In the race for county commissioner from District 3 – the eastern and southern reaches of La Plata County – we support the re-election of Julie Westendorff.
The reason is experience. And not just the experience gained in the county office. She has been a municipal judge in Bayfield and a prosecutor for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Previous careers as an attorney and small-business owner have also played a part; she knows the landscape well.
Among her second-term goals is the completion of an updated Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code, a work in progress that promises a better reception than the one rejected in 2011.
She is also cognizant of the need to work within our economic realities: falling revenue from gas production, an uncertain jobs forecast and the highest cost of living in the Four Corners. She knows the challenges.
Best, she retains her enthusiasm and willingness to respond. In her words, “If I hire somebody for an important job, I don’t want (her) to say ‘I am going to be gone in four years.’ I have found, by listening patiently, that I am able to find middle ground where there doesn’t seem to be any.”
Westendorff’s opponent, Kayla Patterson, a first-time candidate for public office, is just as advertised by her supporters: “a breath of fresh air.”
Just 28, and motivated by an admirable sense of gratitude to the place of her birth, we hope she stays involved in the local political process because she has energy to burn and an inherent, loyal urge to do what is best for La Plata County.
She also has much to learn, especially the specific details that make solving complex issues so difficult. It does not serve the county for her to do that learning on the job.
Westendorff has demonstrated her ability to work in bipartisan fashion with her fellow commissioners for solutions.
To borrow from the harvest theme of autumn, there is no reason to upset the apple cart at this time.
Vote for Julie Westendorff for county commissioner.