Q&A with Chris Richardson, candidate for Elbert County commissioner, District 1

Posted 10/6/20

Party: Republican Contact: Chris@Richardson4Elbert.com Occupation: County commissioner, retired U.S. Army colonel Why are you seeking to remain in this office? I care about Elbert County — its …

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Q&A with Chris Richardson, candidate for Elbert County commissioner, District 1

Posted

Party: Republican

Contact: Chris@Richardson4Elbert.com

Occupation: County commissioner, retired U.S. Army colonel

Why are you seeking to remain in this office?

I care about Elbert County — its citizens and our future. 

I first ran for this office because I felt positive change was needed — County leadership was in disarray, budget and finances were not receiving adequate attention, and citizens were not receiving the quality of service they deserved. 

During this term in office we have secured our county’s financial future, setting aside over $5 million in stability and contingency funds, increased transparency and communication with all citizens, expanded citizen services, and have dug deeply into quantifying our county’s future needs so we can plan wisely.

I am running again because although I know I have helped move our county in a positive direction, there is more work to be done and continuity is important.

What makes you the best person for the job? 

In a word, “experience.” There is a steep learning curve that comes with the job of Commissioner. Admittedly, there was a lot of learning in the first year in office. Three of us came to office at roughly the same time and just as we thought we were hitting our stride, we unexpectedly lost our county manager. The next six months allowed us to learn the inner workings of the county to a much higher level than most commissioners ever will. This grounding allowed us to respond rapidly and effectively to the situations we have faced since — the Forest Ridge Fire, the Bomb Cyclone, and now the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring county services to the citizens are uninterrupted.

How should growth in the county be
managed in the coming years?

It is no secret that Elbert County is growing. But, according to updated numbers from the office of the state demographer, that rate is considerably slower than was projected just for years ago. In 2016, the county was expected to reach over 72,000 residents by 2050 — a doubling of population. The most recent figures published at the end of last year now indicate that total population by that date will be 22,000 less. Or a rate of slightly less than 2% per year.  

What drives growth? Nearly 90% of those who work outside the home commute from the county to work. It has been said that, “Jobs drive growth and houses are where jobs go to sleep at night.” Almost all of our county’s growth has been driven by the job market in the metro Denver area. Though we have taken steps over the past four years to encourage economic activity in the county, our proximity to the metro will continue to be the primary driver for the foreseeable future.

My focus as commissioner in regard to growth is ensuring we have common sense, practical regulations that recognize property rights, support conservation of our aquifer waters, leads to improvements in our local road networks — both capacity and quality and, wherever possible, levy on developers the infrastructure costs associated with the impacts of their developments.  

What would be your biggest priority if reelected?

If entrusted with a second term — my goals remain unchanged: To serve the citizens of Elbert County honorably, professionally, and with a focus on preparing the county for a strong and vibrant future. The priority issues — plural as we can work on more than one thing at a time — are to continuously improve communication with citizens, conservation of our aquifer waters, improvements of roads, and financial position.

What else should voters know about you?

My military service has provided me with perspective. I have lived in many communities throughout the nation and around the world and we chose Elbert County as our forever home and the place to raise our daughter. After 13 moves in 23 years, this is where I will remain. I am committed to public service. Whether in office or continuing to volunteer for the many organizations I am currently involved in, I will always work to make us a stronger county.

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