Two of the three Boulder County Commissioner’s seats are up for grab this year, and it’s all but given that whoever secures the Democratic Party’s nomination will end up winning the election. In District 1 (which includes the city of Boulder as far east as Foothills, see this map) we are losing former Boulder mayor Will Toor, who has served two terms — the maximum allowed. Vying for his place are Elise Jones and Garry Sanfaçon. On June 1st, PLAN Boulder County held a lively candidate forum, moderated by Alan Boles.
My notes are necessarily an incomplete record of the exchange. Unless otherwise indicated by quotation marks, the words below represent my paraphrasing of the candidates statements.
As an introduction, Boles first asked: Who are you, and why are you running?
Elise Jones responded that given the political situation at the state and national level, she felt local politics is where important changes are likely to happen. She cited her 8 years on the Boulder Planning Board, and more than 20 years working on environmental protection statewide as relevant experience, giving her an intimate understanding of land use issues. She stated that she is the only candidate with experience working to regulate the oil and gas industry, and that this has been one of her primary focuses over the last decade, “Ever since Dick Cheney declared war on the West.” She was supportive of ending GMO use on county open space, and highlighted climate change as the single largest looming issue facing us (and the world) today, especially given the occurrence this year of some of the warmest, driest spring months on record.
Garry Sanfaçon spoke about his son who just graduated from Nederland High School. He wants his son to be able to move back to Boulder County some day, and the importance of making sure that we have both jobs and affordable housing to make it possible for regular folks to keep living here. He highlighted his experience working for the county as the Fourmile Canyon Fire recovery director, as a member of the Boulder County Planning Commission, and as a visioning facilitator for various organizations. Sanfaçon stated that he’s the candidate taking the “strongest positions” on GMOs and fracking, and said that if elected he “would vote to ban them on day one.”
From the looks exchanged during the introduction, it became clear pretty quickly that fracking was going to be a hot issue, and Boles went directly to it asking: Fracking appears to be a state regulatory issue, and the state is currently dropping the ball. What can we really do about it, from a legal point of view?