Last name: Elaina Shively
Family: Husband, Lane; two girls
How long have you lived in Boulder County? Born and raised in Boulder County
Professional experience: Licensed attorney, former public defender, currently director of the Center for Prevention and Restorative Justice at the BouIder County Attorney’s Office
Political/community experience: YWCA Boulder County Board of Directors; volunteer for Tgthr (formerly Attention Homes); recognized at CU Law for over 500 hours of public service; many local and state governing councils
Education: BA University of Colorado in Sociology; JD CU School of Law
This year, eastern Boulder County experienced the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. How can we better prepare for the next disaster?
Preparing for the next disaster has two components: increasing community resilience and improving emergency response. In planning for future climate emergencies and their impact on Boulder County, we should seek to reduce risk and injury to people and do all we can to address climate change, while developing post-event recovery systems. . This means supporting fire mitigation beyond the WUI, working with local watershed organizations on flood risk, and managing our public lands to deal with severe weather. What we know and was reaffirmed with the Marshall Fire is that natural disasters know no municipal or county boundaries. We need to have a better and more unified response, including evacuation notices and more frequent updates. This will require more communication and collaboration to ensure our systems are ready to respond and keep our community safe.
What is the unique perspective that, as commissioner, you would bring to the county?
My greatest asset and compliment to other sitting county commissioners is my knowledge and work within many county systems. I know them, I’ve worked to reform them, and I’m willing to work together to achieve real change for Boulder County. Our county commissioners oversee a budget of $550 million, over 2,000 staff and over 20 departments and offices. The more we can effectively marshal the tools at our disposal, rapidly deploy resources in a time of crisis and need, and continually assess fairness, the better we will serve all residents of Boulder County.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Boulder County right now?
Many of the concerns I hear from community members relate to housing (and associated greenhouse gas emissions) – transportation and commuting issues, labor and affordability. Addressing our housing shortage in a meaningful way will make Boulder County a more livable and diverse community. This means looking at housing holistically and considering many options such as secondary suites on unincorporated Boulder County properties, focusing on workforce accessible housing, and working with residents who are rebuilding after the fire to bring them home. If people can work and live in the same community, we know our communities will be more robust, resilient and better able to cope with the climate emergency.