Kevin Ross (R)
Vice President Poudre Valley Capital
City of residence
I grew up in Eaton. I attended the University of Wyoming and earned a degree in finance. I have been married to my wife Amy for nearly 22 years. We have two daughters who attend the high school in Eaton. I owned a successful insurance agency for 17 years. I also had the opportunity to coach the high school football team in Eaton for 13 years as the defensive coordinator. I have served on and chaired numerous state and national boards both professionally and for the community.
What makes you the best candidate for this seat?
With Weld County facing so many challenges from the state, I believe Experience matters. I served as commissioner in 2020 and was Eaton's Mayor. I have chaired numerous transportation boards and understand the challenges facing our great county. I am able to hit the ground running and I bring solutions immediately to the role.
What is the most pressing issue facing Weld county, and why?
I believe the most pressing issue is infrastructure, specifically transportation needs. Weld's population is expected to double by 2045 according to the state demographer. We are considered the third fastest growing region in the entire country. This growth is putting huge strains on all of our infrastructure, especially transportation corridors. Residents are experiencing gridlock as they go to work or take their children to school.
How would you deal with that issue?
I will tackle this just like I did as chair of the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization to expand I-25. We will work collaboratively with our municipal partners to design corridors for efficient flow of traffic. By working together, we will score higher for state and federal funding to help with these projects. If we are able to bring additional funding sources to the table, we can get more projects done sooner.
What is another issue that you would make a priority if elected?
Water is going to become a critical role of the commissioners. Historically water is not an issue that is handled at the commissioner level however, with Nebraska wanting to make a play on our farmers water, it will be critical we help become a voice for ag. I currently work in the market arena, there are several solutions that can be brought forward to protect ag resources and accommodate the growth we are experiencing.
Steve Moreno has served in this seat since 2014. Looking back over his record, what would you have done differently?
Commissioner Moreno has served the constituents of Weld very well. I would make a stronger effort to communicate with our 32 municipalities across Weld and work collaboratively with them. I believe communication is key. I would also go back and review some of the land use policies and make sure they are being effective in today's market. If there are areas of unnecessary red tape, I would like to get those removed.
What can you do to protect water rights in Weld County, both from in state and out-of-state pressures?
I have been working with our Ag producers to start discussing solutions to this very issue. Ag understands the problem and wants to be part of the solution. It will be vital not only to Weld County to keep this water here, but other eastern counties rely on us leading the way and being their voice as well. These solutions will be critical, if water leaves Weld county it's economic impact is felt forever. I believe it will come down to partnerships with ag, because I don't believe we should mess with the free market.
Does Weld County have a role to play in meeting the demand for workforce or attainable housing? If so, what are some of the measures the county should be taking to spur development of that kind of housing?
The best role we can play is to make sure there are no barriers. The natural market will dictate what type of housing will be built. Developers aren't going to build a product that won't sell. When government inserts itself into the free market there is always unintended negative consequences, we need to avoid those. If municipalities would like our assistance, I am always happy to partner to provide them the resources they need.
Should Weld County have a role in regulating the oil and gas industry and if so, what should that role be?
When I served as commissioner, I was able to help get favorable rules within the state's new guidelines only because we have our own oil and gas department. The state issued 2,000 foot setbacks for drilling, because we had our own department we were able to negotiate 500 foot setbacks. This allows mineral owners to continue to be able to explore their right. This department is key to allowing the continued mineral exploration in Weld County and we will continue to lead the state in production.
What does Weld County need to do to ensure its residents' votes are encouraged and counted fairly?
As Weld commissioner's our only role in elections is the approval of the budget brought forth by the County Clerk and Recorder. I will make sure that person has the tools they need to ensure that votes are counted accurately.
Some counties and cities are considering new regulations due to the national wave of gun violence. What would you do regarding this issue?
First and foremost I stand up for and defend the constitution and the 2nd amendment. I believe we have a mental health problem in this country not a gun problem. I will continue to support our Health and Human Services department to help them engage individuals who need mental health services. I will also support Sheriff Reams to make sure he has the tools to effectively deal with inmates who need mental health services.