County Commissioner Don Rosier wants to finish the work he started during his first term.
To do that, the Republican must fend off a challenge from Democratic nominee John Flerlage in the race in District 3, which covers the southern part of the county and includes South Jeffco, Littleton and Morrison.
Economic development is just one of the areas Rosier would like to keep focusing on during a second term. He said passage of a county-wide economic plan was a great start but not the end of the work.
“We didn't have one of those before I came in as county commissioner. I worked really hard to get it completed. And we’re implementing many of those items that came out of that economic development plan,” Rosier said. “I've worked tirelessly with our business community to break down the barriers that are keeping them from hiring employees, to figure out what's standing in their way of either business retention and expansion or purely investment in a community.”
Rosier said his background in private business and as a civil engineer focusing on water resources makes him the ideal choice to lead the county in expansion of economic development.
“We need a solid, business-minded professional who knows the county, who understands not only county government, but is willing to get out and work hard in the community,” he said.
Rosier said transportation is key to boosting economic activity in the county, and he hopes to continue promoting transit solutions if re-elected.
“We still have great transportation needs in Jefferson County,” Rosier said. “We have made many inroads to bring a collaborative group together to look at ways to finance and fund transportation.”
Lawyer Tamara K. Seaver, who provides legal counsel for the board of the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, which Rosier chairs, said Rosier’s ability to form a consensus across city and county governments would continue to serve Jeffco well.
The parkway board was responsible for the land swap with Boulder County in 2012 that secured the right-of-way along the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge for the proposed parkway.
“Any of these regional entities requires a good, open and transparent dialogue and an ability to work with others,” Seaver said. “I think the things he's focused on are the things that will bring econ development to the county. … Obviously, I think he’s a great guy, but you need more than that. From my perspective, it’s his leadership in transportation and mobility … which will help economic development in Jefferson County.”
A better economic environment will help the county solve one of the biggest issues it faces — creating a sustainable budget, Rosier said. The county cut services in recent budgets, and last year the commission restored 1.5 mills of the property tax that had been trimmed by a previous board.
Rosier voted against that budget because of the mill-levy increase and what he said is an unsuitable economic path for the county.
“There are still some very difficult decisions that need to be made. Long term, we are not sustainable with our budget. We need those individuals who understand all the complexities of our budget, who understand not only county government but business and how to budget — to be able to ask those tough questions, to be able to make those tough decisions. And they still need to be made,” Rosier said.
“There are still major issues that have come up, and I want to be a part of the solution. I feel like I can complement and add my expertise to that solution.”
Rosier said he never considered not running for a second term. Just as when he decided to run in 2010, Rosier said he wanted to give back to the county that his family has called home for three generations.
“It’s all about being involved in the community and giving back,” Rosier said. “I felt very strongly that I needed to continue how I give back to the community. I had a lot to give with my experience with land use and entitlement, with engineering, with being a business owner. I needed to give back, me personally. That's how I’m made up.”
Before running for his first term, Rosier served on several public boards, including eight years as chair of the Community Development Advisory Board.
Diana Altermatt, a volunteer with Jeffco’s 4-H Clubs, said she’s seen first-hand Rosier’s drive to connect with the community. Her family, especially her son, whom she said Rosier has mentored, has been touched by Rosier’s service in the community.
“Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Commissioner Rosier myself. The whole family knows him, and he’s been what I consider a huge mentor and a huge influence on my son’s growth as a young man,” Altermatt said. “As far as the 4-H kids go, he comes to support all the 4-H kids, not just my son. … He’s approachable, which is huge. Too many people are intimidated by people in government.”
While Altermatt said she doesn’t always agree with Rosier’s stances, she knows he listens to every side before making a decision. Rosier said that for county government to work, it requires a willingness to listen and respect all sides of an issue.
“I want to hear from individuals who don't feel the same way on issues that I do,” Rosier. “At the end of the day, if we agree to disagree, at least we all have the same information and it’s all there in front of us, and I respect somebody for them telling me their position, even if it opposes mine.”
Contact Ramsey Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.