by Pam Zubeck
El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark pulled out all the stops at her announcement Monday to seek a third term after voters passed a measure in 2010 extending term limits to three, four-year terms for commissioners.
Her announcement took place at the county-owned Pikes Peak Center for which she paid $450 to rent the lobby, and included a honkytonk band, food and a crowd of about 100 people, including many county employees who said they were taking their lunch hour to attend the announcement.
Clark chose former Commissioner Jim Bensberg — the only commissioner who opposed sending the term-limits measure to voters — to emcee her announcement. State Rep. Bob Gardner, Sheriff Terry Maketa and District Attorney Dan May also spoke.
They all talked about Clark's work ethic and commitment to the region. "Commissioner Clark has always been there for us," Gardner said.
"I have never seen a harder working county commissioner than Sallie Clark," May said.
Clark, an unsuccessful candidate for Colorado Springs mayor in 1999 and 2003, served on City Council prior to running for commissioner in 2004. While with the county, she has served on a variety of boards, committees and panels on child welfare, public safety, transportation and business.
Looking ahead, she vows to work to balance jobs against regulations on oil and gas drillers, to support more shared services between the city and county and to reduce regulations on business and unfunded mandates on local government.
She also vows to "fight for residents to play an active role in government," although she refused to let voters have a second crack at the term-limits question until 2012, allowing her to seek a third term.
The term-limits measure was viewed by some as containing tricky wording, because it asked if commissioners should be limited to three terms instead of granted an additional term. The issue has given Clark an opponent, nonprofit owner Karen Magistrelli, from her own Republican party.
Caucuses are Feb. 7.