2022 Colorado Primary
EL PASO COUNTY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES DISTRICT 1 & DISTRICT 5
What experience (personal, professional, other) would you bring to your role as Commissioner that will benefit our county?
Besides having worked in electoral politics and issue advocacy for many years, I have worked with and for organizations and companies, large and small, to bring ideas into fruition through tenacious advocacy. I am also an avid promoter and supporter of others, focusing my energy on helping people achieve their goals by converting ideas into action – I’ve started companies and organizations to lift others’ voices.
What is your vision for being one of our County Commissioners?
For better or worse, the County is in the midst of significant change. What I believe the County needs at this time is transitional leadership that can help mitigate that change through collaboration – someone that is not afraid to discuss difficult topics with those they don’t always agree with. My vision for this role is to be the most accessible County Commissioner.
County Commissioner's Role
What are the roles, rights, and duties of an El Paso County Commissioner?
Roles and rights are all well-defined and the power of the County Commission comes from the state – but the duties of the Commissioner I see as being far more malleable as a leader among people. A good County Commissioner should be helping residents to take charge of their own capacity in creating a community that is good for all our neighbors.
Building and Development
Considering our limited water and energy resources, to what extent and in what manner should the County be encouraging building and development?
Encouraging development and encouraging smarter development are two very different things. If our county is going to continue to grow and we’re going to welcome new neighbors, we have to balance current resident promises with increasing demand on community resources. This means holding developers accountable to supporting growth, rather than current need.
What is your experience in regard to understanding and managing large and complex departmental budgets?
As an executive for a private company, I have managed multimillion-dollar budgets with complexity around planning for OpEx and CapEx as well as underwriting ongoing and one-time costs. These are all skills/experience that are important in the County Commissioner role.
What is your position on The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)?
TABOR is the law of the land and while I disagree with it myself, I anticipate no major changes to that in the near future. I would much rather see the flexibility of Commissioners to be able to make decisions with a budget cycle rather than be hamstrung in decision- making by putting those decisions to voters every time. If you don’t trust your elected officials to make those decisions for you, what good is a representative democracy?
Improving County Services
If new resources became available, what single area of County services do you believe most needs additional funding. and what do you suggest that money be used for to improve the lives of El Paso County citizens?
That would depend on what size of resources suddenly became available. If we’re talking large-scale infrastructure dollars, I would begin work on an intercommunity public transit plan that would set up communities El Paso County to become less dependent on personal transportation. With smaller budget, I would focus on improving health and human services to begin to tackle poverty.
What is your position in regard to enforcing “mandates” issued by governmental or non- governmental officials or agencies? How will you use the power of your office as County Commissioner to defend the Constitutional rights of El Paso County citizens?
The County Commissioners are, first and foremost, an extension of the State – meaning that those mandates are, by extension, mandates of the County, under current law. It is incumbent on the board to follow those mandates in the same way that a police officer should not inconsistently enforce a seat belt law. Leadership, formal and informal, in supporting the law through education and outreach are the aforementioned duties of a County Commissioner.
Protecting the Most Vulnerable
As a County Commissioner, how would you seek to protect the most vulnerable in our county, including the lives of the unborn, the trafficked, and the elderly?
Again, Health and Human services become particularly important when it comes to this topic. Providing a prosperous and healthy community that supports our citizens in achieving their dreams in whatever way and timeline they choose while protecting those most vulnerable to abuse. It is the critical juncture of multiple jurisdictions and governmental functions requiring a balance between individual freedoms/rights and appropriate safeguards. It should be the position of any County Commissioner to respect the law for those wishing to avail themselves of it; and use the law for those wishing to break it.
Candidate received the questionnaire late due to our error, and has chosen not to participate.
Candidate Email Address: JohnDJarrell@gmail.com
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