Bent County Commissioner and Chairwoman Jean Sykes recently announced that she will run for re-election this November.
“I feel like I have a lot to give to the county. There are several projects that I’ve been in the middle of and I would like to see some of those completed or at least in a better position than what they are in right now,” Sykes said.
One of those projects is the 1041 permit show cause hearings that Sykes and the other commissioners have been dealing with for the past four years. Dealing with that issue at the start of her term as commissioner was tough and she said that if someone new were to be elected, he or she would struggle with it as well.
“For someone else to come back in after three or four years of us struggling with that particular situation, I would hate to think how difficult it would be for them,” she said.
She wants to continue working toward a resolution to that problem she was introduced to in 2016. Another problem is the water speculators who want to take water for the Front Range.
Sykes said that anytime they take their water, it makes it more difficult for the farm communities to sustain themselves because they can’t produce their crops.
“It’s kind of a ripple effect that takes down other businesses who are dependent upon that and as people start to move when they don't have that, it destroys the entire county over time,” she said.
Future problems Sykes foresees for the county includes future legislation about ending the practice of private prisons in Colorado. While she is more comfortable with the amendments to the legislation, she doesnt think they’ve seen the last of that.
“I think it will come back, this next year or the years to come…. It has the same type of ripple effect that it begins to shut down business, jobs are lost and we soon have a situation where Bent County is a ghost county,” she said.
Continuing the fight against future legislation will be one of Sykes top priorities if she is re-elected as a commissioner. Because her main goal is to do what is best for Bent County, and keeping jobs and water in the county is a big part of that.
“I would like to say that I would appreciate everyone's support and whether they vote for me or vote for someone else, I think it’s really important to take an active part in our local government and the decisions,” she said.