Larimer county commissioner district 2

Larimer county commissioner district 2 DEFAULT

Election 2020: Larimer County Commission candidates McCluskey, Stephens both tout experience

The race for Larimer County commissioner features two veterans of the Fort Collins City Council who both say their experience with local government makes them good choices for commissioner.

Republican Bob McCluskey, a former council member who also served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, and current council member Kristin Stephens, a Democrat, are vying for the Board of County Commissioners seat from District 2.

Stephens said her experience with Fort Collins’ budgeting process would serve her well as the county deals with financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Cameron Peak Fire in the coming years.

If budget cuts are needed, she would approach them “with a scalpel and not a chainsaw.” She would not support across-the board cuts to all departments. Her goal would be to preserve core services, especially those that serve residents in need.

Budget-tightening options could include a hiring freeze or deferring capital projects. But she would want to get input from county departments and residents before making decisions.

“I think there are places to naturally cut,” Stephens said. “I want to work with people in the community to see where we can make those cuts.

“I want to make sure the budget is really transparent, that people understand the implications of cutting in certain areas, and that our budget reflects our values.”

► VOTER GUIDE: Here's your Colorado voting guide on ballot issues and local races

McCluskey said the outcome of the November election on ballot question Amendment B, which would change how the assessment rates for properties are determined, will impact the county’s budget.

County officials have projected a $14 million deficit in the 2022 budget through lost property tax revenue if the amendment is not approved.

Whatever the outcome, McCluskey said he would protect core services, including human services, the health department, corrections and public safety.

He said dealing with state and city budgets during down years taught him there is value in reassessing needs and priorities. While he has no specific cuts in mind, sometimes “nice things” have to go.

Recovery from the Cameron Peak Fire, both in terms of infrastructure and human needs, will be a major determining factor for future budgets, he said.

“When you sit down and look at the numbers, you need to see what people need the most,” McCluskey said.

District 2 covers the central portion of the county, including part of Fort Collins. Commissioners must live in the districts they represent, but they are elected at-large by all county voters.

► Q&A:Larimer County commissioner candidate Bob McCluskey

► Q&A:Larimer County commissioner candidate Kristin Stephens

The current commissioner from District 2, Republican Steve Johnson is term limited after 12 years in office.

McCluskey said if elected, his priorities would include opening up the economy as quickly and safely as possible to create jobs. During the course of the campaign, he’s heard stories of people struggling to get by in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions and the economic downturn.

While the county health department has done a good job addressing the pandemic, he said more flexibility in regulations might be needed to help businesses recover, especially restaurants.

Waiting for guidance on how to deal with COVID from the state “is slowing us down,” he said.

Stephens said her priorities would include helping residents and businesses recover from COVID. She’s heard stories of people who have lost family members and jobs to the pandemic. She’ll make sure the county does what it can to help.

Help for businesses could come in the form of grants or low-interest loans, she said.

Stephens said if elected she would work on addressing major issues facing the community, including climate change and racial equity.

McCluskey, a retired businessman who grew up in Fort Collins, said while a member of the state House of Representatives he learned to work with members of both parties to get things done. That required taking a broad perspective on issues.

The same perspective can be applied to the county commissioner job, since issues such as transportation and behavioral health have regional implications, he said.

‘Having the city background and the state background will help to work on those,” he said. “We are growing, we will continue to grow, and we need to find a way to work with our partners on more issues to have good public policy.”

► Opinion:Stephens: I will represent you as county commissioner

► Opinion:McCluskey: Larimer County needs experienced leadership

Stephens, who works as a graduate coordinator at Colorado State University, said her experience on city council and an ability to work with others gives her a solid perspective on the issues.

Stephens said she is committed to listening to residents and helping them and businesses get back on their feet.

She’s used to working hard, Stephens said, adding that a friend once said she was “the most regular person I’ve met in politics.”

“I took that as a compliment,” she said. “I’m a middle-class mom who cares about her community. I do what I say I will.”

Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at [email protected] 

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After 30 years as a resident of the county, residing in the southwestern area of Fort Collins, and having served the public in numerous capacities, Kristin Stephens has her sights set on the Larimer County Board of Commissioners. A Democrat who currently serves as the Mayor Pro-Tem of Fort Collins, Stephens will face Republican Bob McClusky this November for the open seat in District 2.

