Thank you for all your support! I am so pleased to be re-elected to County Commissioner.

The Durango Herald has Endorsed Me!durangoh-endorses-gwen

Read the editorial here.

It has been an honor to serve as La Plata County Commissioner these past four years

I’m running for re-election because I love this county and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far with a balanced approach to decision-making and problem solving. We have had many successful accomplishments!

I welcome the opportunity to serve for one more term because there’s still so much to be done:

  • Restore the Animas River and clean up leaking mines.
  • Improve our air quality by cutting methane emissions.
  • Establish a new land use code and improved transportation infrastructure to attract high quality employers and create new jobs.
  • Complete the long-range comprehensive plan – with an eye toward diversifying our economy and addressing declining. revenues from oil and gas; protecting future water supplies, ranch land, and open space; and creating healthy communities with strong local businesses.
  • Ensure that our transportation, housing and schools infrastructure will keep and attract high quality employers and create new jobs that pay a living wage.
  • Strengthen our community by growing local and regional food.
  • Keep our public lands in public hands and protect our outdoor recreation economy.

I ask for your vote in November — Thank you!

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Put a sign in your yard!IMG_1416

Pick up signs big and small at Democratic Headquarters: 1911 Main Avenue; Durango

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Accomplishments for La Plata County

Comprehensive Planning for La Plata County’s Future: I actively pushed the County to re-engage with creating a comprehensive plan. The Planning Commission is now doing so, with active citizen support.

La Plata County’s Precious Water: I supported the creation of the La Plata County Water Advisory Commission to aide the county both in planning for, and protecting, our waters.

Air Quality Standards: I led the county in developing strong state air quality standards and the nation’s first rule controlling methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Diversifying La Plata County’s Employment: I advocate daily for diversifying our economy so we are not so dependent on any single industry.

Advocating for County Fiscal Responsibility: I supported convening a Fiscal Sustainability Steering Committee to help the commissioners plan for the county’s financial future.

My commission record and long-term planning

Read about my commission record and long-term planning.

Candidate Forum Q&A

Forum Question and Answers

Upcoming Events

November 8

Let’s celebrate Election Night together!

Please join me and the La Plata County Democrats at the Powerhouse/Durango Science Center beginning at 6:00 pm. More

October 27

Roy Zimmerman Benefit Concert for La Plata County Democrats

Durango Arts Center
802 East 2nd Avenue
Doors open at 6:30 pm, concert at 7:30 pm

Tickets are $25, $10 for students

Get your tickets at Democratic Headquarters 1911 Main Avenue, Durango or online here. More

Friday October 14, 2016
Open Shutter Gallery
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Music by Tim Sullivan, food and community More

See More Upcoming Events

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    Let's end unfettered gas flaring


    Gwen Lachelt voiced support for the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed natural gas waste rule during a congressional hearing April 27, 2016. Durango Herald Article.

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    Hold mining companies responsible for cleanups


    Denver Post Editorial by Gwen Lachelt
    The American people are about to inherit another costly Superfund site, courtesy of inadequate and outdated federal mining regulations. Earlier this month, the EPA recommended that the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado, which dumped a torrent of mine waste into the Animas River last year, should be added to the list of the nation’s most toxic clean-up sites. Photo (Brennan Linsley, Associated Press file).

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    Setting the Record Straight


    The 2016 General Election is down to the wire. With just over a month to go, there seems to be no bottom to the nasty tactics and untruths coming from my opponent’s campaign. Since this spring, my opponent’s campaign has filed several open record act requests with the county seeking everything from my county travel expenses to my communications with untold numbers of people. What were they looking for? I have no idea. But it cost the county a tremendous amount of staff time and taxpayer dollars to respond to these requests.

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    I can take the long view, by Durango Herald


    Lachelt’s years of work, which ranges from co-founding Bear Smart Durango to helping pass legislation to protect New Mexico’s Valle Vidal from mineral extraction, has attracted the attention of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Time and The Washington Post, among others. In 2005, because of OGAP’s work, the Ford Foundation named her a national finalist for the Leadership for a Changing World award.

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    Responsive to citizens' needs


    I have been responsive to public concerns, both large and small – whether it’s been citizens wanting to ensure funding for the Sunnyside and Fort Lewis libraries, or a dangerous road intersection needing some additional signage, or too much commercial traffic to and from mines, or too many bears in too many trashcans, I have acted. There are no easy answers. I’m hoping that together we can determine how we can effectively deal with these issues without breaking the bank or increasing the budget – how we can make improvements without adding additional staff.

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    Long Range Planning is Critical


    Our county population is projected to explode from our current 54,000 residents to an estimated 85,000 by 2035. To preserve our county’s beauty and health, to keep this home to both wild life and ranchers, to attract high quality employers, we need to plan carefully.

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    When a River Runs Orange


    Durango, Colo. - The recent mining pollution spill in my corner of Colorado - La Plata County - is making national news for all the wrong reasons. Beyond the spill and its impact in everyone downstream, the underlying causes are far more worrisome and dangerous than just a mistake made by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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    Methane Emissions and Acid Mine Drainage


    Though currently toxic, our local environmental problems could actually stimulate local jobs and growth. From methane emissions that need an "Apollo-like effort to bring local, state and federal governments together with businesses and organizations to reduce emissions; to acid mine drainage leaving more than 300 million gallons each year into the Animas River -- these are our opportunities to clean up and employment.



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    Governor John Hickenlooper Governor of Colorado

    Gwen is always firm in her convictions, and while we have not always agreed, she is in public service for all the right reasons.


    Julie Westendorff La Plata County Commissioner

    Gwen brings fresh perspectives, intelligence and thoughtfulness, and creative problem-solving to address La Plata County issues.

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    Peter Schertz Maria’s Bookshop Co-Owner

    Gwen knows how to work with diverse groups to get things done.