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Local Government

Commissioner Strikes Back, Defends Record, Denies Disconnect

San Miguel Basin Forum of Nucla, Colorado

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Elections for the office of County Commissioner are approaching, and current Commissioner David White makes no bones about why he feels he deserves re-election to the District 3 seat.

"Simply put, I bring reason, logic and common sense to the table," said White. "I can make a decision quickly as needed and do so in a deliberative way," he said. He takes the responsibility personally, stating that "Management or governance 'by committee doesn't make the cut at the end of the day."

In a term which has not been without challenges, White takes pride in his record and looks forward to continued opportunities to serve the County.

He considers it his primary job "To continue to stand up for the citizens of Montrose County against Federal and State governmental intrusion into local affairs; to see that the County continues on its path as laid out in the citizen driven strategic plan with economic development and job creation at the top of the list; to see a renewal in the West End of the county through the construction of the Pinon Ridge Mill and the opening of the area's mines in conjunction with securing water rights to ensure the long term survival of the West End of Montrose County and the economic vitality of the County as a whole.

"I will work to use the results of the newly implemented cost accounting financial system to produce better managed financial decisions." White considers himself a man of principle, and expresses a passion for effectively representing those who put him in office.

"I am willing to stand for what is right and to stand for something," he said. "Too many elected officials won't stand for the citizens they were elected to serve. We cannot have this in an elected official. The citizens have to expect more from us, but also be willing to be involved."

He is no newcomer to local politics, having been " elected official representing the people in two Colorado municipalities and currently the citizens of Montrose County," he said.

"It is not easy being a leader at any level," he continued, "but I have taken on the challenge and represented the citizens in ways that protects their interests and well-being as I am charged with doing." White's experience extends to non-political arenas as well.

He has been an entrepreneur and small business owner most of his adult life, having owned or managed several small to medium sized businesses. He feels that his private sector experience provides him with a realistic view of what the people he serves go through on a daily basis, as well as what they expect and deserve from an elected official. "I have struggled to meet payroll," he said. "I know what it is to spend the long hours necessary to be successful in private business and to make the sacrifices needed to support my family and community."

White bristles at suggestions that a lack of transparency exists between the current Board and its constituents. "Transparency," he said, "is the new 'buzz word' for clarity in government. I believe that transparency is the word that is being loosely used to replace publicity. When people talk about wanting transparency what they really have concern about is the lack of 'front page' news with regard to what the government is currently doing."

White maintains that clear communications with the public have been, and remain, a priority. "Montrose County government has NEVER been more open and clear in its operations than it is today. All information related to the County's budget, meetings, boards and commissions, etc., is available through postings in the local newspapers, the internet, public places, television, radio, etc. Our meetings are open to all concerned with County operations.The 'transparency' is there!" he said. He sees the issue as a two-way street, and emphasizes that people need to accept the responsibility of availing themselves of the resources available to them "The public has every opportunity to be a participant in their local government processes if they choose," he said.

White expresses a passionate interest in the continued development of the West End, and sees it as more than just an area of local importance. "The West End residents of Montrose County hold a special place in my heart and in the commitment I have to seeing the West End regain the place it once had in securing the security of our nation," he said. Again, he points to active communication and personal involvement as key. "Leah Christen (of the Nucla-Naturita Area Chamber of Commerce) told me four years ago that if I wanted the support of the West End, I had better be here for the citizens. That has stuck with me all these years and is with me today," he said. "I feel a kinship with so many West End residents and have done everything in my power to uphold the values and strength of those who live here. Whether it is supporting the area businesses, the mill, the coal mine, the power plant, the Basin Clinic, agriculture and ranching, I have been there for all of you."

He points to some of his past accomplishments as evidence of that commitment, including such issues as water rights, mining, and the Pinon Ridge Mill. "For less money than a mile of paved County road, we have been able to secure our (water) filing rights; identify, inspect and evaluate potential reservoir sites; block opposition from outside entities in San Miguel County and elsewhere," he said. "Mining, milling, ranching, agriculture, businesses, construction, etc., all need water to survive and operate. We MUST look to the future and secure it NOW. If we lose this opportunity, we lose the future." He believes that his record speaks for itself, and sees his experience on the Board of Commissioners as an invaluable asset moving forward.

"As a County Commissioner, I have been called upon daily to deal with issues related to the appointed boards and commissions that serve the citizens of the County; other local governments; the State government and the Federal government," he said. "I have acquired an enormous amount of knowledge on a multitude of issues and subjects ranging from budgets to County services; from County rules and regulations and those that come down from the State and Federal governments; from business development to job creation and growth, etc., that provide the basis for many of the decisions that have to be made as a member of the Board."

Original Publication Date: January 19, 2012

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