Montezuma County commissioner candidate Steve Chappell wants to retain the agricultural roots of the county and support Christian conservative values.
The hunting outfitter grew up in the county and has a background in farming and business. He is running as an unaffiliated candidate for District 1.
The race includes Jim Candelaria, who won the spot on the Republican primary ballot, and Democrat Mary Beth McAfee.
Chappell is the son of Steve Chappell Sr., who served two terms as county commissioner.
“I learned a lot from my dad, like learning by being a good listener and staying true to your values,” he said.
Chappell said he is eager to serve the people of Montezuma County and believes his business background gives him the experience to make practical decisions for the county.
“I believe in maintaining a business-friendly economic atmosphere in this county,” he said. “Keeping agriculture viable is key to retaining our rural lifestyle.”
Alfalfa, beans, wheat and cattle ranching are the foundation of the county, he said, “and have proven success.”
“I also support the oil and gas industry,” he said. “Kinder Morgan has been very good to this county.”
Chappell sees solar farms as a way to diversify the county’s economy and generate clean energy. Outdoor recreation contributes to the economy, but he said he would need more convincing before supporting the proposed 17-mile Paths to Mesa Verde trail between Cortez and Mancos.
“I’m not sure the economic benefits outweigh the costs,” he said.
While pro business and agriculture, Chappell rejects marijuana and supports the ban on retail and commercial marijuana operations in the unincorporated county.
“The drug causes a lot of problems for adults and harms our youths, limiting their potential,” he said.
Chappell describes himself as “a proud Christian and conservative to the core.” He is a strong advocate of private property rights, the Constitution, access to public lands and gun rights.
“I believe that people have the right to do as they please on their property,” he said. “I also feel the current land use codes are reasonable and not in need of any major overhaul.”
On the Second Amendment, he stated, “I believe God created each of us to enjoy the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness free from undue government restrictions. At the core of this is the right of our law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
If elected, he said he would continue to address the issue of protecting McPhee Reservoir from invasive mussels, while also securing improved access for locals and visitors.
“I’m skilled at listening to people’s concerns, researching and finding creative solutions to problems,” Chappell said. “People can count on me as trustworthy, approachable and loyal to our county.”