RBC I Former Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff formally announced his intention to seek election to the position of Rio Blanco county commissioner from District 3. Incumbent Jeff Eskelson is seeking re-election. Both men are Republicans.
Woodruff believes his knowledge of the local people and their needs qualify him for the job.
“I know the people and would represent them,” he said. “I know almost all the elected officials, department heads and employees of the county. I believe this is a time to conserve funds and simply protect the infrastructure we already have—roads, buildings, departments, employees, etc.”
If elected, Woodruff says he would like to change the fiscal habits of the county.
“The priority would be to quit spending our funds and prepare as best we can for tougher times, as we did in the ’80s,” he said. “We knew financially for the last five years that revenues were decreasing. We didn’t replace deputies when the slowdown started but kept funding in the budgets if it was required to rehire.”
Woodruff does not appear worried that he may not receive 30 percent of the delegate vote at the county assembly, which is required to make the primary ballot.
“Delegates in Rio Blanco County want the voters to decide who wins, not for the delegates to decide,” he said.
When asked if he would seek to petition onto the primary ballot should he fail to receive enough delegate votes, Woodruff responded, “Yes, I would, but with only two of us (running) the delegates will try to make sure we’re both on the ballot.”
Woodruff’s running for county commissioner will have implications to the former county employee’s retirement if he is elected.
Woodruff says he would stop receiving his retirement funds while serving, instead choosing to be a “participant in the system.”
Woodruff said he also acknowledges the inherent differences in his previous role as sheriff and the one he now seeks.
Woodruff says he welcomes the opportunity to be more open with the public than he was able to be in his prior job.
“Law enforcement was very restricted in what we could and couldn’t say,” he said.
As a commissioner, he says he would strive to be “open and factual.”
“The public will accept what’s going on when they understand the situation,” Woodruff said. “They may not agree, but they will understand.”
Delegates to the County Assembly will determine which candidates make it onto the June primary ballot on March 12.