Ballots for the annual DMEA director election are to arrive in member mailboxes this week.
Six candidates are seeking election by DMEA ratepayer/members to fill three positions on the board.
Each of the three board positions is being contested.
The candidates, before fielding various questions from the public during a forum that took place on May 15, provided introductory opening statements about themselves and their experience.
In District 3, incumbent Ed Marston is being challenged by Olen Lund.
Marston described himself as a 39-year resident of Paonia. He and the tenants of his commercial building pay some $1,100 per month to DMEA in electric charges, he said, adding, "I have skin in the game."
The DMEA board "has taken back responsibility this year" which it had ceeded to management in past years, Marston said. He said he has been a strong advocate of the management audit currently underway at DMEA, and he noted several times during the evening the difficulty encountered, the "push back," in getting agreement to having the audit done.
Olen Lund is a native of the North Fork Valley and a valedictorian graduate of Paonia High School. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines and from Ohio State University with a master's degree in welding engineering.
Lund has recently completed serving two terms as a Delta County Commissioner. He was term limited in 2012.
Lund told the audience at the forum gathering, "My agenda is the members."
In the DMEA South Region seat race, incumbent Tony Prendergast faces challenger Kay Heinschel.
Prendergast has been a DMEA director for six years. He said there are big issues on the table and that it is time for public scrutiny into what the DMEA board does.
The co-op faces difficult governance issues involving its relationship with wholesale energy supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission; but "Tri-State is not the enemy," he said. He added that DMEA also has an important role to play in the region's economic development.
Kay Heinschel is making his second run for a DMEA board seat.
He has spent his entire career of 40 years in the power industry holding upper-level positions in operations and management at some facilities on the Western Slope.
That long experience gives him the background needed, he believes, to realize his vision of "low-cost, reliable, safe energy."
In District 4, neither of the two candidates has served previously on the DMEA board. They are Jim Elder and Erica Lewis Kennedy.
Elder is a business consultant and owned a solar energy company for 12 years, he said. He noted that tough choices are coming for the DMEA board. Issues that will be of particular importance involve Tri-State governance, electric rates, effects of the Senate Bill 252 which threatens to raise electricity costs for rural consumers, and the possibility of DMEA participating in extension of fiber-optic cable broadband access to area consumers.
Erika Lewis Kennedy said, "DMEA has done an excellent job in the past and I would like to see it continue."
She has served on the Montrose City Council and was the Montrose mayor for two terms. She has experience as a small business owner.
She, like the other candidates, believes that "full disclosure" of results from the current management audit is desirable, but with some exceptions for what might be sensitive personal imformation.
On Monday, ballots and a summary of each candidate's background were mailed to DMEA ratepayer/members who had electric service from DMEA as of April 30.
Voted ballots must be returned by mail to DMEA's election credentials committee no later than June 13.
Members may also vote in person at DMEA's annual meeting at the Hotchkiss Senior Center on Thursday, June 14, from 8 to 9:30 a.m.blog comments powered by Disqus