A political newcomer, Davis owns Davis Service Center, a motorcycle shop, and works for the real estate company Prudential Keinholz Group. Ellis, who is seeking his second term, is a retired 30-year veteran of the Denver Police Department and owns a small business with his wife Kathy, who is Montrose mayor.
Davis said he decided to run because he was dissatisfied with government.
“I didn’t like the direction my country, my state or my county was headed,” he said. “I didn’t like the road it had been down for the last four years. I feel like the county is spending the same expenditures on the same problems while personal incomes are going down.”
Davis criticized the county for deciding to “compete with private enterprise and get in the road building business.”
Ellis responded that the county has finally managed to come up with money for long-overdue road repair, and can do it cheaper than private contractors, saving taxpayers’ money.
“We engage the private sector when it’s appropriate, but by and large we can do a more cost-effective” in-house job, he said. “We get more bang for our buck with tax dollars.”
Without mentioning Ellis, Davis praised commissioners David White and Ron Henderson, both elected in 2008.
“I felt like, especially in the last two years, it’s gotten better,” he said. “Before that, I thought the people of Montrose County were not taken into consideration.”
But commissioners work as a team, Ellis said, even if they disagree.
“It really is a collaborative effort among three board members who represent the citizens of this county,” he said. “If the decision is right for the county and the county’s best interest, there will be a unanimous decision.”
Davis said he’s for smaller government and the rights of the individual over any special interest group.
He also blames the government for the collapse of the housing market, saying that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, not the banks, are to blame.
“They pulled the rug right out from under our feet,” he said.
Ellis said he has other concerns with the federal government.
“They are enforcing mandates and federal regulations on local government that are not consistent with the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” he said.
Davis said he’s been in business for himself since 1967 and knows how to run things.
“I understand what it takes to run a business, write paychecks, and how hard it is to make a living,” he said. “I have a built-in interest in the economic viability of a community, which is of much importance to me.”
Ellis said he stands on his record.
“I believe so much in transparency and involving the community, as a whole, as partners,” he said. “I absolutely believe I have demonstrated that in the last four years.”
Ellis said that growth, currently at a standstill, was addressed by updating zoning and subdivision regulations during his previous term.
“When the economy rebounds we have put the mechanism in place to deal with future growth,” Ellis said.
Ballots will be mailed out on July 19, said Montrose County Clerk Fran Long, and must be returned to her office by 7 p.m. on Aug. 10.
Other Montrose County candidates running unopposed on the primary ballot are Long, Assessor Brad Hughes, Treasurer Rosemary Murphy, Coroner Thomas Canfield, and Sheriff Rick Dunlap.