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Dahlkemper unseats Francone in Jeffco commissioners race

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By Deborah Swearingen

Lesley Dahlkemper unseated incumbent Tina Francone in the race for the available position on the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners.

Dahlkemper, a Democrat, will represent District 3, which covers the southern part of Jefferson County, including Littleton, Ken Caryl, Morrison, Conifer and part of Evergreen. She will replace Francone, a Littleton resident and Republican who was appointed to the seat earlier this year by a GOP vacancy committee after Commissioner Don Rosier stepped down.

With just 2,100 military/overseas ballots and signature challenges left to account for, Dahlkemper solidified a win as of the final tabulation, which was submitted Nov. 9. She had 55.6 percent of the vote with 162,352 votes as compared to Francone’s 129,685 votes.

Dahlkemper lives in the Green Mountain area and previously served on the Jeffco school board. She was a journalist for several years. Her husband, Mike Feeley, is a former state legislator and current member of the West Metro Fire Rescue board of directors.

She joins Commissioner Libby Szabo, a Republican, and Commissioner Casey Tighe, a Democrat, on the Jefferson County board.

Plans for the future

In an interview with the Courier, Dahlkemper said the win “belongs to Jeffco.”

“ … My first priority is to do a lot of listening, both with the community members that I represent in District 3 and also sitting down with county leaders and with county staff from different departments,” she said.

Among other top priorities, Dahlkemper cited a need to maintain Jeffco’s economic health in order to continue attracting jobs to the area as well as the need be responsible with taxpayers’ dollars.  

Considering the county stretches from Conifer and Evergreen to Lakewood and Arvada, there is a large mix of both mountain and suburban areas. Dahlkemper said she recognized the need to protect water, wildlife and open space.

“We’ll need to continue to be thoughtful about growth while recognizing property rights and ensuring the county’s long-term financial health,” she said.

Newly elected officials generally take office the January following the election. An official swearing-in ceremony will be scheduled shortly but is likely to be held in the first month of the year during one of the commissioners’ hearings, according to Kate McIntire, Jeffco’s public affairs director. 

Editor's note: The original version of this story misquoted Dahlkemper as saying "docile" instead of "thoughtful" in the quote about growth in the county.