Jolene Linke enters race for county clerk
For Sky-Hi News
The office of County Clerk is so essential to the community, residents literally couldn’t deal with the business of living without it. Its gatekeeper, the county clerk and recorder, records and maintains real estate documents, files vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates, titles and registers vehicles, issues driver’s licenses, and conducts the election process.
Grand County’s current county clerk, Sara Rosene, is retiring after 31 years, and she’s leaving some big shoes to fill for an office that encompasses so much. On March 30, we profiled one of the candidates running for her position, Democrat Abby Loberg. Today, we turn the spotlight on the Republican candidate, Jolene Linke. Residents can cast their votes for either candidate during the June 28 primary elections.
Jolene Stetson grew up in Routt County, but was born in Kremmling. When she married Trey Linke of Granby in 1990, she became an official Grand County resident.
With her marriage to Trey, Linke also became part of a family with a longstanding commitment to public service. Trey’s mother, Lorene Linke, was a Grand County commissioner, and his brother, Merrit Linke, is a current commissioner for District 2. But Jolene’s birth family has its own history of public service: her grandfather was a county commissioner in Routt County, and her sister, Laura Woods, served as a state senator from 2015 to 2017.
“I’ve been around lots of candidates and understood campaigning from their perspective,” Linke said. Like Rosene, she is a Republican who is fiscally conservative. From 2011 to 2012, Linke worked as a precinct organizer for the Republican Party, educating voters about the party’s local candidates and political issues. She also served one year as an election judge in Granby during the special elections. And she’s currently secretary for the Grand County Republican Party, in which role, she said, she has had ample interaction with elected officials, through whom she has learned some of the ins and outs of the role of clerk and recorder.
Linke also feels that her past has instilled certain values in her that qualify her for the position.
“I had a high school coach tell me, ‘you were the brave one,’” Linke said. “I would stand up for the kids who were picked on or unfairly hurt.”
One year, she wrote a letter to a state senator who had visited their school.
“Our teacher reamed us about being rude to him, but I didn’t see rudeness at the assembly. I wrote him a letter, and he wrote back, saying, ‘no, it was very nice.’ So I posted the letter in our high school office,” Linke said, recalling how she had been determined to show her fellow students in a positive light. “I have always been outgoing and bold, and I feel like that is necessary in these times.”
From childhood, Linke’s life has been rooted in the responsibility of tending livestock. She grew up on her grandparent’s ranch and believes it taught her the value of hard work and getting a job “done right.” When she married Trey, she also became a part of the Linke Cattle Ranch, a historic institution in Granby.
“Out there, if you don’t shut the gate, the cattle get out. If you don’t water, you don’t get the hay,” she said. “It’s a very good lifestyle for learning values like integrity.”
Linke’s work experience has prepared her for the role of county clerk as well. In high school, she learned to record documents at a title company. With that came the value of an efficiently run office. If elected, she plans to streamline the DMV office.
“Right now, we don’t have a full-time DMV person. It would be my goal to have somebody local there so that it’s open during regular times for the people in Grand County,” she said. “Day-to-day availability is important, and good customer service is right up there too.”
In college, Linke continued to gain skills that could pertain to the role of clerk and recorder. At both Baylor University, in Texas, and the University of Colorado Law School, in Boulder, she studied law, which she put into practice as an attorney in Hot Sulphur Springs. There, she was obligated to read and interpret the law, to make sure “things (were) done according to it,” she said. She believes both the state and federal constitutions are “very important.”
Linke’s main goal as clerk and recorder is to hold objective elections where every vote counts.
“Sara (Rosene) has been very careful to have honest and fair elections, and I want to continue her work,” she said.
When Linke had children, she left law practice so she could concentrate on being a mother. After the birth of her first child, she went on maternity leave and never went back.
“I’ve had three children, and they were my priority. I’ve had jobs where they could be with me and have my same schedule,” she said.
Once her children were school age, she became a teacher at the Winter Park Christian School, which is now the Grand County Christian Academy in Tabernash. She retired from the position in the spring of 2021, “because my son wasn’t going to that school anymore…I felt there was something else I wanted to do,” she said.
Linke explained felt a “little pang” every time one of her family members were elected into a public office. So when Rosene announced her retirement, she decided to throw her hat into the ring.
In March, the Grand County Republican Party approached Linke and asked if she would run. Linke believes this is because she has been closely involved with the party for over a decade, and is “honored they chose me,” she said.
She is excited for an opportunity to serve Grand County. “My whole life I thought, ‘I’m going to run for something!’ Of course, when you’re a child, you think you’re going to become the president. As you get older, you realize how unrealistic that is. But lo and behold, maybe this is time and place for me…I’m happy to be running,” she said.
To learn more about the services the Grand County Clerk and Recorder offers to the community, please visit: co.grand.co.us/1081/County-Clerk-Recorder. To check your voter registration status or edit your voter information, visit: sos.state.co.us.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.