Arapahoe County Commissioner race, District 3: Martin focuses on 'common ground'

Mollie Martin
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Colorado native Mollie Martin, formerly known as Mollie Cullom, is running for Arapahoe County commissioner in District 3 seat. In recent years, the Centennial Democrat has challenged Republican David Balmer for state House District 39. Balmer, because of recent redistricting, is now running for the open seat in state Senate District 27.

Born and raised in Boulder and Durango, Martin attended Loretto Heights College, and later received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Colorado.

Her website describes Martin as having a passion for the arts, and while living in New York City pursued an acting career. She would later go on to receive a graduate degree in social work from Columbia University.

Martin has worked as a mental health professional in the Cherry Creek School District for 13 years, and has also served on the Juvenile Services Planning Commission.

Colorado Community Media asked the following questions of candidates in the Arapahoe County commissioner District 3 race.

Below are Martin's answers.

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

My education and professional experience focus on social policy and community needs assessment. In my work each day, I promote common ground, negotiation, and consensus among stakeholders. I often facilitate a process to come up with solid solutions that serve the needs of students, their families, teachers, the schools, the county sheriff, courts, county Department of Human Services, and other public agencies.

My experience working with an agency as complex as ACDHS, from the “five-foot” perspective, will bring a practical and in-depth understanding of how this department and our other large public agencies can be made more effective and efficient.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the district and what would you do to meet that challenge?

Part of my challenge in representing the 3rd District is the diversity of needs. Along the I-70 corridor, the challenge is making sure voices from the eastern end of the county are heard — issues such as the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, the exorbitant cost of bringing a family to the county fair, pest control of prairie dogs, public transportation, delivery of county services, and overall accessibility.

As for the jail, I am very focused on bringing a discussion about serving the needs of the population with mental illness and chemical dependency issues in a more productive way in order to prevent recidivism. I see a vital importance on treatment, as our jails have an overflow of need in that arena.

In terms of water, I think it is critical to increase public education about our reliance on limited and rapidly declining groundwater aquifers to supply water to many county residents. The steadily declining levels in our aquifers actually will require more wells just to sustain current water production rates.

What can the board of commissioners do to ensure that oil and gas drilling is done responsibly in the county?

I am in favor of local control when it comes to the issue of regulating oil and gas production — especially when it comes to hydraulic fracturing. Public safety is first and foremost. I support the moratorium that the City of Centennial has placed on fracking until we have better data about the impact on public safety. I also support the idea of setbacks being enforced.