Commissioner races now contested

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Unaffiliated, Democratic candidates file paperwork to challenge Niece, Peters

  • Ned Bosworth of Ridgway is running as an unaffiliated candidate for commissioner and filed his paperwork recently to run for office. Carolina Brown — Ouray County Plaindealer
    Ned Bosworth of Ridgway is running as an unaffiliated candidate for commissioner and filed his paperwork recently to run for office. Carolina Brown — Ouray County Plaindealer
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Two more candidates have filed paperwork to officially enter the county commissioners’ races – and one will oppose incumbent John Peters and the other will challenge Democrat Jake Niece for term-limited Chairman Don Batchelder’s seat.

Ridgway resident Ned Starbuck Bosworth has entered the race to fill Batchelder’s seat in District 3. Bosworth is unaffiliated and filed his candidate affidavit with the Secretary of State’s office on May 20.

Bosworth has worked in Ouray County in landscape architecture and environmental design since 1981. The 65-year-old has lived all over the country but has called Ridgway home for the last four decades. Ridgway has been his permanent home for 11 years.

Bosworth serves on the board of the Ridgway Fire Department, Ouray Beautification Committee, Public Art Ridgway Colorado and has been involved with many other Ridgway committees over the years.

Bosworth said he has always been an unaffiliated voter and does not consider himself a political person. He has a degree in landscape architecture and land planning. He served as vice president of the California chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, during which time he said he was politically active with urban issues in southern California.

Bosworth describes himself as a fiscal conservative and an environmentalist who looks to the center for solutions. He strives to study issues such as mental health to better address them as a community.

“I have always seen the two-party system as conflicting with problem solving,” Bosworth said. “I am unaffiliated because that’s how I think, and that’s how I think problems are solved.”

Over the years, Bosworth said friends and acquaintances have asked him to run for office based on his reputation for problem solving. He said he feels the opportunity fits with his experience.

“It tied directly into my personal skill sets and training. Also, I know the master plan is coming up for it’s 10-year review and that is exactly what I do.”

His main goal for the county is to address growth in various ways including dealing with water, waste and housing.

Bosworth believes it is important for a commissioner to study how their community is changing and strive for a sense of balance. Policy, he said, should not be based on the expectation of constant, steady growth, but rather on the “ongoing need to direct intelligent, realistic growth.”

“Growth in a community is not limited to how big you are, how many people are in the county, or how many businesses. Communities can grow in what I think are much more important ways: in education, the health of the community, how happy the people are,” Bosworth said.

Relating the role of a commissioner to his occupation as a land planner, Bosworth said it is better to look at situations as conditions that might be optimised or adjusted rather than a series of problems. “That’s where solutions come from,” he said.

Bosworth said it is important to not get stuck in a cycle of perpetual planning.

“We have got to remove some of the conflict, find healthy compromises and move ahead. That’s what I feel like I can really add to this scenario.”

Bosworth believes he has a historical feel for how this county has changed in some ways and hasn’t changed in others over the last four decades.

The change he has been most pleased to see is the return of the “missing demographic” of younger people over the last 20 years. He said the influx of young families necessitates the need to address affordable housing, and he said he feels that having a good community means that the people who work in it can live there.

Bosworth said he intends to devote his full attention to serving the community if he’s elected, but also plans on maintaining his business.

“My intent is to put all of my time into being a commissioner,” Bosworth said.

Bosworth said he loves his work and if elected may selectively take on smaller, fun projects like the disc golf course he designed at Top of the Pines near Ridgway but will decline larger projects.

Meanwhile, Democrat Steven Hilbert filed his candidate affidavit with the Secretary of State’s office earlier this week to run against Peters in District 1. According to the Secretary of State’s TRACER campaign finance database, Hilbert filed paperwork on May 28. However, Hilbert was chosen as a candidate by the local Democratic party at the caucuses on March 7.

According to Colorado campaign finance laws, a candidate is required to file a candidate affidavit with the state within 10 days of announcing he will run for office.

Public announcement includes, but is not limited to making statements a person would expect to become public showing an interest in a public office by means of a speech, advertisement, or other communication reported to or appearing in public media or any place that is accessible to the public. It also includes a stated intention to explore the possibility of seeking an office and/or the registration of a candidate committee.

It’s the candidate’s responsibility to file this affidavit electronically with the state.

Hilbert declined a request from the Plaindealer for an interview.

He has been registered to vote in Ouray County since 2014, and used an address on Pleasant Point Drive to file his candidate paperwork with the state.

Editor's note: This story is a different version than the one that appeared in the print edition of the Plaindealer this week. Due to an editing error, the print version of the story included inaccurate information about candidate Hilbert. There is a Steven A. Hilbert who owns property in San Miguel County and served briefly on the Mountain Village Town Council. Steven R. Hilbert is a registered voter in Ridgway and is running for county commissioner in Ouray County.