Term-limited county commissioners ponder future

Two of Mesa County’s three county commissioners will be out of work after January 2013, while the third is up for re-election in 2010 and is still pondering his future.

County Commissioners Craig Meis and Janet Rowland are limited to two terms and will have to find something besides their daily duties at the county seat to occupy their time. Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, conversely, is eligible to run for one more four-year term after his current term expires in January 2011.

Rowland said she might take a stab at running for the school board.

Acquafresca said he has been pondering his future for months, without resolution.

And Meis talks like a man who is through with being a politician.

“I will always be involved in politics,” Rowland said.

Don’t expect her to campaign for higher office again, although maybe another local office.

“Running for school board seems a lot more intriguing to me than running for Congress,” said Rowland, who was the losing lieutenant governor candidate in 2006.

Rowland said she just as easily could see herself without public office, doing the hard work behind the scenes. It is something she already is busy with in her role with the Western Slope Conservative Alliance.

With nearly 300 members, Rowland said: “We have outgrown City Hall, and City Council hasn’t even outgrown City Hall.” She went on to say she is “not finding the fire in the belly” to run for another elected office in 2012. But it’s only October 2009.

“I have some time to think about it,” she said. “I’m not going away.”

Unlike Rowland, the clock is ticking on Acquafresca. Approaching the final year of his first term — county commissioners are limited to two four-year terms — Acquafresca said he is considering his future.

“I’ve been in that decision-making process for months,” he said.

Among the points Acquafresca said he is considering are what has occurred in the last three years, the needs of the community, his effectiveness as a commissioner, and his family.

He did say that these past few years have been “much more compelling” than his three terms as a representative in the state Legislature, where he served from 1991 to 1997. He decided not to run for a fourth and final term of office.

Meis, who served on the Mesa County Planning Commission prior to his time as a county commissioner, said he has not put much thought into what he might be doing after the county commission.

“Probably run (Josh Penry’s) re-election campaign for governor,” he said, jokingly.

Meis said he has no desire to run for the Legislature but wants to stay involved in the political process.

“I think more people have more power out of office than in office,” he said. “They can make a difference if they are just engaged.”

He said he has accomplished most of what he had in mind when he became a commissioner and is now considering spending more time with family and developing business opportunities.

“I don’t even think I even knew what a county commissioner was eight years ago. It is not a career path,” he said. “I went to school to be an engineer. I want to continue to be an engineer.”


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