Balance and vision are the words that come up most frequently when Kathy Gilliland discusses her goals if elected District 1 Larimer County Commissioner.
Gilliland said her broad experience of community involvement and commitment to fostering those qualities set her apart in her quest for a commissioner’s post.
That balance is based on economic vitality, environmental stewardship and social well-being. She maintains that a balance of all three is required to achieve a sound, sustainable community.
Gilliland said the current commissioners have failed to bring all segments of the community to the table to address all the shared issues.
The county, she maintains, has lost the momentum and inspiration necessary to guide the long-term future rather than simply reacting in the short term. Without that vision, she said, we will be at the mercy of inevitable changes rather than guiding them.
“I see a lack of leadership for pulling the whole county together,” she said. “I think the commissioners are sitting back and not taking a part. They should be convening meetings. They should be speaking out.”
Gililand, a Democrat, said that balance she promises would result from greater inclusion, bringing together the diverse segments of the county — urban and rural — to address issues requiring long-term vision.
Those include changing demographics, land-use planning, natural resource management, transportation infrastructure and economic diversity.
Formerly employed at Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies for 30 years, Gilliland first developed her interest in public policy as a participant in Loveland’s Agenda for the ‘90s, a strategic planning process for the city.
Her passion progressed and in 1993 she was elected to the Loveland City Council. Then in 1996 she was the first mayor elected in a citywide election, serving until her retirement in 2003.
Since then Gilliland said she has started two businesses and continues her involvement in economic vitality, environmental preservation and social health issues—all, once again, necessary for a healthy community.
A member of he Loveland and Larimer County open lands boards, Gilliland said she has a particular commitment to see those successful efforts continue.
At the same time, Gilliland said it’s important to for Larimer County to do its part to alleviate poverty by helping create living-wage jobs.