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Newly elected officials take oath of office in Cortez

Ertel, Suckla, Furse and Walker start new terms

Elected officials gathered Tuesday for what likely will be the last swearing-in ceremony in the Montezuma District Court building on Main Street.

A combined courthouse is being built on North Park Street near the county jail.

Judge Todd Plewe, of the 22nd Judicial District, thanked Montezuma County commissioners for their support of the courthouse project.

“It’s wonderful to see you all here,” Plewe said. “This is an important event.”

Plewe administered the oath of office to Judge Douglas Walker, who has served Montezuma and Dolores counties in Colorado’s 22nd Judicial District since 2007. On Nov. 8, county voters approved his retention for a six-year term by a vote of 6,278 to 4,003.

Plewe also presented Walker with a plaque signed by Colorado Chief Justice Nancy Rice honoring him for 20 years of service.

Walker assisted as commissioners Larry Don Suckla and Keenan Ertel, independents, took their oath of office, as well as 22nd District Attorney Will Furse, a Republican.

Suckla, Ertel and Furse all ran unopposed in November and are entering their second four-year terms.

Suckla said he is excited for his next term.

“What I would say for the people of Montezuma County is to hang on,” he said. “We have a lot of good ideas we’re going to pursue in the next few years.”

Ertel said it’s an exciting time as commissioners work on the court project and to carry on their policies of the past four years. He said he was grateful to voters and will work on making the county as responsible to the electorate as possible.

“In four more years, we will be able to complete more of our goals,” Ertel said.