In addition to serving for five and a half years on the Fort Collins city council, Stephens has served as both chair and vice-chair of the Poudre Fire Authority and chair of the Election Code Committee. Last year she was appointed to the National League of Cities’ Joint Committee on Homelessness. She was also appointed to the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization where she works on regional transit, transportation planning, and the finance committee.

A mother of three who is starting her 17th year as a 4-H leader, Stephens explained that she believes she brings the vision, experience and work ethic to serve the entire county. “I have dealt with a lot of regional issues during in my time in local government … the work I’ve done locally, I want to take it to a higher level. I think of the issues, the big issues we’re dealing with we can address better regionally than we can just as induvial cities,” Stephens said, citing both transportation and access to affordable housing as two examples of policy areas that can be effectively addressed at the county level. “I think so many of our solutions need to have that regional answer and that led to me to want to run for the county and deal with these issues at a bigger level.”

Stephens also said that, in her time in public service, she has heard from countless constituents that county government is almost something of a mystery. Therefore, Stephens has said that increasing the transparency of county government and working to better inform and involve residents will be a focus of her service.

As Stephens explained, “I think building some transparency in county government is something we need. I talk to so many folks who say ‘I don’t know what county government does, I don’t know what the budget is, I don’t know how to get involved’ so really think we should be making sure we do more outreach and get more people plugged into local government.”

Like many who go into public service, Stephens said her motivation is predicated upon a desire to serve the community she calls home. “There is not a lot of grandeur about in serving in local government, I am doing it because I love my community,” Stephens said of her desire to run. “I’m not doing it for a paycheck, it’s just really been an honor to serve and it’s something that I want to do. We all might have a different vision but the idea that we want out community to be strong and be healthy and be better is something we all share.”

Stephens said she believes the county has done a lot of good work in recent years but does see room for improvement. She wants to provide support for local businesses struggling as a result of the COVID pandemic, assure access to affordable housing, protect the environment and assure that growth is managed effectively.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve and I love some of the work the current county commissioners have done and I would like to build on that. For me, the transparency and getting more people involved is something I really want to do,” she added.

Asked what message she would like to share directly with Berthoud voters, Stephens said, “I want to hear from the folks in Berthoud and from all parts of the county. It would be my honor to serve and I want to make sure everyone is served well by the new slate of county commissioners. I feel like our future is hopeful and I firmly believe we will get through COVID and will be stronger than ever as a community.”

Further details on Stephens and her campaign can be found at



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Bob McCluskey and Kristin Stephens, both Fort Collins residents, are running for the District 2 seat on the Larimer County Board of Commissioners. District 2 encompasses central Larimer County.

Incumbent Steve Johnson, a Republican, has served the three terms he is allowed by law.

While candidates must live in the district for which they are running, residents vote for the Larimer County commissioner seats at large because they represent the entire county.

1. What are your top priorities for Larimer County? 

First we need to reopen the economy, in a safe way. Next, we need to create more, higher paying jobs for Larimer County residents. By creating more, higher paying jobs, or primary jobs, we will reduce the need for expanding our transportation system, improve our air quality, and make housing more attainable for Larimer County residents. We need to keep our taxes low and ensure safety and security for all. We need to protect our environment and property rights .We need to expand services to our veterans and invest in families through affordable child care.

2. What do you see as the county’s role in supporting recovery of both the Cameron Peak Fire and the coronavirus pandemic?

The county’s role in recovery for the Cameron Peak fire will have several facets. One of the key elements will be a group assessing the infrastructure damage done by the fire. There are a number of municipalities and county facilities located in the burn area which may need repair. The water group will evaluate the debris and water quality from the fire. Still other county groups will coordinate help for cleaning up the area.

The county’s health department and the Workforce Center will support the county’s response to the coronavirus. The health department will continue to monitor the outbreak and lead the testing and contact tracing activities. The Workforce Center will need to support local businesses in reopening in a safe manner. With a higher unemployment rate, the center will need to assist Larimer County residents to find jobs and expand retraining programs.

3. In what way should Larimer County government be involved in facilitating growth or economic development?

Larimer County will see an increasing number of development proposals with the rapid growth in the county. By implementing the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan, the county will facilitate smart growth in the county. The county should reach out to the municipalities and talk about development in the various urban growth areas to have more consistent future development in the county.

