The selection of board members to guide La Plata Electric Association presents challenges and opportunities. This election will determine one third of the LPEA board, and cannot result in a radical overhaul of the co-op. Redirecting LPEA just a bit more toward the future, however, is warranted. With that, the Herald recommends both change and continuity, and endorses Kirsten Skeehan, Bruce Baizel, Britt Bassett and Herb Brodsky.
In District 1, incumbent Robert Formwalt faces challenger Skeehan.
Formwalt was an Archuleta County commissioner for 12 years and has long experience in banking. He knows real estate and agriculture. But he also speaks as if exploring alternate energy sources is an unworkable distraction rather than a legitimate goal.
Skeehan supports “seeing past the status quo and working for multiple, secure, affordable sources of energy.” A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, she also holds an MBA and has experience managing technology and infrastructure projects both in the Navy and in a 21-year career with Fannie Mae.
Skeehan could better take LPEA where it needs to go.
In District 2, incumbent Jerry McCaw faces Bruce Baizel.
McCaw is a longtime local rancher who also had a 38-year career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a civil engineer. He has been deeply involved in local and state affairs including schools and agricultural interests, and is highly regarded in the community.
But in his background, knowledge, interests and temperament, Bruce Baizel may be the most qualified person in the field to serve on LPEA’s board.
His expertise includes issues of gas production, he has a background in renewable energy and, as a licensed lawyer, a knowledge of the law.
It is a shame geography pitted these two against each other, but Baizel is the right pick.
The race in District 3 has incumbent Bobby Lieb being challenged by Britt Bassett.
Bassett has valuable and pertinent scientific expertise, including work at three prestigious government labs. And he is a partner in a Durango-based business involved with large photovoltaic projects in California.
Lieb’s experience with boards and government is different, but also valuable. The problem is that he is also an incumbent county commissioner – a more-than-full-time job in itself.
Both positions are demanding leadership roles. Could Lieb do both? Yes. Can he give both the time, attention and energy they deserve? That is a harder question, one best answered by not asking him to try.
Vote for Brit Bassett.
In District 4, incumbent Herb Brodsky faces Heather Erb and Ann McCoy Harold.
Harold is a lifelong resident of Bayfield. Her ties to the community are deep and her commitment to LPEA is unquestioned.
Erb has been active in several programs benefiting the community. Her experience includes a focus on green building programs and renewable energy.
Neither, however, can come close to Brodsky’s knowledge of business or his long and diverse experience. Trained as an engineer, he had a successful career in sales and management with several major corporations. He has also worked with and on numerous boards, both in business and nonprofits, including 21 years on the LPEA board.
Change works best in context. Brodsky offers just that.
Vote for Kirsten Skeehan, Bruce Baizel, Britt Bassett and Herb Brodsky.