Steve Skinner in his words: Grand County Commissioner candidate wants a board that mirrors issues locals care about |

Steve Skinner in his words: Grand County Commissioner candidate wants a board that mirrors issues locals care about

Steve Skinner
Steve Skinner/Courtesy Photo

Name: Steve Skinner
Occupation: KFFR 88.3 producer
Place of residence: Hot Sulphur Springs
Length of residence in Grand County: 5 years

Why do you want to serve on the board of county commissioners? What interests you about working at the county level?

Commissioners set the course for the county. I’d like to turn the ship toward things that will further serve locals now. I think the county should take a more active role in workforce housing and in making sure that kids have early education opportunities. Seniors should have more affordable housing options and we need to make sure they can stay in their homes if they are on a fixed income. I’ve seen people get priced out and move away. That hurts.

What more do you think the commissioners can do to increase education and awareness on county issues, so that the public feels more informed and connected to their decision-making?

The commissioners should listen to the locals. It’s not that hard to see what’s on the weekly commissioners’ agenda — the key is to have a board of county commissioners that mirrors the issues locals care about. That’s not happening now, and that’s why I’m running.

Also — public feedback should be fostered and listened to. The county should provide a simple webpage devoted to feedback. A place where people can see what the county is working on and have a chance to provide feedback via text, by uploading documents, audio and video, or. if people don’t like computers, they should have an easy number to call and leave a message. All sincere feedback should be acknowledged and provided to the public and the commissioners.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about costly government-mandated wildfire building codes (particularly in the wake of the Marshall Fire). If the proposed legislation passes, how will you square those requirements with affordable housing?

Affordable housing should be safe and up to code. It costs less in the long run to do it right in accordance with what our builders and firefighters tell us saves a home. Fire safety improvements are not what is breaking the bank. It is the fast escalation in prices, being driven by second homes (or second mansions) and short-term rentals. I’m a strong believer that new developments need to pay for themselves — the whole cost. That’s just market economics. That whole cost includes what it takes to support people in a new development — the police, nurses, EMTs, teachers, lift ops, dishwashers, mechanics, transportation workers, road maintenance and all the folks we all depend on day in and day out. If those folks can’t live here, then what is left?

If elected how will you fairly serve the constituents in your district with whom you may not necessarily align politically?

I’ll listen. I don’t know everything. I know plenty of people of differing persuasions with passion, skill and devotion to being here. We can work together. I commit to have an open mind and I am ready to be persuaded. There’s always more to something than meets the eye. I also think that at the local level, there is a lot more room for innovation, compromise, and — luckily — issues that are different from the national political talking points. Our local issues are less defined by an R or a D than they are by helping our neighbors, making sure things run efficiently here at home, and making sure we’re listening to the little guy — our neighbors.

What skill set will you bring to the board of county commissioners to advocate for legislation that will positively impact the Grand County community?

I’m observant, and I try hard to listen to everybody. I’ve devoted most of my life to community service, as both a journalist and a volunteer for community service organizations. This ground-level view helps inform my direction and decisions.

People are trying to live, work and raise a family here. There are more than 700 locals looking for a place to live who cannot afford to do just that. Housing is a big problem here but 700 units does not sound like a huge number in the grand scheme of things. Three hundred kids need a place now for early education. Sure that’s a big hurdle, but can’t we put our heads and hearts together to solve that? And seniors, like everyone else, deserve housing security, whether they are trying to stay in their house on a fixed income or needing to move into a smaller, safe and hospitable place specifically designed to house seniors. I want to see people who want to invest in this community have a chance to stay. I will advocate for anything that serves those interests.

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