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Montezuma County commissioner forum is tonight in Cortez

Ballots have been sent out for the June 28 primary election. There will be a candidate forum for the Montezuma County Commissioner District 1 seat Thursday, June 9, at the Empire Electric Association building at 6:30 p.m.
Three Republican candidates for District 1 will be asked about local issues

The League of Women Voters will host a candidate forum for Montezuma County Commissioner District 1 candidates at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Empire Electric Calvin Denton Room, 801 North Broadway, Cortez.

The Republican candidates are incumbent Jim Candelaria and challengers Tim Lanier and Elizabeth Tozer.

Jim Candelaria
Tim Lanier
Liz Tozer

They are on the Republican ballot for the June 28 primary election. The winner will go on the November general election ballot and likely will win the seat.

No Democrats are running. Unaffiliated candidates could petition onto the November ballot, but none have said they would run.

Montezuma County Clerk Kim Percell said 18,398 ballots have been mailed.

For the forum, 10 questions on local issues were presented to the three candidates in advance, said Karen Sheek, president of the Montezuma County League of Women Voters.

“We wanted to give them time to think about the important issues facing this county,” she said.

Questions focus on the county’s challenges, including wildfire mitigation, a proposed county sales tax, economic development, the fentanyl crisis, government collaboration and the labor shortage.

Each candidate will have two minutes for an opening statement, then two minutes to answer each question. The candidates also will give closing statements.

Afterward, members of the audience will be allowed to ask questions.

Sheek said the forum is only for the contested District 1 commissioner seat.

Republican Gerald Koppenhafer is running unopposed for the District 3 seat of the Montezuma County Board of County Commissioners and will be on the November general ballot. He was appointed to replace the late Commissioner Joel Stevenson.

Once elected, Koppenhafer will serve the remainder of Stevenson’s term, which expires in 2024.