VALLEY — Rio Grande County Commissioner Candidate John Noffsker is descended from a long line of farmers and ranchers and has been a rancher on Rock Creek for the past 23 years. In 2005, John and his wife Linda were honored by the Colorado State Land Board as State Lessees of the Year. He is the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Monte Vista and past president of the Rio Grande County Farm Bureau.
At the urging of involved community leaders, including elected officials, business owners, law enforcement, and many others who feel it is time for a change in county leadership, he agreed to run for the office of county commissioner. At the Republican County Assembly, he received 55 per cent of the delegate vote.
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Real Estate, he enlisted in the Air Force. He completed Officer’s Training School as a Distinguished Military Graduate, was top of his class in academics and became a pilot, flying in Vietnam and around the world.
In addition to flying, he was selected to be a combat operations officer whose duties included commanding airlift support units for joint military operations around the globe. He received several commendations and awards for his ability to recognize the root source of problems and provide effective solutions in these complex and fluid operations. He was known for standing for what was right and making the hard decisions in the face of extreme pressure and criticism.
While in the military, he was also involved in several community activities including Big Brothers, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol and a counseling program with inmates at a federal penitentiary.
After eight years of active military service, he was recruited to fly for an airline. In 2003, he was awarded the Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal for flying in support of Iraqi Freedom as a pilot in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. He retired from Northwest Airlines after 27 years.
Noffsker served as the Mayor of Marcus, a small town in Washington State. Subsequent Marcus city leaders have many times attributed his leadership as pivotal in improving the vigor and long run well being of the town.
In addition, he also served as the executive director of an Economic Development District, chairman of a five-county tourism development board, advisor to counties, municipalities and tribal business councils. He also served on numerous boards and committees including Regional Transportation, Airport Development, Chamber of Commerce, and a community performing arts center.
Rio Grande County is facing many critical challenges: the dramatically growing opioid crisis in conjunction with the accompanying property crime epidemic, a stagnate economy, the prospect of a decline in property tax revenue due to Gallagher/Tabor amendments, and growing expenses, to name a few.
Noffsker stated, “As commissioner, my first priority would be restoring the relationship between the Board of Commissioners and law enforcement by providing the sheriff’s department the support and resources needed to deal with our growing drug and related property crime problem. The drug problem cannot be solved by enhanced law enforcement alone. We need to develop a path to recovery which will allow those trapped by addiction to be welcomed back as functioning members of our community. This will require an investment by not only the government but also businesses, service organizations, the faith community, and most importantly, all of us as citizens.
“Secondly, I have a strong commitment to addressing impending county budget challenges along with creative, realistic economic development strategies.
“There is no single solution, no silver bullet that will fix these issues. It takes the whole community to build a healthy community. As commissioner, I will reach out to all, listening to their concerns and discussing with them the options for addressing those concerns.
“I will do my level best to be a responsive and dedicated public servant. I will work to foster a more responsive and responsible government. Together, we can strive to make our community the very best it can be.”