LPEA race heats up with new challenger

Turner Enlarge photo

Turner

Election season for La Plata Electric Association will be competitive with one challenger already calling the cooperative’s leadership “too conservative” and out of touch with its membership.

During a campaign event at Carver Brewing Co. on Thursday, Jack D. Turner called himself “a centrist type who would be more reflective of this community.”

Turner said Britt Bassett, who won election to the LPEA board last year on a green platform, “elbowed him into the race.”

One-third of the 12-member board is elected annually to three-year terms.

A native of Durango and nephew of former Durango Municipal Judge David Turner, the 50-year-old candidate teaches geology and sociology at Southwest Community College but has worked with rural utilities as a representative for the Skokomish Tribe in Washington state.

Turner would face Herb Brodsky, who lost his re-election last year to renewable-energy candidate Heather Erb in a squeaker. Brodsky later was reappointed to the board to serve out the term of Pam Patton, who was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission last June by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Turner and Brodsky are competing for a District 4 (northern La Plata County) seat. Brodsky said it was too soon to comment.

“I will be interested to hear what (Turner) has to say,” Brodsky said in a telephone interview.

The member-owned cooperative primarily provides power for La Plata and Archuleta counties.

So far, incumbents Brodsky, Lindon Stewart for District 1 (Archuleta County) and Tom Compton for District 2 (southwest La Plata County) have returned petitions.

Harry Goff, the incumbent for District 3 (Durango), is not seeking re-election.

Michael Rendon, a former mayor of Durango, has said he’s for running for the Durango seat.

Petitions with 15 signatures are due by Wednesday to qualify for the LPEA ballot, which would be mailed to members April 19 and must be returned by May 10.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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