, is a new candidate for District 1.

Originally from Rockford, Ill., Smith studied business and history at Colorado State University, and is now retired from a rich career in the print media industry. Most recently, until his retirement in 2002, he was the owner of the Mountain Valley News in Cedaredge, Colo. His experience also includes director of Special Education buses at Denver’s Cherry Creek schools and classified advertising manager and circulation manager of the Denver Business Journal. Earlier he served in advertising, classified and circulation positions for the Gillette News Record (Wyoming), Ft. Collins Coloradoan and Cervi’s Journal (a precursor of the Denver Business Journal), notably increasing circulation and advertising in all positions.

A recipient of awards from the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Club Press Group, Smith is currently involved in the Pagosa Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and the Good Government Association.

“I want on the electric board to keep rates stable. I also want trucks to drive the speed limit. I think board members are overpaid.”

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