The list of people who think they can bring change to La Plata County politics from District 3 is growing.
Harry Baxstrom, a longtime Bayfield-based veterinarian, announced his candidacy Tuesday for La Plata County commissioner. He is one of four people who have so far thrown their hats into the ring.
I hope to provide rational solutions to the problems we have, Baxstrom said from the La Plata County Clerk and Recorders office just before filing his official paperwork.
Baxstrom, a Republican who failed an attempt to take the District 3 county commissioner seat from the then-Democratic incumbent Wally White four years ago, said he learned much from the last election experience and feels the county now, more than ever, needs someone with his moderate approach to problem solving.
Last time was a great educational experience, and I have gained more knowledge and am more qualified now, Baxstrom said.
White, who holds the District 3 post now, has reached term limits and cannot campaign for the seat.
The issues are now being argued by the partisan fringes. We need to make rational choices in our government, not decisions based on ideological extremes and partisanship, Baxstrom said.
Friends and supporters echoed the sentiments.
Hes the type of person we need to get away from the (partisan) fringes, said longtime friend Bill Plested. Most of us arent in those fringes.
Plested and supporter Ann McCoy Harold were quick to point out his strengths as a person and community member.
He is the smartest and most caring man I know, McCoy Harold said. And, he knows whats going on in this county.
Baxstrom, 63, is a lifelong resident of Southwest Colorado, growing up in Cortez and later graduating from Fort Lewis College.
He has lived in La Plata County since 1966, with the exception of some time spent away in the military and for additional college. He has been married to his wife, Donnalee, for 44 years.
The father of two and grandfather of two works as a traveling veterinarian. He opened Pine River Veterinary Service in Bayfield in 1978, and customers such as Plested said his work often leads to conversations beyond local livestock and animals into the plights and concerns local residents are facing.
Energy, environment and the economy will be among Baxstroms campaign platforms this year, he said.
We have to address these issues, Baxstrom said, There hasnt been an economic turnaround like some are saying. I think were still facing a severe depression and we need to face it on a local level.
Also running for the District 3 post are: Roger Pennington, a Republican; and Democrats David Black and Julie Westendorff.
County commissioners are elected at-large for four-year terms and are paid an annual salary of $72,500.