Hayden mayor announces run for county commissioner
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Hayden’s mayor has thrown his hat in the race for Routt County commissioner in the 2020 election.
Mayor Tim Redmond announced his campaign during a speech in front of the Hayden Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 29. He is vying for the District 2 seat, currently held by Commissioner Doug Monger.
Redmond described three main issues he plans to focus on in his campaign: mental health, water and — most importantly, in his view — economic diversification.
As to the first issue, Redmond described a recent conversation with his son Jack, a college student. His son asked if he knew the leading cause of death for Colorado teens.
“I assumed it was going to be accidental deaths — car accidents, for example,” Redmond said.
He was surprised to learn the answer is suicide.
In light of this, Redmond seeks to prioritize the expansion of mental health services in Routt County. Communities across the state have long suffered from a lack of such services. He aims to break down stigmas surrounding mental health issues, which he said can prevent people from seeking help.
Water issues also have been a statewide concern. As demands grow and scientists predict drought conditions to worsen, legal battles have ensued over water usage.
“I want to make sure our current needs and our future needs will be protected,” Redmond said.
But the mayor’s highest priority, if elected as commissioner, would be easing the transition away from coal, something is becoming a harsh reality for many Routt County residents. The Hayden Station has plans to close within the next 20 years, according to previous Steamboat Pilot & Today reporting.
“It’s frightening to think that the (Hayden School District) gets 36% of its tax revenue from the power plant,” Redmond said. “If that goes away, that’s a huge bite.”
Redmond’s commissioner campaign announcement comes a month after Gov. Jared Polis appointed Redmond to the Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on energy policy. Redmond sees his seat on the committee as a way to ensure the region is represented at the state level.
“I feel the West Slope has been underrepresented in the Capitol,” he said. “I want to represent these small communities to make sure they get their due.”
He will travel to Denver on Feb. 11 for a Colorado Senate confirmation hearing.
To soften the blow of the divestment from coal, Redmond wants to find ways to diversify the local economy. During his time as mayor, Hayden has invited new industries, such as a hemp processing facility, and looked for creative solutions to offer more community services.
Hayden School Board President Brian Hoza has been working with Redmond over the last month in an attempt to repurpose the soon-to-be-vacant high school as a community center. If successful, it would be the town’s first public space to offer a range of amenities, from a child care to a fitness space to an entertainment venue for concerts and performances.
Hoza applauded the mayor’s efforts to foster more collaboration among local leaders to find creative ways to grow and improve the town.
“He certainly always has the community needs in mind,” Hoza said.
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Routt County voters will have the option to elect new school board members, city and town council members and choose whether or not to support three state ballot initiatives in the Nov. 2 election.