COLORADO VOTES 2022: Pinter seeks re-election in Adams County, facing veteran Sean Forest

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Sean Forest | Emma Pinter

Democratic incumbent Emma Pinter is running for a second term representing Adams County’s 3rd District on the Board of County Commissioners against Republican Sean Forest.

Pinter is an attorney, and before being elected at the county level served two terms on the Westminster city council. Forest is a business owner who works in project management and has been on a number of local boards, including the Adams County Planning Commission.

Along with much of the Denver metro area and surrounding environments, Adams County has seen significant growth over the past decade, with the county as a whole now home to over half a million people. That fact is top of mind for Forest, who said that managing growth will be Adams County’s biggest challenge going forward.

“The state demography office forecasts Adams County will be the 3rd largest county after Denver and El Paso,” Forest said in response to a Sentinel questionnaire. “Therefore, Adams County needs to plan to accommodate that growth and the needs that come with it, such as housing, water, energy, affordability, recreation, natural space, and business development.”

For her part, Pinter said that strengthening the local economy, creating more affordable housing and protecting what she called the “Colorado way of life” — including a healthy natural environment and access to reproductive health.

Last fall the board of commissioners voted to leave the Tri-County Health Department following Douglas County’s departure, triggering the breakup of the decades-long partnership between Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

Last month, Adams County named Kelly Weidenbach to serve as the executive director for the Adams County health department, which will officially come online at the beginning of 2023. Weidenbach previously served as the Director of Planning and Information Management at Tri-County and has a doctorate in public health and health policy management.

Asked about how to manage the transition, Pinter said that the new department is being staffed and led by a number of highly qualified individuals and will provide a range of low or no-cost services to county residents.

“Adams County’s vision for its new health department is guided by public health industry best practices and by a vision for having the social determinants of health and equity as a foundation to our health department’s structure and activities,” she said.

Forest said that the board can ensure a smooth transition by making sure that communication to residents is communicated frequently through multiple channels and by ensuring that the new department offers the same services that Tri-County did.

Both candidates said that they believe mental health services and access to housing are needed to address homelessness in the county, though Forest said he believes access to housing addresses the symptom of homelessness more than the cause.

Pinter has been endorsed by county commissioners Steve O’Dorisio, Lynn Baca and Eva Henry, along with a number of other local Democratic politicians. Forest has been endorsed by Federal Heights Mayor Linda Montoya, Brighton Mayor Greg Mills, the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission and two Fraternal Order of Police lodges.

Meet Emma Pinter

Emma Pinter

Emma Pinter

Emma Pinter, a Democrat, is running for a second term as the Adams County Commissioner for District 3. First elected in 2018, Pinter previously served two terms as a city council member in Westminster and is a licensed attorney. She serves on a number of committees, including the Adams County Regional Economic Partnership and the Colorado Communities for Climate Action. Pinter has been endorsed by Commissioner Lynn Baca and Representatives Jason Crow and Joe Neguse, among others.

 

https://www.emmapinter.com/ 

Emma Pinter Q&A
  • What are the biggest challenges Adams County faces in the next 10 years?

I see three big challenges for the next 10 years.

  1. Creating an economy that leaves no one out and no one behind. A robust and thriving local economy will create good jobs and opportunities for everyone to earn a good life. This will help boost the local economy so we all can afford the everyday things we need. 
  2. Protecting our Colorado way of life. We need to ensure that our residents have access to clean air, clean water, and safe recreation for ourselves, our children, and for future generations. We must stand strong to protect the Civil Rights we have come to expect in Colorado. This November our freedoms are on the ballot: the freedom to decide if and when to have children, the freedom to breathe easier with clean air and affordable health care, and the freedom to provide for our families and thrive. We need to join together to protect our freedoms, decide our own futures, and ensure that the will of the people prevails.
  3. Housing that people can afford. Right now, it’s too difficult for working folks to afford to own a home. We need to work regionally to lower costs for both renters and homeowners. People need access to housing they can afford to be able to build stability and earn a good life.

 

  • At the beginning of the year, the Tri-County Health Department will dissolve leaving three separate agencies to take its place. How can the board of county commissioners ensure a smooth transition so that residents can continue to rely on needed services?

 

Adams County’s vision for its new health department is guided by public health industry best practices and by a vision for having the social determinants of health and equity as a foundation to our health department’s structure and activities. The new ACHD aims to deliver programs and services to enhance the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.

