RBC I Former Rio Blanco Sheriff Si Woodruff will be challenging incumbent Rio Blanco County Commissioner Jeff Eskelson for primary ballot access at the Republican County Assembly on Saturday.
Each candidate will need to receive at least 30 percent of the 55 delegate votes available to appear on the June primary ballot.
Woodruff expressed frustration with the current board of commissioners as a key factor in his decision to run.
“I think I can represent the people of this county how they want to be represented,” he said. “The commissioners we have seated now don’t act and respond to the public as elected officials. As commissioners, they need to communicate with the people, including the employees.
“Commissioners can and should be on different boards, but they need first and foremost to respond to the public who elected them,” Woodruff said. “Boards and meetings are necessary if something is truly accomplished.”
Woodruff sites budgetary items he believes the commissioners have not completely discussed with the public.
“An example is the commissioners having trailer parking spaces installed at the fairgrounds,” he said. “Isn’t this competing with the local trailer parks?
“Again, the commissioners need to communicate with the public,” Woodruff said. “How about let’s get off the race track and regroup after we complete these projects—the justice center, the courthouse, the social service building in Rangely and broadband?”
If elected, Woodruff describes a theme of maintaining current assets.
“I will maintain the infrastructure we have in place such as roads, buildings, equipment, services and employees,” he said.
“They also need to keep the employees informed, so they don’t have to read in the newspaper when their offices will be removed from the courthouse for the remodel, which happened. By all means attempt to keep the public informed and if this means paying for newspaper space to explain what’s taking place, then we should do so.”
“We have the funds to hopefully maintain our infrastructure during these hard times if we spend wisely and don’t attempt to purchase our way into prosperity,” Woodruff said. “I’m for economic development, but decisions should be based on facts. We’re not buying blue sky.
“During the ‘80s, we hoped Lyn Mar Tool Co. would help Meeker,” he said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t; then it was a spa tub company. Again, unfortunately, it didn’t happen either.
“Although the intent was fantastic, the businesses couldn’t make it,” Woodruff said. “Let’s protect what we have, then move forward.
“In the 1980s, we survived by cutting budgets, capital expenses and still served the public,” he said. “We always balanced the budgets. Many people believe this could be much worse than the ‘80s, and, thanks to the forethought of previous elected officials, we have some serious funding to use if necessary.”
Woodruff has been employed with the various law enforcements within the county and town of Meeker since 1977.
“I may have never been a commissioner, but they hadn’t been either, nor were they a patrolman, a chief of police or sheriff,” he said. “I’m accustomed to working with town and county attorneys as we pay them for advice and to protect the county. The commissioners should listen and follow the instructions.”
Delegates chosen from each of the Rio Blanco precincts will make their choice on Saturday. Should each candidate receive the minimum 30 percent of votes, they would each appear on the ballot, leaving the decision up to the county Republicans in the June primary since there are no Democrat challengers.
If candidates receive more than 10 percent of the vote but less than 30, they will still have the option of completing a petition process to get on the ballot.