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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Unopposed candidates poised to fill county offices

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Photo submitted Pictured are Republican candidates (left to right) Lisa Tafoya, county treasurer; Mark Taylor, county sheriff; Teri Stephenson, county clerk and recorder; Lance Boren, county coroner and Debbie Griffith, county assessor. Only Stephenson fa

The November ballot contains the names of five candidates who have no opposition for county offices. All five candidates are Republicans, and all but one is an incumbent.

Lance Boren
County Coroner

Lance Boren, Republican, was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to fill a vacancy in the county coroner position in October 2016. He is now running for election as county coroner for a four-year term.

County coroner duties include determining the cause of death when a person dies and notification to the family. If needed, the county coroner schedules an autopsy. He also completes and signs the death certificate.

The office of coroner requires state certification. The Colorado Coroners Association provides classes for the original certification of coroners. Continuing education is required and the association holds two three-day conferences every year for that purpose.

Boren graduated from mortuary college in Texas in December 1999 and was employed as a funeral director in Texas.

He wanted to live in Colorado and responded to a position advertised by Taylor Funeral Services in Delta. He joined Taylor Funeral Services in November 2009.

Jesse Messenger
County Surveyor

Jesse Messenger, Republican, is an unopposed candidate for Delta County surveyor.

Messenger began his surveying career in 1971. He passed the exam to become a licensed surveyor in the State of Colorado in 1978. He has been self-employed as a surveyor, primarily in western Colorado, since 1984.

Messenger served as the elected county surveyor for three terms in the late 1980s and 1990s.In 2006 Messenger was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to fill the vacancy of county surveyor. He was elected to the position in 2007. He is currently serving the final year of his second term as county surveyor.

The office of county surveyor is established by state statute. The county surveyor represents the county in any boundary disputes of real property owned by the county, and provides other assistance to the board as the need arises.

The Delta County surveyor currently reviews all subdivision and boundary adjustment plats for compliance with state statutes before they are recorded.

Messenger is a native of Delta County, having been born in Paonia and raised in Crawford and Delta. He graduated from Delta High School and from Mesa Junior College (now Colorado Mesa University). He and his wife Cheryle have raised their family here in Delta County.

Messenger is a member of Colorado Association of County Surveyors.

Lisa Tafoya
County Treasurer

Lisa J. Tafoya was appointed to that position in September 2013 after serving in the treasurer's office for six years.

She was elected in 2015 to her first four year term.

Tafoya has gained 38 years of diverse financial expertise. She started her financial career at United Bank of Delta in 1979, followed by employment with Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Dean Witter, and Security Service Federal Credit Union.

These opportunities provided Tafoya with extensive knowledge, including, but not limited to, statistical preparation and analyzing, operations leadership, financial investment support, accounting and major event coordination.

She was also a successful small business owner who taught and sold a variety of handmade décor.

In June 2017 Tafoya earned her certification from Colorado Mesa University as a treasurer and public trustee for Colorado. She is a graduate of Cedaredge High School and holds an associate degree in computer information systems and programming.

She is a board member of Colorado County Treasurers Association and has supported the Treasurers of Colorado as its treasurer since 2015. She is the chairman of Colorado Western Region Treasurers Association. She volunteers with HopeWest.

Tafoya and her husband Tim have been married 38 years. They have two sons and an 11-year-old granddaughter. Tim also graduated from Cedaredge High School, is a native of Delta County and a 22-year retired veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Their two sons are also veterans of the armed forces.

Debbie Griffith
County Assessor

Debbie Griffith, Republican, has worked in the assessor's office for 29 years, with 10 of those years as assessor. She was appointed to fill the open position of assessor in April 2008, elected to that position in November 2010, and re-elected in November 2014.

Griffith describes her position as discovering, listing, valuating and classifying all the property in Delta County.

She is trained in every phase of property assessment and mass appraisal valuation law and application. She is certified in Colorado Certified General Appraisal. She has over 1,000 hours of education through the Colorado Division of Property Taxation, International Association of Assessing Officers, McKissock College, Kaplan College, the Appraisal Institute and other training.

In 1989 Griffith provided bookkeeping for small businesses in Delta County. The technical college offered classes in computerized computing. Griffith completed 84 quarter hours of credits, within a year, through that program. "I wanted to be the top of the notch, to be as good as I could be," she said.

Griffith's family moved from Garfield County to Delta County in 1976, her junior year of high school. She graduated from Cedaredge High School and married the same year. She and her husband Jeff have been married 41 years and have three children.

Griffith said, "It is a tremendous honor and pleasure to serve the people of Delta County and I look forward to serving them another four years.

"I'm still excited about my work and look forward to coming to work every day. I have an absolutely incredible staff."

Mark Taylor
Delta County Sheriff

Undersheriff Mark Taylor, Republican, is an unopposed candidate in his candidacy. He will replace Sheriff Fred McKee, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Taylor says, "I am committed to upholding the longstanding tradition of excellence that has elevated the Delta County Sheriff's Office to one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the state. As your undersheriff for the last 14 years, I'm proud to say that I've helped to build that reputation of excellence through a variety of improvements and initiatives that have made our community safer."

In April 1989, Mark Taylor graduated from the Delta-Montrose Technical College Criminal Justice Academy. He joined the Delta County Sheriff's Office as a patrol deputy on May 1, 1989.

He worked as a patrol deputy for about five years, during which time his duties were to protect life and property while providing law enforcement to the citizens of Delta County.

In 1995 Taylor was promoted to patrol sergeant. His duties as patrol deputy continued and he also provided direct supervision to other patrol deputies.

In 2001 Taylor was assigned as an undercover drug investigator for the 7th Judicial Drug Task Force, and in 2003 he was appointed undersheriff. He has held that position for 14 years.

His duties include managing approximately 67 employees in detentions, dispatch, food services, patrol and administration. Taylor carries out these duties by effectively planning, organizing and directing staff to meet organizational goals through knowledge of principles and practices of modern police administration.

Training is an on-going part of the responsibilities of law enforcement professionals.

Taylor is a graduate of FBI National Academy, considered the West Point of law enforcement training. He is also a graduate of the Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives, Rocky Mountain Command College, Executive Leadership Training, and the DEA Academy, Quantico, Va.

He attended college at University of Virginia and Western Wyoming Community College.

Among Taylor's responsibilities are administrative duties, including preparing and working within a $4 million-plus budget; West/Central POST training coordinator; internal affairs coordinator; board member for Youth Substance Abuse Program; and FBI anti-terrorism task force member.

Taylor is an honorably discharged veteran.

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