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Monger keeps commissioner seat

Tamera Manzanares

For months, Doug Monger has helped nurture major projects such as the new justice center and improvements to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

On Tuesday, voters decided to keep Monger in the District 2 county commissioner seat to, he hopes, see those projects to completion.

Monger kept his seat representing West Routt County by a comfortable margin, beating Republican challenger Jeff Fry. With 18 precincts, early and absentee ballots counted, Monger had received 64 percent of the vote, Fry had received 36 percent, and write-in candidate Cheriene Marchus had received no votes. West Routt precincts had not reported.

“I felt good about the campaign,” said Monger, who lives near Hayden and has served as the District 2 county commissioner since 2000. “I commend Jeff for his campaign. I thought he ran a good campaign, as well.”

Fry, who said he was surprised he didn’t receive more support from early voters, commended Monger for running a clean campaign.

“Congratulations to Doug,” Fry said. “He ran a really good, clean campaign. … I wish him continued success on his next four years.”

Looking back, Fry said he thought the Routt County Democratic Party did a much better job of promoting its candidates than the local Republican Party.

“I think that’s something we, as a Republican party, need to change around in 2008,” he said.

During his campaign, Monger emphasized his experience as commissioner and his involvement in the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and state steering committees. It was one of his biggest selling points in the campaign, he said.

“I’m just really happy so far with the support of the community. … I was happy with the results from my campaign fundraising,” Monger said Tuesday while waiting for complete election results.

The last campaign reporting period indicated Monger had spent the most money he raised in his campaign, with about $9,200 in contributions and about $8,300 spent. Monger noted that he limited individual donations to $250.

Fry reported spending about $5,600 of the $6,580 he received.

Conservative spending in the face of declining resources was a prominent point throughout Monger’s campaign. He said his spending priorities would include building and funding the justice center as economically as possible, funding pools for the purchase of new equipment and continuing improvements on the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

“I think the community and the county believes that we are on the right track and we are making headway in issues important to the community. … I feel very proud I’ll be in a place to complete the projects we’ve begun,” Monger said.

A major county project, the justice center, is on hold and awaiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final approval of a wetlands permit for the proposed west Steamboat site. Although Monger has asserted the western location is the best site, he has said all options — including revisiting the downtown location on Sixth Street or finding new property west of Steamboat — would have to be considered if the permit is denied.

Fry, who is a 1976 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School and has a small cattle ranch near Hayden, beat former Routt County Building Chief Mark Marchus in the Republican primary in August.

Throughout his campaign, Fry stressed the need for new leadership that takes better care of taxpayers’ money. Fry was particularly critical of the cost of the planned justice center, arguing that the money to pay for the center would come from other budgets and departments.

As owner of Bear’s Ears Excavation, Fry emphasized his construction experience would provide valuable insight into development decisions. The importance of maintaining and improving roads and bridges in the county, particularly with more chip-and-seal, was another emphasis in Fry’s campaign.

Fry said his spending priorities would have included funding health and human service programs such as the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice and First Impressions early child care education programs.

A political newcomer, Fry’s loss likely won’t deter further political ambitions.

“2008 is on the radar,” he said.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com


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