Our newly appointed Board of Health includes two Doctors one pediatrician and one from a Federally Qualified Health Center, two nurses one from a large hospital system and a former Army reservist with a PHD and a specialty in field hospitals, and also one GIS with a specialty in mapping and informations systems with a focus on mapping opioid abuse.

Adams County Public Health will provide a range of clinical services at a discount or no cost to the community: immunizations that provide protection from disease, chronic disease prevention, WIC, and enrollment that provides free food to women and their children who may not be able to afford groceries, nurse home visits for families, increased testing availability for monkeypox in the coming months, as well as sexual health, family planning, and STI treatment and testing. 

 

 

  • How should the county handle the problem of homelessness and homeless campers?

 

Across race and place, background and party, we know what keeps us safe. It's living in communities where we look out for our neighbors. It’s having access to the great schools and healthcare we need. It also includes having people sworn to serve and protect us by preventing, investigating, and solving crimes while treating us all as equals. 

 

Everyone who lives here deserves to feel safe in their own community.  As a specific response to homelessness we have developed a Poverty Reduction Team, including staff who were formerly homeless, that works one on one with people who experience homelessness. Members of the team connect folks experiencing homelessness to services, showers, Day Work programs, and support. These programs are designed to get folks housed and get them connected with services to keep them housed and off the streets. Programs to help folks find a place to be safe, and get connected to services will also help all residents feel safe in their own homes, on our trails, and in our Open Spaces.

 

  • If the local or state health departments were to impose mask mandates because of a COVID-19 surge in the next several months, would you support it or oppose it?

 

Hopefully, everyone who can get vaccinated will get vaccinated and keep their boosters current. This is the greatest way for us to not only protect ourselves, but to also protect those in our community who cannot get vaccinated for whatever reason. Doing our best to defend against COVID-19, as well as getting a flu shot, and whatever else you might need for your health gives the community the best chance to avoid future mask mandates. 

 

I deeply hope we don’t ever need those types of mandates again. In any situation, we need to follow medical advice. To be able to do that, we need everyone to have access to affordable medical care that is culturally relevant to their life.

 

  • The vast majority of residents and businesses seeking and using county services in person do not live in or near Brighton. Why shouldn’t the county move the bulk of court, jail and other services into the metro area? If you think it’s too expensive, what should Adams County do to accommodate the majority of residents who must bear the costs and time to commute to Brighton?

 

Our Regional transportation department needs to take into account the public’s ability to access buildings of public interest.  No matter where the courthouse or other public services are located, if bus or train lines don’t go there jurors, victims, witnesses, and defendants will all have a hard time accessing them. We need to build our public infrastructure to include accessibility to public services. 

 

  • What one thing could the Legislature do to solve a perplexing problem in the county?

 

We do not have enough funding to respond to the spectrum of the mental health needs of our community.  We don’t have enough suicide assessment and support services,  detox services, or residential treatment beds. We also don’t have enough services for folks who need basic, ground level mental health support for the various difficulties they face. The Legislature could look at this gap in support for our community and work to develop creative ways to bridge these challenges, including workforce development solutions.

 

  • If you could persuade other metro counties to get on board with a single project, what would it be?

 

Cooperative funding of regional transportation plans, including better roadways, public transportation, bike lanes, and access to our core public services. 

 

  • Would you support Aurora creating its own city-county?

 

That would have to be a choice of the voters.  I personally believe we have a lot of shared goals and efforts. Aurora is part of Adams, and as Aurora grows we will continue to have shared vision, hopes, and goals.

 

  • Counties such as Arapahoe share the responsibility of administering the county among its commissioners, rather than hiring a professional county manager at considerable cost. Is Adams County’s system better or would you consider changing it?

 

County services need to be stable and not swayed by politics.  Professional County Management means that our services, programs, and budgets are stable and responsive to the community. Professional management means we build programs that serve the humans who live here, not political whims.

 

  • Do you trust the election process in Colorado? And will you accept the outcome of this election as announced, even if you lose?

 

In America, the voters decide the outcome of our elections. This is a fundamental construct of our Constitution. I trust our professional election workers. We have one of the best elections systems in the United States. Every vote counts and is deeply important. Our freedoms are on the line and on the ballot this election. Please vote, everyone.

 

  • Do you believe the 2020 Presidential Election was absent of widespread fraud and fairly won by Joe Biden? 

