It’s been nearly 30 years since Josh Joswick served on the Bayfield Board of Trustees, but when a seat suddenly opened, he figured it was the right time to jump back into government.
Former trustee Aaron Wamsley resigned from the board this summer after moving out of Bayfield town limits, making him ineligible to serve as a town trustee. In a split vote, the town trustees brought Joswick onto the board.
He had his first town board meeting in 27 years Tuesday, diving straight into issues like budget planning, infrastructure projects and drought management.
“When I applied, I don’t think anyone else had applied. I thought about it, and I thought, ‘You know, not a bad idea,’” Joswick said. “There appeared a need to be filled, and I figured I’d fill it.”
Joswick was Bayfield mayor from 1988 to 1993 and a La Plata County commissioner from 1993 to 2005. His new term as a trustee will end in 2024.
Three trustees, David Black, Kristin Dallison and Kelly Polites, voted for Joswick. Two trustees, Brenna Morlan and Lori Zazzaro, voted for Charlene Thomas, a first-time candidate for town government. Mayor Ashleigh Tarkington did not vote.
“Josh has a lot of experience in government,” Tarkington said in an message to The Durango Herald. “He understands policy, and his love and knowledge of Bayfield is like no other.”
Joswick joined the board in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which he expects will pose both foreseeable and unforeseen challenges for the community. His focus is also on infrastructure projects, like high-speed broadband internet, and good governance.
He noted there seems to be a lot of “pretty ridiculous” anti-government sentiment, but governing can be done well, and the current board has been doing a good job.
“They’re well-intentioned people, and they’re to be commended for having stepped up because ... it can be pretty taxing,” he said. “I think it’ll be good to be a part of that.”
A few things have changed since Joswick last held a seat on the town Board of Trustees. When he was mayor, there was no town manager and just three, not seven, trustees. The town has also expanded its committees, programs and projects, he said.
Heading into the future, he hopes to see more businesses in Bayfield so people can work where they live and skip commuting if they don’t want to.
“We were talking about that when I was mayor. It hasn’t changed,” he said. “It would be nice to get jobs and businesses out here.”