GC Dems pitch county home rule idea at Assembly
Ryan Summerlin March 28, 2014
GRANBY – Grand County Democrats might not be putting any candidates on the ballot for the June election, but it still has plenty of platform resolutions.
The local political group held its 2014 Assembly on Tuesday, March 25, at the Granby Library. After listening to Colorado’s House District 13 representative K.C. Becker (D-Boulder) discuss her achievements in the Colorado legislature over the past year, the 18 meeting attendees discussed their political goals.
Among the platform resolutions are water resource planning, increasing minimum wages, amending the Colorado Constitution to put moratoria or bans on fracking and fossil fuel extraction, supporting a path to citizenship for illegal aliens and high school students who complete two years of college or military service, a repeal of federal marijuana prohibition, creating a single-payer health care system, prohibiting gerrymandering of Congressional districts and enacting federal legislation to statutorily repeal the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United.
The resolutions were collected from Democratic caucuses throughout the county.
The Democrats don’t have any candidates planning to run against Republicans for District 3 Commissioner, county sheriff or any other county offices. According to Sandra Doudna, the Grand County Democrats Chair, it’s largely because it’s intimidating for people to run on the local Democratic ticket.
“You have an established Republican party here … that will only vote for an ‘R.’ It could be Jack the Ripper, they’re going to vote for the ‘R,’” Doudna said at the assembly. “We don’t have that solid of a group of Democrats.”
According to Doudna, that’s partly because many of the county’s Democrats left after the economic crash in 2008.
“A lot of our folks were young, they had children and had to imagine not being able to feed them,” she said.
In light of the recent building department scandal, the Democrats all discussed changing Grand County to home rule. This change would result in non-partisan elections. Most elected officials in the county, including the surveyor, treasurer clerk/recorder and sheriff, would instead become hired employees of the county. Commissioners would still be elected.
“It should be the best person for the position, and if they’re not doing their job or if they’re using county assets for their personal use, they should be gone,” said Doudna. “But when it’s an elected official, that’s really hard to do.”
A change to home rule, which is permitted by the Colorado Constitution, would require voter approval and commissioners to draft a charter. Pitkin and Weld are the only two counties in Colorado. The City and County of Denver and the City and County of Broomfield are home-rule municipalities as well.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.