Turning a new leaf in 2020: Routt County leaders discuss their New Year’s resolutions
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new year has arrived, and with it, the tradition of setting resolutions to improve one’s life or the lives of others.
Sticking to the commitment of taking more trips to the gym or spending less time on social media can seem herculean a few weeks or even days into January 2020, but dreams can’t come true if people don’t dream them to begin with.
To commemorate the start of a new decade, Steamboat Pilot & Today asked local leaders about their goals, both personal and professional, for 2020.
Jason Lacy, president of Steamboat Springs City Council
Jason Lacy has always been a high-achiever, a trait he attributes to his childhood in rural Kentucky where his parents valued hard work. The lesson stuck. As Steamboat Springs City Council president and an attorney with Steamboat Lawyers Group, it is not uncommon for Lacy to log 14 hours on the job.
“It’s getting harder to find good time for family and personal time,” he said.
That is why Lacy has set a resolution of finding more balance between work and his personal life in 2020. To that end, he plans to unplug from his phone more often and focus on quality time with his three sons and wife, Dervla.
Lacy also wants to exercise more regularly, penciling in workouts amid his busy work schedule.
“It’s amazing how time gets away from me,” he said.
Professionally, Lacy aims to be a role model for civility. This goal came about in reaction to the national political environment and what he sees as a deterioration of well-mannered discourse. He voiced disappointment with the conduct of polarized politicians and wants to set a better example.
“We need to find ways to disagree in the right way,” Lacy said.
Beth Melton, chair of Board of Routt County Commissioners
Beth Melton, who chairs the Board of Routt County Commissioners, has devoted much of her leadership to improving access to local child care. It makes sense that her professional goal for 2020 is to increase the availability of open spots in child care programs for infants and toddlers.
Last year, Melton calculated facilities in Routt County could only care for about 15% of infants and toddlers in Routt County who needed such services. She bases that need on the number of parents in the workforce, which can be a hard thing to balance if they cannot take their child to a care center.
Personally, Melton wants to read more books. In 2019, she managed to finish one book every month and wants to surpass that number in the New Year. One of her favorite books she recently finished was Amber Tamblyn’s “The Era of Ignition,” which Melton described as a feminist manifesto about engaging in politics in the modern era.
Speaking of politics, Melton also has set a goal of knocking on 500 doors to campaign for Democratic candidates. She is not supporting any particular candidates but sees door-to-door canvassing as a valuable way to reach people.
“I just really believe in community organizing and engaging one on one with voters,” she said.
Cory Christensen, police chief of the Steamboat Springs Police Department
Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen is not one to make New Year’s resolutions. Like many people who set lofty goals, he does not like making a commitment he cannot live up to.
But in 1982, Christensen made a resolution that he has kept to his day: wearing his seat belt. He was serving in the Marine Corps at the time, stationed in southern California. His superiors would give safety briefings before long weekends, one of which included the life-saving potential of wearing seat belts.
“Every once in a while, I remind myself of the promise I made back then,” Christensen said.
Looking to the coming months, he also wants to take more vacation time with some nudging from his wife, Marnie.
“I only took one week off in 2019,” Christensen said.
In particular, he wants to take his new Jeep Wrangler, which he bought at the start of the summer, on more off-road excursions.
“I tell you what, it’s fun to drive,” Christensen said.
Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way
Running a nonprofit can be arduous work, so Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way, did not have the time to think about setting a resolution until New Year’s Eve. After a few minutes of soul-searching, Nowak said she wants to be better about managing her finances.
“I want to be the master of my money and not have my money be the master of me,” she said.
To achieve her goal, Nowak plans to participate in a financial literacy course at the Yampa Valley Bank starting Jan. 14. The regimen of two-hour workshops, organized by the bank and several nonprofits, including her own, is meant to help people be more savvy with their money.
More generally, Nowak offered not so much a New Year’s resolution but a wish.
“I would love for everybody to live their best life,” she said.
Now those are some words worth sticking to.
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