Idris KeithParty affiliation: DemocratCity of residence: AuroraProfession: AttorneyCampaign website address: www.idriskeith.com
What makes you the best choice for this office?
The next commissioner must be equipped to tackle the economic downturn stemming from COVID-19. This requires an understanding of small business and the need for businesses to be given access to capital to create jobs. I possess this experience and have worked on multi-million dollar projects and disputes in the private sector and have forged relationships with governmental entities in government contracting. We require leadership with varied experiences in all sectors and who understands the needs of constituents. The entrepreneurial spirit must be given the freedom needed to strive. My varied experiences make me the best choice during these times.
What single issue do you think should be at the top of the Board of County Commissioners’ agenda in 2021?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment has spiked and our friends on the Western Slope are experiencing unemployment as high as 80% in some parts. The pandemic shows no signs of ending quickly. Therefore, the top issue on the Board of County Commissioners' agenda for 2021 must be job creation and economic development. Partnering with the Tri-County Health Department to keep our neighbors safe and healthy is also a great priority.
If elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?
There are five Arapahoe County commissioner districts and five county commissioners. No one person can accomplish anything by themselves. Rather, there must be a commitment to the team. I will not agree with all of my colleagues all the time. However, if we are capable of delivering the services needed to ensure proper functioning of Arapahoe County government, the term would be a success. Having said that, we must restore fiscal responsibility and control spending. And the County Commission is the last line of defense between fiscal responsibility and reckless spending.
What should the General Assembly do to address revenue shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
One of our greatest challenges as a society is ensuring that the right people are in the proper place at the right time to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes. I am seeking the Arapahoe County Commission seat in District 3. We exercise powers granted to us by the legislature. And it is not my place to provide advice as to how the General Assembly should address the revenue shortfalls. I pray that the next legislative session is productive and that dedicated servants of the people do their best to guide the state through these dire straits.
In today's hyperpartisan environment, how will you reach across the aisle to work with members of the other party?
Litigation is innately adversarial. Nevertheless, I have been capable of forging alliances with opposing attorneys whose interests differ from my own. We are capable of working together for the overall good of both parties. The county commission is no different. The county cannot afford to have commissioners engaging in senseless axe-grinding unrelated to the challenges faced by the people. I possess the skills to work with others and negotiate with others; regardless of their political affiliation. After all, Arapahoe County is comprised of residents of all political stripes and each person's views are to be respected.
Jacque Scott, the other candidate for the Democratic nomination to Arapahoe County's District 3 seat, did not submit a response to Colorado Community Media's questionnaire. His name no longer appears on Arapahoe County ballots and he is considered to be withdrawn from the race.
Party affiliation: Republican
City of residence: Centennial
Profession: Current County Commissioner, retired military, former law enforcement and facility manager.
Campaign website address: www.committeetoelectjeffbaker.org
My campaign motto is “There is no substitute for experience.” Prior to running for County Commissioner in 2016, I worked for Arapahoe County in two different departments – Human Services and Facilities & Fleet Management. Combined with my four years in office, I have over 21 years with Arapahoe County. I know the people, processes and programs and use that insider knowledge to help my constituents navigate the county bureaucracy. I live to serve people.
Addressing the backlog of road and bridge maintenance. People tell me they are fed up with traffic congestion, road surface deterioration and unsafe road conditions. Statewide efforts to increase funding for roads have failed because the state cannot be trusted to spend our taxes on road work we voted for and instead spend it on a new CDOT building. A local effort, in collaboration with our towns and cities, to tackle the problem is needed. As the county’s representative on the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the Chair of the Arapahoe County Transportation Forum, I will lead the effort.
I would consider my term a success if progress is made towards solving the county’s most pressing issues. I don’t believe that any of them can be completely solved in four years because the planning and responsible development of the eastern portions of our County, Justice Center/Jail work, and road issues are very complex which require long-term planning. I would maintain a collegial working relationship with my fellow Commissioners, county-wide elected officials, legislators, municipal leaders, community partners and citizens. It takes the kind of friendly relationships I have worked hard to build in order to get things done.
Tighten the budget as we have done in the past. I believe they are making a lot of cuts and, unfortunately, that is what they must do. Which is another reason why we cannot rely on the state to solve our road and infrastructure problems. Our state and counties will weather this storm and come back stronger than ever financially if elected officials do what families are expected to do in these situations – spend less.
At the County Commissioner level, we work so closely with other commissioners that this is not difficult. I believe that the Board of County Commissioners sets a great example of how a government can work in a bipartisan fashion. I was selected Chair of the Board in 2018 and 2019 by the others and my leadership promoted respect and fairness. So many of our “hats” or roles do not have a partisan emphasis. We truly like each other and communicate back and forth well. We don’t always agree, but we respect each other before, during and after discussions.
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