Bobby Lieb announced his candidacy for La Plata County commissioner Tuesday, pledging to keep jobs in the county while
dealing with the local government's looming budget crisis.
A familiar face in local business and politics, Lieb, a Republican, was flanked by his wife, Meredith, and three
children as he spoke just inside the front doors of the County Courthouse.
Let me have this job so I can help you keep yours," he said.
A 1984 Durango High School graduate, Lieb, 44, recently resigned from Durango Commercial Development to run for
commissioner. The development company seeks to build a business park near Durango-La Plata County Airport.
He has served as vice president of Durango Threadworks, a family company; and as executive director of La Plata
Economic Development Action Partnership and the Durango Chamber of Commerce.
About 20 supporters gathered for Lieb's announcement.
I think he understands economic development, he understands jobs, he understands business," said Denny Ehlers, a local
Lieb said he wants to improve the county's retention of Fort Lewis College graduates, who often leave to find jobs. We
are bleeding the future of this county," he said.
Lieb's father, Bob, served as commissioner from 1999 to 2007. He proudly held a video camera as Bobby Lieb announced
He knows as well as anybody what's ahead of him," the elder Lieb said.
La Plata County faces steep declines in tax revenue from state government and declining natural-gas production. Lieb
said he is up to the task.
The heyday of oil and gas production in La Plata County is over indefinitely, and we have done nothing to prepare," he
Lieb is the only Republican in the race. The crowded Democratic field is composed of Jeff Mannix, Chris Dolphin, Scott
Graham and Bruce Baizel.
Joelle Riddle, who holds the seat, is suing for ballot access. She disaffiliated from the Democratic Party last year
and missed a crucial party deadline to make the ballot.
Wally White, a Democrat, and Kellie Hotter, a Republican, round out the current commission. Commissioners make a
$72,500 annual salary.
Candidates for the District 1 seat must live in the western county district, but voters from throughout the county may
cast ballots in the Nov. 2 election.