Elijah Hatch (R)
Business Owner & Entrepreneur.
City of residence
I have been a Weld county resident for more than 33 years,graduated from Platte Valley High School and worked in several industries. I have started and managed several successful businesses while volunteering 500+ hours per year with the county. As the current President of the Weld County Fair Board, Chairman of the Weld County Planning Commission, alternate on the Board of Adjustments and former Councilman At Large for the Weld County Council, I believe in giving back to the community. When I'm not working or volunteering, I spend my time with my wife and children.
What makes you the best candidate for this seat?
I believe what makes me the best candidate for the Weld County Commissioner at Large seat is my extensive experience in business that spans across multiple industries, combined with 13 years of volunteer work for the county on many different boards and committees. Each and every position that I've served in has provided me with the overall capability necessary to get the job done.
What is the most pressing issue facing Weld county, and why?
In my opinion, I believe the most pressing issue in Weld County is WATER.
Because we have an ever increasing demand and a dwindling supply.
How would you deal with that issue?
My plan to deal with our water issue is to advocate to keep all of Weld County water within Weld County. Stopping the release of unused water to surrounding states, as once it is gone, it is never coming back. A big way to help our water crisis is by incentivizing the creation of more water storage basins and increasing our supply capabilities. Currently, Weld County does not have the ability to store its current allotment of water, and what we cannot store gets lost as it flows down the river.
What is another issue that you would make a priority if elected?
If elected, another issue I believe should be a priority for the commissioners is supporting and encouraging our local small businesses. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the lifeblood of our rural communities. We need to be nurturing and providing as much support and guidance as possible, sometimes it helps just having a place to ask questions.
Steve Moreno has served in this seat since 2014. Looking back over his record, what would you have done differently?
After looking back over Mr. Moreno's 8-year record as Commissioner, he has provided a tremendous service for Weld County as a current Commissioner and as the Clerk and Recorder before that. He has always had the county's best interest in mind, has advocated for the citizens and truly loves what he does. He is leaving some big shoes to fill, but I accept the challenge.
What can you do to protect water rights in Weld County, both from in state and out-of-state pressures?
There are many pressures regarding water rights in Weld County both from in state and out of state. To combat these pressures, I plan to fight for the people of Weld. We must push back against other government agencies that are demanding more. The rights of Weld County citizens are my first priority, and any bureaucratic overreach will not be tolerated.
Does Weld County have a role to play in meeting the demand for workforce or attainable housing? If so, what are some of the measures the county should be taking to spur development of that kind of housing?
I do believe Weld County has a role to play in meeting the demand for workforce and attainable housing. Currently, Weld County has a very robust economy with an average of two jobs available per unemployed person. We are in dire need of skilled individuals willing to relocate to Weld County. But attainable housing (not to be confused with affordable housing!) is tough to combat. Since Weld is zoned 98% agriculture, cheaper, high-density housing is encouraged within municipalities.
Should Weld County have a role in regulating the oil and gas industry and if so, what should that role be?
I do believe that Weld County should have a role in regulating the oil and gas industry and that role should be supporting the producers all the while encouraging the most cost effective, yet safest and efficient manner possible to transport our oil and gas resources.
What does Weld County need to do to ensure its residents' votes are encouraged and counted fairly?
In order to ensure that residents' votes are encouraged and counted fairly, Weld County commissioners need to support our Clerk and Recorder and encourage election volunteers regardless of affiliation. We need to be able to have checks and balances just like you do in other business procedures.
Some counties and cities are considering new regulations due to the national wave of gun violence. What would you do regarding this issue?
In regard to the issue of some counties and cities considering placing new regulations due to the national wave of gun violence, I completely stand behind our Sheriff. I promise to continue in the legacy of Commissioner Moreno's support of Weld County's Second Amendment Sanctuary. With that, I promise to never step on a citizen's right, based on someone else's fear.