Grand Lake Fire Board holds candidate forum
It has been an exciting spring for voters in Grand Lake.
After going to the polls last Tuesday, April 5, to vote for a new Mayor and four Trustees for the Town Board citizens of the small mountain community in Grand County’s far northern reaches will again head back to the polls on May 3 to elect four members to the Grand Lake Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors.
The District held a candidate forum Monday night, April 11, to provide those running for the Fire District’s Board of Directors an opportunity to formally introduce themselves to constituents, outline their vision for the department and to field questions from the local community. Grand Lake Fire is looking to fill four seats on the Board this May, two seats will be for two-year terms and two seats will be for four-year terms. Candidates running for a four-year term are Hayden Burke, David Craig and Chris Ruske. Candidates running for the two two-year-terms on the Board are Mindy Nelson and Richard Romshek.
Both Nelson and Romshek are running unopposed and barring any unforeseen problems both will become members of the Board after the election. The three other candidates, Burke Craig and Ruske, are competing for two seats on the Board meaning only one of those three candidates will not serve on the Board next term.
The forum was hosted the Grand Lake Women’s Club and was moderated by Grand Lake resident Neal Cross. The forum kicked off with candidates introducing themselves and then answering a pair of questions that were provided to the candidates prior to the start of the forum. Each of the candidates outlined their family histories in the Grand Lake area and their own experiences with the Grand Lake Fire Protection District.
Candidate Hayden Burke was absent from the forum Monday night. Jane Binford, representative of the Grand Lake Women’s Club, read Burke’s introductory statement to forum attendees and also read Burke’s prepared answers to the two kick-off questions for the forum.
Questions for candidates at the forum touched on a number of different topics with much of the discussion revolving around each candidates understanding of departmental finances and how the candidates view the role of governing Boards. Other questions posed to the candidates included: what are the candidates goals for the Department, candidate positions on the departments “code of conduct”, how candidates would address concerns about response times for EMS, how candidates would handle information presented to them they felt was incorrect.
Grand Lake Fire Protection District Chief Mike Long asked the final question of the Q&A session, inquiring, “if you disagree with the majority of the Board do you feel like you have the ability to support the Board decision outside of the Boardroom after the Board has made a decision?”
Each of the candidates, except Burke who was absent and was not presented with the question ahead of time, responded affirmatively that they would support decisions made by the Board, even those they disagreed with, outside the Boardroom.
The forum wrapped up with closing statements from each of the candidates. Election Day for the Grand Lake Fire Board of Directors will be May 3 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with polling conducted at the Grand Lake Fire Protection Station 1 located on West Portal Road at the entrance to the town of Grand Lake. Absentee ballots can be picked up until April 29. Grand Lake Fire District Administrator Cheryl Dale is the Designated Election Official for the election.
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