Larimer County should be involved in economic development through the Workforce Center and acting as a regional convener to facilitate economic development in Northern Colorado. This would include bringing together municipalities, neighboring counties, economic development groups, and chambers of commerce.

4. How big of a priority is creating attainable housing throughout the county? What is Larimer County government’s role?

As the price of housing increases in the county, the number of residents who will be able to pay for their housing will decrease. There are a number of ways being tried to rein in the cost of housing. They all are partial answers to how we can have more attainable housing. I think the piece we don’t hear enough about is to create more high paying jobs in Larimer County so the need to travel further is reduced .The county, as convener, needs to bring stakeholders together to formulate strategies that are good for the entire county.

Bob R. McCluskey Jr.

Office: Larimer County Board of Commissioners District 2

Age: 70

Family: Wife, Kathy; daughters-in-law, Allie and Lindsey; sons-in-law; Kyle and Scott; grandsons, William and Ethan

Time in area: 67 years

Professional background: President of Poudre Valley Creamery and Loveland City Dairy, partner in Smart Document Management

Political/Community experience: Served on the Fort Collins City Council and in the Colorado House of Representatives, as well as president of the Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Board, chairman of Poudre Fire Authority, board member for the Fort Collins Rotary Club, chairman of the Juvenile Services Planning Committee, and board member Fort Collins Community Foundation.

Education: Fort Collins High School graduate, bachelor’s degree and master’s in business administration from Stanford University

Political affiliation: Republican


Larimer County Commissioners Election Forum (Primary Edition)
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  Larimer County - Commissioner - District 2

Parents > United States > Colorado > Counties > Larimer > Board of Commissioners District 2
OfficeCounty Commissioner
Type General Election
Filing Deadline June 30, 2020 - 06:00pm Central
Polls Open November 03, 2020 - 08:00am Central
Polls Close November 03, 2020 - 08:00pm Central
Term Start January 03, 2021 - 01:00pm
Term End January 03, 2025 - 01:00pm
Last ModifiedBrentinCO December 19, 2020 12:48pm
Data SourcesColorado Secretary of State

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Commissioner 2 county larimer district

Kristin Stephens and Bob McCluskey, both Fort Collins residents, are running for the District 2 seat on the Larimer County Board of Commissioners. District 2 encompasses central Larimer County.

Incumbent Steve Johnson, a Republican, has served the three terms he is allowed by law.

While candidates must live in the district for which they are running, residents vote for the Larimer County commissioner seats at large because they represent the entire county.

1. What are your top priorities for Larimer County?

My top priorities are helping individuals and businesses recover from COVID, protecting our environment, and addressing climate change. I have worked on these issues at the municipal level, so I have current and relevant experience to help our county. People are struggling; local groups have distributed $1 million in rent assistance, and the Food Bank serves 500 households a day. We need to get food, housing assistance and childcare resources to community members. We must also help small businesses stay open. Finally, we cannot ignore our air quality, water issues, and extreme weather events due to climate change.

2. What do you see as the county’s role in supporting recovery of both the Cameron Peak Fire and the coronavirus pandemic?

The county needs to play a big role in supporting recovery from both devastating events. If elected, I will push for federal and state recovery dollars to help with the destruction from the Cameron Peak Fire. Because I have built strong relationships with our state and federal officials, I can effectively advocate for this funding. We also need to help individuals and businesses recover from COVID. I will use CARES and other dollars to help with housing and food security issues for our residents and will keep funding local efforts like the Larimer County Small Business Recovery Loan Fund.

3. In what way should Larimer County government be involved in facilitating growth or economic development?

I do not necessarily believe that county government should facilitate growth, but I do believe we should plan for sustainable growth. We should make sure that we have adequate resources for growth, especially water, and that we are not creating urban sprawl. A healthy economy is important to our county, so I support providing resources to help our local businesses thrive and expand. I am committed to helping our businesses during COVID, and will advocate for local, state, and federal funds to help them stay afloat during this difficult time.

4. How big of a priority is creating attainable housing throughout the county? What is Larimer County government’s role?

Creating both affordable and attainable housing in our community needs to be a priority. Too many people in our county are overburdened with high rents, and many middle-class families cannot afford to be homeowners. I have worked on housing affordability on the Fort Collins City Council and will continue to prioritize this at the county level. The county can play a role as a convener; I will work with nonprofits, home builders, banks, and state and federal officials to find solutions to this problem. All our county residents deserve to live in a safe, affordable home.