 

Yes, our elections are free and fair. I would encourage anyone who has questions to take a tour of our local elections offices or, better yet, sign up to be an election judge if you have the capacity. Our Democracy runs on participation.  

 

Trumpist politicians are trying to get and hold onto power by taking away our freedoms, fueling violence, spreading false claims about our elections, and siding with corporations who put price gouging over American families.  Voters come first, each and every vote counts, and every voter is critical. 

 

Get to know Emma Pinter
  • What’s the most Colorado thing you’ve done recently?

Weekend trip to Rocky Mt. National Park

  • What is the last concert you attended?

The Chicks live at Austin City Limits, on TV from home while snuggling with my daughters. 

  • What restaurant do you frequent most?

As a family on the go Noodles & Co is a staple for us.

  • If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To give people hope that if we work together, we can accomplish great things.

  • What was the last book you read?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

  • What is your least favorite household chore?

Washing dishes. The gloves are a hassle, and when I don’t use them, my hands get dried out and crack; thanks Colorado.

  • If you had to pick one television show to watch forever, what would it be?

The Star Trek franchise.  

  • Did you have any New Year's resolutions? What were they?

Not this year, just New Year’s hopes. 

  • What were you most excited to do after pandemic restrictions eased? 

Get vaccinated and hug my neighbors.

  • What fun fact about you would most surprise people who know you?

I am really good at cutting watermelon.

Meet Sean Forest

Sean Forest

Sean Forest

Sean Forest is the Republican candidate running to serve as the district 3 representative on the Adams County Board of Commissioners. A county resident for over 20 years, Forest is a business owner and has worked in project management for 15 years, according to his campaign website. He is a Marine Corps veteran and has served on the Adams County Planning Commission and the Businesses of Thornton Advisory Council, among other local organizations. He has been endorsed by Brighton mayor Greg Mills and the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission.

https://www.forestforcommissioner.com/

Sean Forest Q&A

What are the biggest challenges Adams County faces in the next ten years?

 

The biggest challenges Adams County faces in the next ten years is controlled growth. The state demography office forecasts Adams County will be the 3rd largest county after Denver and El Paso. Therefore, Adams County needs to plan to accommodate that growth and the needs that come with it, such as housing, water, energy, affordability, recreation, natural space, and business development.

 

At the beginning of the year, the Tri-County Health Department will dissolve leaving three separate agencies to take its place. How can the board of county commissioners ensure a smooth transition so that residents can continue to rely on needed services?

 

The board of county commissioners can ensure a smooth transition so that residents can continue to rely on needed services by 1. Ensuring all previously offered services continue to be delivered, 2. Communicating plainly and thoroughly via multiple methods, mail, email, phone, ads, internet, etc. 3. Having organized and patient staff dedicated to managing the transition, 4. Offering and closely managing multiple methods for which residents can contact Adams County to ask questions and receive clear and timely responses.

 

How should the county handle the problem of homelessness and homeless campers?

 

The county should handle the problem of homelessness and homeless camps by addressing the need for mental health. Generally speaking, offering to house the homeless addresses the symptom, not the real problem, which is often mental illness. While there is always an exception to the rule, typically, people would not prefer to live a homeless life. If this is, in fact, the case, the real issue to address is the mental illnesses from which the homeless suffer. Let us learn, research, and discuss existing successful means to address common mental illness reasons, then execute a plan to begin our efforts to resolve those problems and, in doing so, directly address the reasons for homelessness and homeless campers.

 

Lastly, the other big reason for homelessness is the lack of work opportunities and affordable housing. Both of these issues are likely best addressed via long-term planning for a balanced work-life balance that includes working with existing and future employers and housing developers to ensure sufficient, controlled growth that works and affordable housing become an attainable reality for the citizens of Adams County.

 

If the local or state health departments were to impose mask mandates because of a COVID-19 surge in the next several months, would you support it or oppose it?

 

I am not a proponent of masking, with the exception of areas supporting at-risk or Immuno weakend persons, such as hospitals, nursing homes, etc. However, given sufficient, substantiated, and valid compelling evidence to warrant a mask mandate, I would reluctantly support such a mandate.

 

Most residents and businesses seeking and using county services in person do not live in or near Brighton. Why shouldn’t the county move the bulk of court, jail, and other services into the metro area? If you think it’s too expensive, what should Adams County do to accommodate most residents who must bear the costs and time to commute to Brighton?

