South Jeffco resident Don Rosier doesn’t have a political background, but the Republican says his experience as a government outsider makes him uniquely qualified to run for the District 3 seat on the Board of Commissioners.
Rosier, a Jeffco Public Schools graduate, has worked for two decades as a civil engineer, dealing with development, water use and budgeting. Rosier is challenging incumbent Democrat Kathy Hartman in the November election.
“I’ve been involved with land use, land development (and) land acquisition,” he said. “I have been involved with the design of communities. I have done the feasibility analysis of communities.”
Rosier, whose business provides a variety of services to oil and gas companies, said he wants to see a few specific changes in county operations. Though increasing efficiency is not necessarily a unique goal, his perspective is, he said.
“Just to get a sign permit for a business — it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money,” he said. “As a small businessman myself, that is tough. … If I wanted to go into Jefferson County and buy a piece of land that has zero zoning and build a building … that’s an 18- to a 24-month process.”
Making zoning changes faster and easier would allow small businesses to flourish and could precipitate job growth, he said.
“My goal is, on the land use side, to streamline the process, to make it more user friendly,” he said.
Though Rosier’s background in engineering may not lead to a natural transition to county commissioner, his volunteer experience on a county board provided him a window into local government, he said.
“Why am I running for the thankless job of county commissioner? I’ve served as chairman of the community development advisory board in Jefferson County for eight years,” he said. “That was my entry into county government. … It sparked my interest.”
His tenure on the board brought a trend of increasingly stringent regulations to his attention, he said. And increased requirements are a thorn in the side of businesses, he added.
He differs from incumbent Democrat Kathy Hartman in his degree of fiscal conservatism, he said. Rosier said he aims to squeeze dollars a notch tighter.
“I feel I’m more fiscally conservative than she is,” he said of Hartman. “We have to be very diligent in how dollars are spent.”
And though the idea of reducing expenses might seem to carry inherent benefit, Rosier didn’t reveal a precise strategy.
“I have been going through that for the last two years,” he said of budget development work for his business. “I have been on the front lines.”
Making county operations cost less would be a matter of sitting down for discussions with as many knowledgeable department employees as possible and getting people to work together, he said. He wants to treat government spending as if it were a business, he said, adding long-term maintenance and business plans to all applicable operations and buildings.
And though he favors trimming the size of county government, cutting jobs would be the last thing he wants to, he said.
“Smaller government, I believe, provides greater opportunities for the individuals in the county,” he said.
And on his chances against an incumbent moderate Democrat, Rosier said a successful campaign won’t be easy.
“I just decided it’s something that I needed to do,” he said of his motivation for entering the race.
“She’s well liked,” he said of Hartman. “It’s going to be a tough race.”
Contact Emile Hallez Williams at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.
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