The field for La Plata County commissioner continues to grow, even with the election more than nine months away.
Kenneth Root, a Durango engineer, announced his candidacy in an interview with The Durango Herald on Thursday. Root
intends to run as an unaffiliated candidate.
I feel that the timing is perfect for an unaffiliated candidate," Root said. I feel that people are ready for a
nonparty candidate to get things done."
Root, 56, serves on the Durango Design Review Board. His term ends later this month.
He served on the county Planning Commission from 2005-08.
I met a lot of people, and I learned my way around the county," he said of his time on the Planning Commission.
Root owns a small business, Kunert/Root, a Durango engineering firm. He graduated from the University of
Colorado-Denver with a degree in civil engineering.
This is his first try for elected office.
Root served in the Army in 1970-73 in Germany and Vietnam. He and his wife, Kay Kunert, have been married for 25
Root said he supported the county's natural-gas regulations for safety reasons.
I believe they were necessary, and it was done properly through committee over a period of time," he said.
Root declined to offer an opinion about the controversial Little Fishes project, which will involve the extraction of
soil and gravel before creating a series of fish-friendly ponds. The Board of County Commissioners approved the south
county project by a 2-1 vote in October.
The commissioners should make decisions based on the facts presented at the hearing," he said.
Root must collect 383 petition signatures from April 30 to June 15 to make the Nov. 2 ballot.
Also seeking election to the county seat are Republican Bobby Lieb and Democrats Jeff Mannix, Chris Dolphin, Scott
Graham and Bruce Baizel.
Incumbent Joelle Riddle is suing for ballot access. She disaffiliated from the Democratic Party last year and missed a
crucial party deadline to make the ballot. She also cannot make the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate because of the
Democrat Wally White and Republican Kellie Hotter round out the board.
Root said he wants to be on the board to work on land-use issues and support small businesses.
We are the people," he said. It's time to have a commissioner that will represent the people not based on party