 

There is undoubtedly a significant cost consideration when assessing the movement or expansion via satellite locations of courts, jails, and other services to accommodate the bulk of county residents. Therefore, I would research how other counties, municipalities, and states have addressed such issues and, in counsel with citizen representatives, establish a prioritized list of solutions, a budget, and a timeline in which to deliver such services to accommodate citizens inconvenienced by the current court, jail and other service locations. Such solutions (obviously not jail) should include remote connectivity.

 

What one thing could the Legislature do to solve a perplexing problem in the county?

 

If you could persuade other metro counties to get on board with a single project, what would it be?

 

This is a difficult question to be sure of as several issues could be effectively addressed by such a large and resource-rich group of entities. Mental Health, Affordable housing, Veterans Assistance, Education...

 

Public transit is a significant issue that will only get bigger over time and is something that addresses a wide swath of our society. Being able to get around efficiently and inexpensively is undoubtedly an issue fit for being addressed by a large group of metro counties.

 

Would you support Aurora creating its own city-county?

 

If the people of Aurora want to create their own city-county, they should be free to do so.

 

Counties such as Arapahoe share the responsibility of administering the county among its commissioners rather than hiring a professional county manager at a considerable cost. Is Adams County’s system better, or would you consider changing it?

 

As of this writing, I do not know. If compared to Adams County, Arapahoe County has established a history of successfully managing its resources and services effectively, I would consider changing the Adams County system. However, if the history of Arapahoe County’s commissioner-centric administration does not demonstrate clear and definitive improvement over the current Adams County manager-centric administration, then I would be less inclined to make any changes.

 

Do you trust the election process in Colorado? And will you accept the outcome of this election as announced, even if you lose?

 

The integrity of election processes should always be vigorously protected. While citizens should always be watchful for election fraud and constantly labor to protect such operations from tampering, I trust the election process in Colorado. Therefore, I would accept the outcome even if I lost.

 

Do you believe the 2020 Presidential Election was absent of widespread fraud and fairly won by Joe Biden?  

 

Whether valid or not, election fraud conspiracies are at the forefront of many people’s minds, as a similar argument could be made for the previous presidential election. While not completely happy with the resulting outcome of his win, I believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

 

Get to know Sean Forest

What’s the most Colorado thing you’ve done recently?

 

The most Colorado thing I’ve done lately is wearing a parka with shorts due to our unique weather.

 

What is the last concert you attended?

 

After serving in the military, I’m not a fan of large crowds. As such, the last concert I attended in person was in high school for Depeche Mode at Red Rocks many years ago.

 

What restaurant do you frequent most?

 

Given our work hours, my lady and I dine out more often than most. Further, outside of a moderately edible mac and cheese, neither of us can cook. As such, we love to eat at the White Chocolate Grill, 801 Chophouse, Village Inn, and Longhorn Steakhouse, and the potato soup at the Outback is always good. However, I wish there were more Boston Markets, as I’ve always enjoyed their food.

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

 

Flying would certainly be fantastic but would probably get boring after a while. Instead, imagine having the ability to make people happy, laugh, and unite as Robin Williams could - Yeah, that’d be my superpower. Seeing and hearing people of every age and type laugh and enjoy life would never get old.

 

What was the last book you read?

 

The last book I read via Audible was “Stone’s Rules” by Roger Stone. While the man is undoubtedly a political criminal, I’ll admit it was an interesting and often entertaining read.

 

What is your least favorite household chore?

 

Picking up after our two German Shepherds. And don’t get me started on the hair! We’ve three handheld shark vacuums in the house just to keep the hair at bay - But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

If you had to pick one television show to watch forever, what would it be?

 

Presuming continued quality writing of new episodes, I could watch the Fox American space western drama “Firefly” forever. -Browncoats 

 

Did you have any New Year’s resolutions? What were they?

 

The same one every year - Be kind to others. Sounds sappy but am I wrong? There’s a surplus of unhappiness in the world. It’s my hobby to push back against that when I can.

 

What were you most excited to do after pandemic restrictions eased? 

 

Dine Out!

 

What fun fact about you would most surprise people who know you?

 

Unlike my stoic lady, I can get emotional watching well-written dramas. When Forrest Gump is at Jenny’s grave telling her about their son...  I mean, C’MON!!!  ...kills me EVERY. TIME.

 

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