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  • Writer's pictureMarsha for Commissioner

My Candidate Platform: July 2020 (Updated!)

The issues that impact the people of La Plata County are my priority. I have done 50 listening sessions to develop this platform which answers: What do I plan to keep, fix, replace and/or repair? County Government plays a critical role in creating healthy communities and a strong economy. Together, we can unite to solve problems and do the most good for the most people.

Good Jobs and a Thriving, Diverse Local Economy 

We need to grow and bring good jobs to La Plata County to improve quality of life for all especially in the era of COVID-19. People define a "good job" in many different ways. I define it as a job that contributes to well-being for individuals and families of all kinds. The County cannot and does not grow our economy by itself. So, effective public-private partnerships are necessary plus common sense solutions.

My priorities are to: 

  • Continually streamline and improve County land use and planning processes so they are less cumbersome and costly.

Rebuilt trust in land use planning so the Code and systems work better for everyone. 

(Note: 7/20: the County is taking public comment on a new land use Code, which I support).


  • Look to areas of the County for planned “growth hubs”, light industrial expansion and attainable/workforce/affordable housing.

  • Be a champion for our infrastructure. County Roads and Bridges are the County’s largest asset and we must take care of them. 

  • Diversify our economy and grow/start higher-paying jobs in health care, light manufacturing, technology, sustainable outdoor recreation, timber products from forest health initiatives, value-added agriculture, renewable energy and the creative industries.

  • Dramatically expand broadband internet access.

  • Continue to improve the Dur.-LPC Airport incrementally and as funds allow.

  • Help our tourism sector recover and come back after COVID-19.

  • Link with: Region 9 Economic Development District, the La Plata Economic Development Alliance, local business groups, SCAPE, Local First, Fort Lewis, and the Small Business Development Center, and others. ​

  • Ensure that as we grow our economy we also consider child care, transit, housing and health care as important pillars of economic health.

County Road and Bridge at Work: Photo: Durango Herald

Vital County Services  

Everyone benefits from the services provided through County Government in one way or another. With our county projected to grow to 70,000 people by 2030, we must proactively plan.

County residents can no longer count on the oil and gas sector to pay the bulk of our bills so the we must be careful with budgets and keep all revenue options on the table, and involve County residents in all ways possible.

My priorities are to:      

  • Continue to determine where efficiencies can be found in the County budget. 

  • Institute more measurement in each County Department’s budget around outcomes (i.e., set measurable goals and better communicate what County tax money does for residents, etc.). 

  • Ensure growth pays a proportionate share of costs.

  • Institute reasonable and fair road impact fees.  

  • Keep all revenue options on the table and plan carefully to keep service provision aligned with County population growth.

  • Involve taxpayers in all ways possible to define what they want from County Government and what they will pay for.

CR 141 near Breen

VOA Senior Affordable Housing, Three Springs

More Affordable Housing 

Many in the workforce, young people and seniors on fixed incomes are getting priced out of many parts of our communities. Close to 50% of county residents lack enough qualifying income to buy a home. We need to do more and put additional tools in our tool kit.

My priorities are to: 

  • Work together to complete a County Affordable Housing Action Plan as soon as possible. The plan will involve all sectors, build on what is working, look to the future and determine if there are more tools to use focusing on public/private partnerships.

  • Develop a transparent measurement system related to which types of housing are needed and document progress towards attaining goals. 

  • Ensure that housing goals in the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code are acted upon and move forward. 

  • Support the work of PATH (Planning and Action Team on Homelessness). 

  • Keep tools already in place such as the Regional Housing Authority and Community Development Corporation if they can play impactful roles.

"416 Fire" Photo: Durango Herald

Public Health and Safety  

I am for a healthy community and look at things holistically. Everything is interconnected: people, pocketbooks and place.

"Health" also means public safety, resources to respond to COVID-19, and the physical safety of all residents and their properties as we will see more wildfires and flooding. 


No one asked for this pandemic. Getting through to the other side will require steady, proven leadership. In order to rise and recover, we must work very closely with all relevant partners at every single level of government; with businesses and business groups; with San Juan Basin Health; and of course, with residents. County Government alone cannot help our community fully thrive after COVID-19. Also, I support using science and best practices as our guides plus expanded access to testing and contact tracing. We will get through this but it's going to take a lot of patience and ingenuity.

Logo from Recovery Task Force

Wildfires and Forest Health 

USFS Lands and Hidden Valley

  • Continue efforts to help residents impacted by flooding. Complete the Emergency Watershed Program and look to new opportunities. Make permanent the weather radar system on Missionary Ridge. 

  • Help residents implement local CWPPs (Community Wildfire Protection Plans). 

  • Support the work of the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative and other such forest health efforts (forests are where most water comes from).

Animas in drought Photo: Durango Herald/Jerry McBride

Water and Air

  • Stand up for Public Lands.

  • Protect our water supplies and support collaborative efforts to improve water quality.

  • Support the reduction of the methane cloud above our area because it is a threat to public health.

  • We need continued local control and community rights concerning oil and gas drilling and operations. 

  • Work with all interests to make common sense, balanced and fair decisions.

Touring a solar installation/western County

Clean Energy 

Our society is moving to renewable energy quickly as the cost comes down. Many people have a desire to reduce our carbon usage.  I want La Plata County to be the leader among all Western Slope communities in this area and I believe we can unite by diversifying our local economy with renewable energy jobs.  

My priorities are to: 

  • Work collaboratively for the development of action steps at the community level. Involve the agricultural, power and current energy sectors to learn and benefit from their experiences. 

  • Make the County Government permitting of solar facilities streamlined, safe and efficient. 

  • Consider where solar panels could go on County buildings working with the private sector.  

  • Continue efforts and look for opportunities to reduce County Government energy consumption in buildings and fleets.  

Smart Growth 

Private and public lands and landscapes are valued by all. We all want clean air and water. There are many needs and interests involved in these issues.  I will balance them.

My priorities is to:

  • Do a better job of protecting existing neighborhoods, our environment and quality of life while supporting a thriving, local and diverse economy & job creation.

  • Work together as a region (inter-county and with other counties) to guide the housing, workforce and transportation networks while working to minimize sprawl. 

  • Protect our water supplies and support collaborative efforts to improve water quality.

  • Implement creative, innovative and effective ways to address the loss of agricultural land like clustered development, voluntary tools such as conservation easements, and promote Community-Supported Agriculture Farms (CSAs).  

  • Expand the markets for local food through Farmers’ Markets, food banks and greater collaboration with schools and other institutions, including County Government. 

  • Continually improve the land use Code and keep the Comprehensive Plan relevant with high levels of citizen involvement.

Getting things done requires experience, proven leadership, and a demonstrated ability to work with all kinds of people, groups and partners. I am ready to put my passion for public service and my skills to work for you.

* Marsha

Marsha Porter-Norton

Democrat for La Plata County Commissioner

Proven leadership for healthy communities and a strong economy

Engage, Donate and Volunteer here:

Contact me here: or 970-403-5680

Facebook: Marsha for Commissioner@MPNfortheWIN

Vote your Values. Vote for Marsha.

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