Julie Westendorff

Westendorff Enlarge photo

Westendorff

Democrat

Campaign site: www.julieforcommissioner2012.com

Current position: Real Estate broker with Coldwell Banker Heritage House Realtors and private practice attorney

Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio

Age: 44

Family: Married to Bill Westendorff

Education: Undergraduate degree at College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Law degree at University of Virginia School of Law

Work history: Westendorff was an associate attorney and partner at two Durango law firms before she became a tribal prosecutor for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in 1998. In 2006, she became a Real Estate broker with Coldwell Banker and continues to run a small law practice on the side. She was a Bayfield municipal judge from 2008 to 2011.

Platform: Westendorff said her background in both real estate and law has given her a firsthand understanding of planning issues in the county, the economic benefits of zoning and the scope of government's regulatory power. As a lawyer, she said she also has learned to find compromises between different parties.

She makes a point to attend most Board of County Commissioners meetings so she can “hit the ground running” if she is elected.

If she wins the November vote, planning issues would be at the top of her priority list, Westendorff said. The county needs a long-range comprehensive plan just like a business needs a business plan, she said. The county's land use code doesn't have enough predictability and because of that uncertainty, it's more costly and less attractive for businesses to move or expand here, Westendorff said.

Westendorff said she supports the idea of building another business park in the county, as long as the location makes sense.

The county also needs to put greater focus on health care, housing and transportation for the elderly.

The county's future work with the gas and oil industry should balance the economic benefits of drilling with surface owners' property rights, road impacts and potential health and environmental impacts, she said.

Westendorff said she will work to make sure the county's voice is heard regionally, statewide and nationally on issues such as water quality and air pollution that cross state and county borders.