Former Steamboat council member announces bid for Routt County commissioner

Former Steamboat Springs Council Member Sonja Macys, pictured here with local legend Ray Heid, announced her bid for Routt County Commissioner.
Sonja Macys/Courtesy

Former Steamboat Springs City Council Member Sonja Macys is running for Routt County Commissioner this November, hoping to join the board at a time when she sees a lot of opportunity locally.

Macys, who is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the seat, was first elected to council in 2011, holding a seat until 2015. Macys was elected again to council in 2017 and served until the new council was elected last year.

“There’s a lot of opportunity right now for Northwest Colorado and specifically Routt County,” Macys said, referencing federal funding options available. “I think it’s important for county commissioners to play a proactive role in securing those financial resources.”

Macys is the first to announce candidacy in the commissioner race, following incumbent Commissioner Beth Melton’s announcement Tuesday that she would not seek reelection. The District 3 seat is completely within the city limits of Steamboat Springs, and candidates need to live within the district, though the entire county votes for commissioners.

Running for commissioner has long felt like the natural next step, Macys said. Throughout her career, Macys said she has routinely tried to expand her work to appeal across the county.

While executive director of Yampatika, Macys said not only did she focus on creating a robust environmental literacy program, but expanding it to include children outside of Steamboat, as well. While there, she also wanted to give Steamboat children an opportunity to participate in 4-H through the Legacy Ranch.

More recently, Macys was part of getting Routt County to adopt a climate action plan and a collaborative effort between the city, county and other regional partners to install solar panels across the Yampa Valley.

“I’ve always had this bigger view of what is important,” Macys said. “I’ve always tried to pull people from all reaches of the county together around the opportunities that are available, and I just think it’s such an amazing time to be considering doing that as a county commissioner.”

In addition to the $5 million in federal aid, the county is due from the American Rescue Plan Act, Macys said there are a lot of infrastructure opportunities of which the next county commissioner would be an integral part. Increasing broadband access, developing more regional transportation and electrifying vehicle fleets are each infrastructure priorities Macys espouses.

Supporting the workforce is another priority, which to Macys means ensuring they create a livable working environment locally. That means ensuring there is access to housing, affordable housing and reasonable transportation. She also want to help grow economies in Routt County’s smaller towns, so people could live and work in the same community if they wanted to.

Macys indicates in her press release that she’s been endorsed by current State House Rep. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat from Avon, and former Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush.

Macys is currently an engineering technician with the Colorado Division of Water Resources. She says working on water and climate issues has dominated much of her career. Fire and drought are the most notable affects of climate change locally, and Macys said commissioners need to take an active role to address these issues.

“I am super concerned about the future of ranching in Routt County,” Macys said. “Commissioners have a responsibility to help ranchers who have incredible stressors right now.”

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