Hotchkiss business owner, rancher and County Planning Commission member Kim Shay has announced her intent to run for the District 3 County Commission seat, facing Wendell Koontz for the position.
Shay first moved to the North Fork in 1994, where she has been a business owner for about 20 years. After serving on the planning commision for over eight years, as well as serving on numerous boards throughout the county, she feels ready to take on a leadership position.
“I’ve got a fairly good idea of the direction the county needs to go in the next few years,” Shay said. “Having spoken with a variety of people while we were writing the Master Plan, I believe I’m in touch with most of the folks and where they feel Delta County needs to go, and I feel I can be a part of that.”
After being active in the community, Shay said the inspiration to run for county commission came from a desire to help the residents of Delta County, and to bring the smaller areas together as one county.
“Although I rely on all I’ve learned while being on the planning commission, that’s not my only asset. As a successful business owner, I know what takes in areas such as budget, managing personnel, and planning for the future,” Shay stated in a press release. “I’ve been on many boards through the years, and have gained knowledge from each position. I interact well with people of all walks of life, and listen to their stories, frustrations, and wishes every day at the store.”
Shay emphasizes the need to prepare for the future in Delta County, as the introduction of high-speed internet through Elevate has allowed many citizens to work from home and relocate to more rural areas. With the population projected to increase, Shay said the county needs to prepare for growth — especially in the North Fork area, where growth can be limited by water “It’s going to grow, we just need to choose the direction it’s going to grow. We need to plan for this, and I believe I have enough business experience and being involved in the planning commission for so long that I’ve talked to all sides,” Shay said. “I’ve heard concerns about growth: where we want to see it happen, what we want from our neighbors, all kinds of things.”
Shay anticipates that dealing with opposition and conflict in a governmental position involves listening and compromise.
“I think there’s always groups of people that are diametrically opposed,” Shay said. “[We must] try to bring them to the table and come up with a consensus… Things can be done in a lot of different ways, and that kind of fresh leadership is what we need.”
With her experience as a business owner, Shay said that honesty and the ability to listen and understand others is the most important value in a position like county commission.
“We all love Delta County, whether we were born here or came here, and we all love it for a reason. We need to work together to make it a better place for all of us,” Shay said. “I believe I’m the best candidate for the job, and I’d be honored to represent the citizens of North Fork and the county as a whole.”