County commissioner candidate profile: William Thompson
Democrat candidate William “Bill” Thompson is running to become Grand County Commissioner for District 3 this year. He faces Republican incumbent Kristen “Kris” Manguso.
Born in Baggs, Wyo., Thompson has spent almost his entire life living in Grand County after his family moved to the Kremmling area shortly after his birth. He is a rancher by trade and has spent nearly 40 years as a Water Commissioner with the state’s Division of Water Resources. Thompson and his wife have two adult children who live outside of Grand County.
The 2018 election marks Thompson’s first political campaign. He has served on various leadership boards, including the stock growers association and Colorado Water Officials Association, but has not previously held elected public office in local or county governments. Thompson stressed his down-to-earth, common sense, “git-r-done” mentality and style as an important factor that will help him accomplish goals for his constituents.
Thompson has previously identified as a Republican but chose to run as a Democrat this year in part because of a late entry into the political arena. According to Thompson, he officially filed his candidacy the last day he was eligible to do so.
“I am running as a Democrat, but I believe the issues are not specific to one party,” he said. “I have rarely seen any decision made at the county level based on party lines.”
He explained his decision to run as being meant to provide Grand County voters with a choice.
“The voters of Grand County needed a choice,” Thompson said. “The county commissioner should be in touch with people and willing to listen to everybody. I just want to represent the citizens of Grand County equitably and fairly.”
Thompson highlighted affordable housing as the most pressing issue facing Grand County over the near to medium term.
“I want to support affordable housing for permanent and seasonal workers,” Thompson said. “We have to have housing for people who want to work in Grand County.”
Thompson went on to discuss a range of issues he believes Grand County needs to address and collaboration with others on in the near to medium term including water resources, air quality, open spaces and wildlife habitat, high speed internet access, transportation and issues related to the annual threat posed by wildfires. Thompson noted he does not believe Grand County could feasibly operate its own transportation service but said he was open to potentially assisting with the existing Winter Park transit bus line.
Over the longer term Thompson, who received a degree in forestry and outdoor recreation, said he would like to see Grand County’s recreational opportunities and amenities improved. He highlighted the funds from Grand County Ballot Measure 1A approved by voters in 2016 as a positive resource for such endeavors.
“I don’t know all the answers,” Thompson said. “But I am a down to earth kind of guy and I will work my way through it. It would be an honor to be your county commissioner.”
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