In the race for La Plata County commissioner in District 3, one candidate stands out for his multiple leadership roles in his community. Matt Salka has been Bayfield’s mayor and the secretary of the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, the organization that advocates for economic development for La Plata County.
While Salka was mayor, Bayfield joined with the La Plata-Archuleta Water District to expand Bayfield’s water plant. Water lines were replaced and Bayfield added about 50 new building lots. In addition, the Mill Street renovation project brought new vitality to that historic main street.
Salka has been in La Plata County for 20 years and owns two small businesses. His father had been a department head for the city of Durango.
Salka knows water infrastructure, smart development, grant-writing and economic development. He sees an especially bright future for Bayfield.
Salka’s opponent, Charly Minkler, deserves credit for gaining the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. That required signature-gathering, made difficult by the virus, and gave voters a contest they would not have had otherwise.
Minkler is a fourth-generation Coloradan and has been in the county since 1982. He is a homebuilder and has served on the county’s planning commission for six years, during the time the county regrouped to eventually create the very recently adopted land-use plan. He also has led the La Plata-Archuleta Farm Bureau, an engaged organization with strong rancher and farmer membership.
Minkler identifies himself as a moderate conservative.
Both Salka and Minkler profess the need for planned growth and the creation and retention of good-paying jobs.
Minkler had been a Republican, but his unaffiliated status now has allowed him to reach to the center. La Plata County can benefit from lower and fewer political party boundaries at times, the Herald’s editorial board believes.
Minkler made this commission seat a race, and has devoted countless hours to the county’s land use plan. But Salka has played a major role in improving Bayfield’s future and knows countywide economic development. The board likes Salka for commissioner in District 3.