From the county's lawsuit with Montrose Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees to its uranium mill permits and application for water rights, Davis said she would have conducted business differently had she been in office. If elected, she said she will be a collaborating, open minded, good steward of taxpayer money for her constituents.
“Communication can always yield beneficial results,” Davis said in an interview with The Watch.
Such could have been the case in the county's dealings with the MMH trustees, she said.
Davis said she supported the trustees' efforts to protect the hospital in light of proposed ballot initiatives that could have harmed MMH's nonprofit status. She had hope that the commissioners and the hospital could discuss options together, but lack of trust between the two impeded such actions, she said.
Davis said she didn't support the lawsuit the county filed against the hospital, or its appeal of the court's decision in the hospital’s favor.
If elected, she said she would move forward by creating a respectful, honest and open relationship with the county's hospital.
The legal expenses being accrued by the county also bother Davis.
“It pains me to see large amounts of money go for legal fees, while at the same time, the county has had 30 layoffs … I'm not sure if that's the best use of our money,” she said.
She also is unconvinced that pursuing water rights in the West End is a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Montrose County is seeking rights of approximately 6,400 acre-feet of water per year to be stored in reservoirs from the main stem and tributaries of the San Miguel River. (See last week's article, “Water Grab!” in The Watch for more details.)
Davis said legal fees have been estimated at $1.2 million for these conditional water rights, and if approved, it could cost the county $200 to $300 million to build the storage reservoirs.
Davis doesn't see significant job growth resulting from building the reservoirs, and added, “At this stage, I think the money could be better spend other ways.”
Although the county claims that the reservoirs would secure water supply for the West End for decades, Davis noted it would apparently supply water for a population of just 26,000.
“We are not talking about (residential and agricultural) growth in the West End – we're talking about mining,” she said. “And it's illegal in the state of Colorado to file for water rights for speculative reasons.”
Davis also is critical of the county's approval of special use permits for uranium mining operations in the West End.
“Job creation should be our primary goal, but not at the expense of public and environmental safety… and anytime radioactive materials are involved, safety is a concern,” she said.
Davis said she'd rather see the county addressing the environment that supports business. She would like to focus on small businesses and support the growth of Mesa State University, as well as the county's recreation, tourism and agricultural industries, which not only drive employment and the economy, but also enhance the natural beauty of the area, she said.
Davis would, however, support an investigation into mining rare earth minerals within the county, she said.
A Montrose resident since 1994, Davis has served six years on the Montrose County School Board, which has given her experience dealing with large budgets and staff, she said.
The characteristics she brings to the county commissioner position – respect, integrity and honesty, as well as being a hard-worker and good listener – are “not caused by gender, but who I am as a person,” she said.
And similar to when she became a large animal veterinarian at a time when not many women were pursuing the profession, if elected, she'll bring her “try-harder attitude” to the position, she said.
Davis is vying for the District 3 seat, currently held by Republican David White. White and Jim Haugsness will battle in June's Republican primary to determine who will be Davis' challenger. Davis is the only Democrat to announce for the race at this time.
Davis must receive at least 30 percent of the delegate votes during Saturday's Montrose County Democrat Assembly to get on the ballot.