Lesley Dahlkemper, candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner — District 3

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Party: Democrat

City of residence: Unincorporated Lakewood

Profession: Former business owner, journalist and nonprofit executive

Campaign Website: www.dahlkemperforjeffco.com  Twitter: @ldahlkemper Facebook: @DahlkemperForJeffco

What makes you the best candidate for District 3?

Our family has called Jeffco home for 24 years. I have a deep commitment to our community and a proven track record of results. You can count on me to listen to diverse perspectives, find workable solutions and advocate for Jeffco – just as I did when I served on the Jeffco School Board. I’ll work to attract well-paying jobs, protect our open space, address housing and transportation needs, and promote safe communities.

What is the most important responsibility of a county commissioner?

Commissioners are the fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars. They approve the county’s $556.2 million budget and it should reflect the community’s values. It’s a large responsibility that requires leadership and collaboration that begins with listening and understanding our diverse communities. Commissioners must be transparent and accountable for every taxpayer dollar. Working with county staff and other elected leaders, commissioners also help set policy that guides the county’s services and programs such as land use.

What is the most pressing issue facing the county?

As housing prices skyrocket and rental vacancies drop, housing that’s affordable is a top concern. Access to decent, safe housing helps provide stability for families and prevent homelessness. 4,000 people are on the wait list for attainable housing in Jeffco. They are aging adults. Individuals with disabilities. Teachers. They are our friends and neighbors. As Jeffco grows, I’ll help ensure the elderly, teachers, first responders, county employees and others aren’t priced out of our community.

How would you deal with that issue?

I’ve met with housing leaders to better understand Jeffco’s unique challenges. I’ve talked with business owners in our mountain communities who say workers can’t afford to live in communities they serve. I’ll collaborate with stakeholders to explore strategies such as: Conducting an inventory of county and state-owned property (this would not include Open Space) to address housing needs. Engaging the community in county-wide housing conversations; Convening leaders to increase dialogue and partnerships on housing solutions.

What is another issue that you would make a priority if elected?

Many of us live in Jeffco because we enjoy what it offers – from beautiful hiking trails and energetic downtowns to arts and culture to sweeping Rocky Mountain views and great schools and libraries. Our diverse geography offers a unique mix of urban, rural and mountain living. As more families and businesses move here, we must find ways to thoughtfully and strategically address growth, while balancing property rights and sustaining the county’s long-term financial health.

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