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In June, a few weeks prior to the Chaffee 2022 Primary Election for Chaffee Board of County Commissioner (BoCC) District 3, Ark Valley Voice (AVV) sent the same five questions to the three candidates who had qualified for the ballot in their respective parties. Those candidates included: P.T. Wood, running on the Democratic ticket, and Alison Brown and Brandon Becker running on the Republican ticket.

Only one BoCC candidate, Dr. Alison Brown, answered the questions prior to the June 28 primary, and AVV, as promised, ran those responses. Wood has subsequently answered those questions and we provide his answers here.

Q. Why are you running for Chaffee County Commissioner?

“I was asked by a number of people to run for county commissioner and, after much consideration, I agreed to run because I feel I have the skills and experience to help guide our county.”

People used to meeting PT Wood in full beard got a shock during the COVID-19 pandemic when he shaved off his beard to don his face mask. The beard has since returned. Courtesy photo.

Q. What is your strongest qualification as a candidate; what makes you the best candidate at this time for this role?

“I have worked a variety of jobs from construction to service and owned businesses like Moonlight Pizza and Wood’s Distillery. My business relies on local employees, and my wife works in the service industry. So, I understand the challenges facing business owners and our local workers, especially our housing challenges. When you combine these life experiences with my years in local government, I am uniquely qualified to be Chaffee County Commissioner.

Specifically, I have 15 years of experience in local government, including over 10 years on the Salida Planning Commission and the Salida Regional Planning Commission. I served two terms as the Mayor of Salida, and I’ve also held leadership positions in the Colorado Distillers Guild, the American Craft Spirits Association, the AHRA Citizens Task Force, the Arkansas River Trust, FIBArk, and the five local businesses I’ve owned.

As Salida’s Mayor, I worked closely with the Chaffee County Board of Commissioners through both the Decker Fire and the COVID pandemic. This experience has prepared me to step in on day one to work effectively with both Commissioners Felt and Baker, county staff, and the municipalities as well as other elected officials at the local, state, and national levels.”

Q. What do you want to accomplish should you be selected as a county commissioner?

“I will continue to work closely with all levels of government, the business community, and especially the citizens to build the best possible Chaffee County. A top priority will be completing and implementing a concise, comprehensive, and thoughtful land-use code that respects and enhances personal property rights while preserving the character of our county.

I will work to ensure long-term economic and natural resource sustainability, especially when it comes to ensuring housing for locals and protecting our vital agricultural and water resources. As an effective leader, I will work across the spectrum of interests in the community to find the best solutions for the people of Chaffee County.”

Q. What is the greatest challenge facing Chaffee County, and what solutions are you proposing to address it?

“From growth, housing, and sustainability to water, land use, and infrastructure, we are facing a mountain of critical issues that will require a commissioner who is a problem solver, a good listener, and well-versed in a wide variety of issues that affect citizens.

As an example, I will continue building affordable-housing partnerships like we did in Salida to provide truly affordable housing – 48 units at Salida Ridge Apartments; eight units in Two Rivers; five units at Third and M streets; acquiring the property at First and D streets, which potentially could be 24 units; and 17 units at Jane’s Place, among others. These kinds of on-the-ground solutions are doable for a variety of challenges at the county level. It’s about convening the stakeholders, listening to their challenges and collaborating to get the job done.”

Q. What is your position regarding the possibility that Chaffee County (via the Chaffee Housing Authority and the Multijurisdictional Housing Authority)  may put a ballot question on raising county property taxes to fund workforce housing? Do you support it, or do you support another alternative, and if so, what is it?

“Chaffee County, and indeed much of the country, is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis, and the county needs to do everything it can to help alleviate the problem. One of the most important things we can do is ensure that the Chaffee County Housing Authority is fully funded. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

Since the ballot initiative has not been finalized, I will need to see how that shapes up and take a hard look at it before I decide if I can support it. As a community, we will have to decide how we want to allocate resources to sustain a diverse, authentic community with places for people to live and thrive.”

Republican candidate Brandon Becker has not yet responded to the questions posed by Ark Valley Voice.

Subsequent to asking these questions, Salida resident Adriane Kuhn pulled a petition to enter the race as an unaffiliated candidate, but at publishing time AVV has not been notified that she has qualified for the November general election ballot.