Kristin Marie Stephens

Office: Larimer County Board of Commissioners District 2

Age: 52

Family: Three children

Time in the area: 30 years

Professional background: 10 years as a bookstore manager, 15 years as a graduate coordinator in statistics

Political and community experience: Fort Collins City Council (2015-present); mayor pro tem (2019-present); former chairwoman of Poudre Fire Authority (2015-2016 and 2019-2020); vice chair of the  National League of Cities’ Human Development Committee (2019-present); representative and finance committee member, North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (2019-present); 4-H Leader (2004-present)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from Colorado State University

Political affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website:


Video Affordable Housing

He’s been a resident of Larimer County for nearly seven decades and now, after serving in both the Colorado State House of Representatives and on the Fort Collins City Council, Bob McCluskey has his eyes set on the board of Larimer County Commissioners. McCluskey, a Republican, is facing Democrat Kristin Stephens in this year’s election.

In addition to his time in the Colorado General Assembly and Fort Collins City Council, McCluskey also served on the Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Board, as Chairman of the Poudre Fire Authority, chairman of the Colorado 4-H Youth Fund and as a member of the Fort Collins Rotary Board of Directors. He also served on the Colorado State Methamphetamine Task Force and the Fort Collins Community Foundation Board. “It has also been important to me to give back to the community,” McCluskey said.

This is all in addition to running his family’s business, the Poudre Valley Creamery, where his undergraduate and MBA degrees from prestigious Stanford University were put to good use. Of his work in the private sector, McCluskey explained he worked virtually every job in the family business, “learning to drive trucks, work on the loading dock, create jobs and meet a budget. We were an early example of the “Farm-to-table” model throughout Larimer County.”

Asked why he decided to throw his hat in the ring for the Board of Commissioners, McCluskey explained, “Larimer County is growing at a fast rate which is creating new problems and opportunities for the future. Understanding both the municipal and state governments, I can be effective in working together to solve our individual and regional issues. I want to use my past experience to keep Larimer County the unique place it has always been. It will take leadership to Keep Larimer Local.”

A central tenant of McCluskey’s campaign has been focusing on making county government more efficient and responsive to citizens and assuring the county is doing what it can to foster economic growth and create jobs within county limits. “When I first started my campaign, I felt it was important to create more higher-paying jobs in Larimer County, to keep taxes low, to protect our natural environment and property rights, to fix our transportation system, increase our veterans’ services and to stand up to the Denver politicians,” McCluskey said.

As is the case for almost everyone in the county, the COVID-19 pandemic caused McCluskey to mark some alterations to his campaign plans. As he explained, “Now our world has changed. We need to continue opening up our economy and doing it safely. We have much to be proud of in how Larimer County residents have responded to the fight against the coronavirus. We must protect the vulnerable, continue to open our economy, and plan for the future.”

McCluskey sees economic growth and addressing the transportation infrastructure needs of the county as being somewhat interrelated. He explained that by creating more good, high-paying jobs in the county, it will create less stress on regional transportation infrastructure and reduce the need to be continuously expanding the interstates.

“We need to fix our transportation infrastructure with a focus on making it easier for Larimer County residents to get to Larimer County jobs. People should be able to get to work, school, shopping, and dining with a simple, safe commute.” McCluskey says.

McCluskey said the most important role of government, at any level, is to assure the safety and well-being of the citizens. “We need to make sure that our neighborhoods and public spaces are kept safe for families,” McCluskey said and outlines three planks the county can use to assure that goal is achieved, guarantee equal justice under the law, provide Sheriff  (Justin) Smith with the resources he needs and enforce the laws on crimes that affect quality of life.

McCluskey explained that throughout his years in public service, he has devoted himself to listening to his constituents and responding to their needs saying, “Each time I was running or was in an elected office, I made extensive efforts to listen to my constituents. This isn’t easy. As peoples’ lives will become busier again, we must strive to find a way to capture the interest of Larimer County residents. I support going back to the “County seat for a day” model as a way to reach out across the County and see what people are thinking.”

Further information about McCluskey’s campaign can be found at


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Larimer County commissioner results: Stephens, Shadduck-McNally win

Democratic candidates Kristin Stephens and Jody Shadduck-McNally have won their races for Larimer County commissioner.

