By Staff Report
Terry O’Brien, candidate for Hotchkiss trustee, has deep roots in the North Fork valley. His grandfather Oscar Roatcap owned 3,000 acres for cattle grazing next to the National Forest and Patterson, White and Grosse-Rhode ranches. Parents, Gordon and Derelyse O’Brien, lived on the corner of 3100 Road and North Road for 30 years. Five generations ago, two Roatcap brothers built the first sawmill in the area.
O’Brien graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1974 as a National Merit Scholar Finalist, attended Mesa Junior College in 1975 as a math and computer science major (4.0 avg) and graduated from the University of Denver in 1978 as an accounting, pre-law, and computer science major. He also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business Owners and President Management Program.
Today, O’Brien spends his time as legal researcher, educator and consultant for HOA, water/ditch and special district boards. His passion is to educate directors, stakeholders and attorneys at the same time so, “everyone is on the same page.”
The first time candidate for the board said he decided to run for office following a chance meeting with Sheila Maki three years ago that sparked his initial interest to use his skills and experience for others.
“Discussions with Trustee Pat Medina and former Mayor Larry Jakubiak over the next two years were also significant. On my 62nd birthday on Oct.19, 2018, I decided to run in the next election,” O’Brien said.
With a background in over 40 years of business, financial, accounting, computer, and personnel experience running an international software company with over 100 employees O’Brien feels confident in his ability to serve on the town board.
In addition to his vast education, O’Brien has read most DOLA publications and all current Town of Hotchkiss information in preparation for the upcoming election.
“I have read most statutes regarding Colorado Municipal Governments. I have read two years of the town’s minutes, the 2018 Master Plan, the 2019 Prosperity Plan and every Hotchkiss Town Ordinance. I recently attended three Hotchkiss Town Council meetings and one work session on the Mobile Home Ordinance.”
O’Brien said the top issue for Hotchkiss and other municipal governments is water, sanitation, power (gas/electric) and safety.
“Hotchkiss does a great job now and I will focus on long term financial planning and backup plans,” O’Brien said, adding, “The next top issue is economic development which is now economic recovery due to the Covid-19 current crisis.”
Once elected, O’Brien said he plans to unite all the town councils, county commissioners, chambers of commerce, merchant groups, Delta One and Region 10 “into a more efficient and cohesive goal/objective-driven process.” He said the current approach has not yielded significant results for either Hotchkiss or Delta County.
In addition to uniting the various governmental and economic groups, O’Brien expressed an interest in developing a closer working relationship with Paonia and Crawford town councils in a collaborative effort, “to coordinate economic development and share joint costs when it makes sense for all three towns.”
“I have attended a recent Paonia town council meeting and formed an initial relationship with two current trustees and the town administrator. However, concerns over the recent Covid-19 crises has kept me from attending a Crawford council meeting.”
When asked about the most adventurous thing he has ever done?
O’Brien said, “Taking on the establishment. First, with the Water Commissioners of the Division of Water Resources who attempted to bully me over one share of Overland water. After two and a-half years, the district and state engineer admitted I was right. The second was when the hospital district tried to bully me with three attorneys. The adventure to fix the hospital district continues with ongoing progress. No one will bully any of my Hotchkiss constituents.”