Rube Felicelli and Joan May are set to square off in a Democratic Primary on Aug. 8. Since the Republicans failed to mount a nominee, the winner of the Democratic Primary would have won the seat if a challenger had not arisen. When asked if that helped her decision-making process, Hall states, "That did affect my decision to run. I was a little put off at the idea of an elected seat being decided at a primary."
Hall has never been affiliated with a political party saying, "In the regional government, here, party affiliation doesn't play that big a part."
An interest in government and good timing also weighed heavily in her decision to run. "My son just graduated from high school and is off to college" at CU-Boulder "in the fall," she explains. "I've spent time the last five years on the [San Miguel County] Planning Commission, so I'm familiar with the county government and staff.
"I think there are some significant pressures affecting San Miguel County, from the oil and gas development to the growth in adjacent counties," she says. "Montrose County is growing it seems at an unprecedented pace."
Having spent the last four years on the Lawson Hill Property Owners Association board of directors and even longer on an advisory board to the Lawson Hill developer, "trying to hold together a strong middle class deed-restricted neighborhood" has been of paramount concern to Hall. Hall currently works as the operations manager of the property owners association.
Hall lives in deed-restricted housing and while she feels "very proud and thankful to have been offered that type of opportunity in this area," she adds, "I know that there is a significant need for more." Her focus, she says, would be "to identify sites that are appropriate and then work toward the funding mechanisms to be able to purchase properties and make it happen."
Where those sites might be, Hall doesn't know for sure, but believes that "housing that is closer to an already existing township makes more sense than scattered about the county." Norwood would not be out of the question, "if they were open to the housing and would support it," she says, "but my first question would be 'Is there any water?' It is a large concern whether they are able to provide water and sewer."
Hall has much praise for the current commissioners in respect to the environment. "I think the county has taken a really strong, proactive stance (on the environment)," she says, "I'm really delighted that the commission has started work on the oil and gas regulations and the protection of the Sage Grouse." She is also satisfied with the efforts by the county to cooperate with other regional governments. "I know and respect all of the commissioners," Hall says. "I feel like they've done a great job of beginning to talk and hold intergovernmental meetings with Town of Mountain Village and Town of Telluride. They've also really moved forward with speaking with the other counties, Ouray and Montrose. I think they've done a good job beginning that dialogue."
A hint of criticism sneaks in when the west end of the county is mentioned. While she is thrilled by the efforts underway with respect to oil and gas development and the commissioners' strong stance in joining the lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's effort to de-list the Gunnison Sage Grouse as an endangered species candidate, she says more attention needs to be paid to the less populated areas of the county. "I believe the county has been receptive to concerns in the rest of the county," she explains, "but it does tend for the most part to deal with issues that are brought to light. I'm not sure we have been as proactive at meeting their needs."
Asked to sum up the qualities she possesses that offer the most benefit to the county, Hall says, "I guess if I was going to speak to who I am, I'm incredibly patient. I'm a good listener. Level headed. Fair and balanced."
Hall has spent the past 25 years in the area as an artist and jeweler, coming from Minneapolis by way of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass. She feels fortunate that her son was born and raised in San Miguel County. Now it's time to give back.
"It's not a decision one can make lightly," Hall says. "It's a huge step."