The race for the Chaffee County Commissioner representing northern Chaffee County, including Buena Vista, is now a three-way race with Libertarian Bonnie Davis throwing her hat into the ring.
Davis is running against Republican Hannah Hannah and the incumbent commissioner, Democrat Keith Baker in November.
Davis is a strategic analyst for a large transportation company who works from home just north of BV. She’s lived there for 3 and a half years after relocating from Fairplay, and before that, Pittsburgh.
“I moved to Colorado because my kids all lived here. I’ve got two sons that live in Denver, my sister lives in Denver and my daughter lives in Salida,” Davis said. “So we bought a house in Fairplay in 2008. We had that as a second home from Pittsburgh. There was an opening to move out to Colorado for my company, so I applied for this spot and was selected to work as an analyst out here from home.”
Living part-time at 11,300 feet, the Davises loved all the wildlife that surrounded their home, but hated the snow.
“We were always coming here all the time, because there’s only Prather’s in Fairplay. So we’d come here to go to City Market or eat at Eddyline when it first opened,” she said.
Through her involvement with the town of Buena Vista’s Beautification Advisory Committee and as a master gardener with Colorado State University’s agricultural extension, Davis said she’s been witness to the inner workings of local government, as well to the concerns and ideas of local citizens, consistently since she moved to BV.
“You get to know everybody. You hear people talking about this, talking about that,” she said. When the Libertarian Party approached her about running for the District 1 seat on the three-person BOCC, “I finally just decided when they asked me, ‘I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.’”
One of the primary things Davis believes the commissioners could do a better job of is being accessible.
“Just talk to people,” she said. “I’m in the grocery store, I’m here, I’m there. Just be accessible. I can say ‘here’s my phone number,’ or ‘here’s my Facebook page,’ and you can give those things out, but there’s no guarantee that people will use them. I think that networking and direct contact with people is probably the most powerful way.
“I don’t see any of the current commissioners being accessible,” she said.
Along similar lines, Davis – being an analyst and a person who likes to see the data before making a decision – thinks that the county could do more to learn locals’ opinions on where Chaffee County should be headed.
“The one thing I didn’t see (in Envision Chaffee County) was ‘what is the brand?’ You need a brand, like a mission statement. Who are we? I don’t really see that,” she said.
Davis would like to build a greater rapport between the county’s elected officials and the citizens they represent.
“Let’s get together at the community center and talk about things and talk about their vision for the community and how they would solve problems and then have everybody get back together and try to hash these things out so that you come up with solutions,” Davis said. “Rather than building places for more retirees and building more open spaces without really thinking what it’s going to look like in 10 years.”
As a Libertarian, Davis is a regulatory minimalist. She opposes the “Red Flag Law” that came before the BOCC last year, saying Chaffee County has “ample” gun laws as it stands.
“My rule of thumb is don’t make a law if you can’t enforce it. Start with the things you can do,’ she said. “What problems can we solve, then work back from there.”