Two intelligent, hard-working and civic-minded citizens, Mel Mulder and Dave Edwards, today announced they are entering the 2016 race for County Commissioner to replace incumbents in District 1 and District 3, respectively. Mulder is challenging District 1 incumbent John Justman and Edwards intends to replace incumbent Rose Pugliese.
Both incumbents are extreme tea party purists who have largely spent their time in office making symbolic gestures and spending taxpayer money to fund an ideological campaign to sell off public lands. Pugliese and Justman forced Mesa County taxpayers to pay $1,000 to join the American Lands Council, a fringe group that advocates the transfer of federal land to the states. The current commissioners have also symbolically boycotted public meetings held by the federal government to gather local opinions on issues like public lands and gas leases, leaving Mesa County citizens without a voice in these proceedings.
Edwards and Mulder say if citizens elect the two of them this November, it would make quick change for the better on the three-member Board of County Commissioners, where just two members constitute a majority.
And quick change is certainly needed. Mesa County’s economy is bad and getting worse fast, and the current Board of Commissioners has failed to take any steps to proactively address the misery it’s causing county residents, and have, in fact, contributed to their misery by approving projects like Alanco’s Deer Creek Frackwater Disposal site in Whitewater.
Edwards described what Mesa County citizens have been facing over the last four years:
“Jobs have been lost, wage-earners have been forced to move to find work, housing values have plummeted. Mesa County has lost 11,000 jobs since the last election for Districts One and Three for Mesa County Commissioner. Unemployment is at 5.3% in Mesa County, with thousands of discouraged workers not even looking for work.
While much of Colorado is growing at a startling pace, Mesa County stagnates and dries up. Local Republicans are stuck believing that more of their failed policies will reverse the decline. Many of them believe that the oil and gas industries will return in force and save us from disaster.”
Mulder says the current commissioners do much of their work in closed sessions where citizens are not privy to their discussions, and he wants to change that and make more proceedings public.
Mesa County can use some efforts to finally turn the local economy around and get it on stronger footing. These two sharp, hard working gentlemen, Edwards and Mulder, are certainly the people who can do it.