In unofficial results posted by the Larimer County Clerk's Office, Stephens led Republican Bob McCluskey 109,759 to 95,067 for the commissioner's seat from District 2, and Shadduck-McNally led Republican Ben Aste 107,600 to 95,087 for the post from District 3.

There aren't enough uncounted ballots to make up the difference in those races.

Big change for the board of commissioners was going to happen regardless of the outcome. Commissioners Steve Johnson from District 2 and Tom Donnelly from District 3 are term-limited after 12 years in office. Both are Republicans. 

More:Colorado election 2020 live updates: Larimer Democrats lead in county races

Current Democratic Commissioner John Kefalas holds the District 1 seat, meaning that Democrats will hold all three commission seats

District 2 covers the central part of the county, including part of Fort Collins. District 3 covers the southern part of the county, including Loveland and Estes Park. Commissioners must live in the district they represent but are elected at-large by all county voters.

Colorado election 2020: Larimer County results

Stephens, 52, has served five years on the Fort Collins City Council. She works as a graduate coordinator at Colorado State University.

The mother three children, Stephens pushed the concept that she is not a typical politician throughout her campaign. She said her focus as commissioner would be to help businesses and residents recover from the economic difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview, Stephens said the "blue wave" of Democrats winning county and state elections probably was a factor in her race. But she also had a strong get-out-the vote campaign.

“I also tried to speak to the people and get to all the different communities,” she said. “I’ve called over 600 people myself. People are surprised to talk to the actual candidate."

McCluskey, 70, is a retired businessman and a former member of the Fort Collins City Council and the Colorado House of Representatives. McCluskey grew up in Fort Collins and has been active in community business and philanthropic circles for decades.

But a lot of people have moved to Larimer County and Fort Collins since McCluskey served in elected office, Stephens said, and the area's demographics have changed. As part of her campaign, she spoke about racial equity and climate change.

“I think that definitely resonated with younger people," Stephens said. "I don’t think that Bob necessarily spoke to those issues."

McCluskey built his campaign around the depth of his experience with state and local government. He said top priorities if elected would include job creation, protecting the environment and property rights, and standing up to “Denver politicians” while pursuing the county’s interests.

Voters seemed to vote straight tickets in the election, McCluskey said, since the tallies in the races for District 3, District 2 and district attorney were nearly identical. The Democrats came out on top with 54% percent of the vote.

"It's just a very different year," McCluskey said.

"I think it was important to go through the process, to walk the neighborhoods, to be out on the corners waving to people and talking to people," he said. "We thought that was one of the strengths we had on our side of the ticket, but it didn’t seem to make any difference."

Shadduck-McNally, 54, has a long history of working on community issues, particularly in education, human services and natural resources. She has served on numerous Thompson School District committees and was twice appointed to the Larimer County Office on Aging Advisory Council.

She said her priorities if elected would include working on COVID-19 recovery for small businesses, affordable housing and sustainable growth.

More:Colorado election results 2020: Get real-time data on Larimer County races, ballot measures

Shadduck-McNally believes she would be the first woman elected from District 3. She credited her success to the hard work of her election team.

“We worked very hard to talk directly to voters and to reach out to as many voters as we could throughout Larimer County,” she said. “We listened to their thoughts and concerns, made those connections and made those relationships.”

Aste, 62, is a businessman with deep roots in the community. This was his first run for elected office.

Aste said during the campaign his top priorities would include addressing transportation issues, attracting and retaining small businesses, maintaining the county’s open spaces and encouraging recycling.

Dynamics of the race included spending in support of all four candidates by independent expenditure committees, which under state law are not allowed to coordinate their efforts with candidates or their campaigns.

Windsor-based NoCo Reboot reported spending a combined $74,000 to support Aste and McCluskey through advertising on cable television and Facebook, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

The Earthworks Action Fund independent expenditure committee had spent a total of $36,620 to support Stephens and Shadduck-McNally, according to state records.

McCluskey’s campaign reported spending $105,467 as of Oct. 30 compared to $34,675 for Stephens.

In District 3, Aste’s campaign reported spending $79,566 as of Oct. 30. Shadduck-McNally had spent $46,808.

Aste loaned his campaign $13,000. McCluskey loaned his campaign $39,000, according to campaign finance records.

Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at [email protected] 

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