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Dear Editor,

I have known Keith Baker for the past ten years. In that time, we’ve paddled the Arkansas River together with fellow veterans and traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressmen and Senators to gain support for Browns Canyon National Monument. Keith helped lead that successful effort as executive director of Friends of Browns Canyon. The years of hard work put in by Keith and his team created a beautiful wilderness legacy of 22,000 acres, forever protected in Chaffee County.

In the time I worked and played with Keith, I have been impressed with his level of commitment, knowledge of the issues, preparation and attention to detail, all the while keeping true to his easy-going, friendly nature. Keith has served Chaffee County well in his first term as Commissioner, just as he served the town of Buena Vista as Trustee before that.

Service to others is a theme in Keith’s life as he has served his town, his county and his country. His career as a Naval officer prepared him well for this current position. As a veteran myself, and past president of Veterans Expeditions, Keith and I often talked about the concept of “second service”, a time after our military commitment ended when we felt it important give back to fellow veterans and our community. I appreciate that Keith has carried the honor and integrity that is required of all service members into his civilian pursuits.

The oath we took to the Constitution at our enlistment does not end with our term of service. I have a deep abiding trust in Keith Baker to hear all sides, understand the issues, vote in the best interests of the county and to communicate his reasoning. His dedication to the county is known by his long-standing as a Chaffee County resident, businessman, and elected official.

There are major challenges facing Chaffee County in the coming years, from affordable housing, ensuring that our inevitable growth follows sustainable planning and increasing employment opportunities. We need proven leadership. Now is not the time to pick a political outsider with little relevant experience, no clear policy, and no real history with the county. We need Keith to continue the mission. If you doubt what I say, ask Keith a question about something in the county that matters to you.

I think you’ll be impressed. Thank you.

Lee Hunnicutt