For Gilpin County Commissioner
PRESS RELEASE – Gilpin County needs to stay the course with the proven leadership Ron Engels has provided in his first term, especially since the pandemic began. He knows the processes and the people, the detail of what the county’s response has been and how to move us forward to a successful outcome. The county cannot afford the downtime that would be required of a new commissioner coming on board. Today, and until there is a vaccine, Engels’ highest priority as a county commissioner will and must be to continue protecting the health and safety of all our residents, employees and visitors from contracting COVID-19, while at the same time allowing gaming, our primary industry, to stay open, producing revenue to fund county services.
He worked with our local public health department, CDPHE and our casino managers to craft a plan to get casinos opened at viable levels while still keeping county residents, and casino employees and visitors safe and healthy. Returning our primary revenue source to conditions as good as or better than before the pandemic is vital to dealing with our fiscal instability.
At the same time he works on those critical tasks in a second term, he’ll keep the county focused on continuing down the path started under his leadership—building a county government that is guided by the three legs of our strategic goals: Long-Term Planning, Financial Sustainability, and Employee Engagement. With an explicit plan, the finances to execute the plan and employees prepared to make it happen, we can make Gilpin an even better place to live, work and recreate.
The county is gathering input for a new Comprehensive Plan. It will be the core of defining what we want to change and what we want to remain the same over the next decade and beyond. We have always insisted on keeping Gilpin rural. At the same time, our cities are planning for growth in their areas of influence. One of Engels’ goals in his second term is to work to balance those two sides of the growth question. For Engels, it’s less a question of growth versus no growth, but how to direct the growth we know will happen to the right places and in the right way.
Our Comprehensive Plan will clearly state what kinds of development should happen, at what levels, and where in the county, and what our economic drivers should be. It will also include updated and detailed information about emergency response—what do we do, who do we work with and how when disaster strikes.
Engels will continue to insist that we look across county government to root out unnecessary spending and operational inefficiencies to provide incremental benefit as we strive to become more efficient.
Engels is involved with several state agencies, including the State Board of Health, the Gaming Impact Fund Commission, and the Coroner’s Training and Standards Board. That’s given him access to a wide range of state officials so he can further Gilpin’s interests at the state level. Being an active member of Counties and Commissioners Acting Together (CCAT), Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI), and Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA), all well-respected lobbying groups at the Legislature, has provided the opportunity to forge important relationships with other state-level decision makers.
Enhancing Gilpin’s quality of life by identifying and supporting opportunities that get and keep us healthy is another second term goal for Engels. Re-opening the Community Center, working regionally to advance plans to encourage sustainable use of our forest and access to it, collaborating with county residents to bring an in-person health care clinic, and building affordable senior housing in Gilpin are all on his second term to-do list.
Service has been the hallmark of Engels’ life. That’s ranged from serving our country in the US Army, to serving the teachers and students of the Denver Public Schools, the residents of Central City as Alderman and Mayor, and these last four years as a Gilpin Commissioner. He’s asking Gilpin voters to return him to office for another term so he can help to complete some of the many things the county is working on now:
- Manage our response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing the appropriate balance between personal safety and economic viability,
- Stay focused on the three legs of our strategic goals of long-range planning, financial sustainability, and employee engagement,
- Return the county to some sense of normalcy with adequate revenue to balance a budget that provides both required and discretionary services,
- Continue to modernize county business processes to save time and money, to create more transparency in local government, and to make accessing county services easier for everyone, and
- Pursue quality of life and health opportunities including access to health care, affordable senior living, and sustainable forest recreation.