Q&A with Jeff Baker, candidate for Arapahoe County commissioner, District 3

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Party: Republican

Residence: Centennial

Campaign website: committeetoelectjeffbaker.com

What makes you the best choice for this office?

Experience. I have over 21 years as an employee of Arapahoe County working in two different departments. I know the county backward and forward. I know which department or office is responsible for what duty, and I have a personal knowledge of many of the employees who get things done. I have also built and maintain friendly relations with the elected city and town officials who know they can call me and get things done.

If you're elected, what single issue will be at the top of your agenda?

My top priority will be figuring out how to fund the maintenance of our roads and bridges. We have unsafe conditions on many streets and roadways. I represent Arapahoe County at the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) — the federally recognized metropolitan planning organization for the metro area — and I also serve as the chair of the Arapahoe County Transportation Forum. The county, along with our city and town partners, need to focus on this issue of safety and reducing congestion. Funding the work that needs to be done is going to take collaboration and ingenuity.   

If you're elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?

In government, successes take time. It moves at a very slow pace because of rules on openness and transparency, collecting taxes, providing notice to the public (and so on). If I can simply make progress toward any of the priorities I have listed here, I would consider it a success.

As Arapahoe County and the entire metro area continue to grow in population, what can the county do to ensure housing is more affordable?

The regulation of responsible development of our currently vacant land in the county is a large part of what the board of county commissioners does. The market for affordable housing is market-driven and will be supplied by smart business people as they see the demand grow. I often join my fellow commissioners in speaking with the housing industry to emphasize the need for more affordable housing. I have been endorsed by the Metro Housing Coalition (the political arm of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver).

How can the county ensure new developments on Aurora's east edge and near east Centennial don't negatively impact current residents?  

Water is a limited resource. Aurora has done an outstanding job in acquiring water resources and managing them effectively. I am a board member for the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority. That entity will continue to work with all other water districts in the region to plan so we hopefully have enough water for projected growth. We already partner with our municipalities to make traffic improvements throughout the county, and that will need to continue. An example of that kind of collaboration is the intersection of Gun Club Road and Quincy Avenue, where a multimillion-dollar county-Aurora project is underway.    

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