Mesa County GOP leadership to change

The Mesa County Republican Party will get new leaders next year, but it won’t necessarily take a new direction, party leaders say.

Some of the board members don’t plan to run for re-election when party leadership elections come in February, including Chairwoman Ruth Ehlers.

Instead, Martin Chazen plans to run for that post.

Chazen, who currently serves as treasurer for the county party, said he doesn’t think the local party suffers from the same problems the state and national parties do.

Here, Republican candidates did well in their elections, and local participation in the party has never been better.

As a result, there’s nothing that really needs changing, he said.

“We have to build on what we’ve achieved,” Chazen said. “Ruth and the past board have done a lot of good things. We opened up the party to as many people as possible who wanted to participate, and I intend to do the same thing. If you’re Republican and you believe in limited government, personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, come on over and work with us.”

Chazen said one of the hardest jobs of a chairman is to find people willing to serve in elected offices.

Oftentimes, being in the public eye and jumping into the political fray turns good people away, he said.

“To go into public service, every move you make public or private is subject to scrutiny,” he said. “If you were an educated person — you have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a career, a business, a family and standing in the community — why would you want to expose yourself to that?

“I’m asking myself why I want to expose myself to this. If anything goes haywire with the party, my phone’s going to ring.”

The Mesa County Democratic Party also is expecting a change with its top leader.

Current Chairman Karl Castleton said he doesn’t plan to seek re-election because another party member expressed an interest in the position.

Castleton, however, didn’t identify who that new leader will be.


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