First and foremost, I’m a ranchwife and mother. My husband, Gary, operates a family cattle ranch with his twin brother outside of McCoy in southern Routt County where we raised our two daughters Abbey and Izabel. The Raymond Horn Ranch has been in the family since 1964, running close to 500 cow/calf pairs in the high country. Our daughters grew up on the ranch raising 4-H sheep and steers and running their successful soap business, Bubble Creek Soap. I’m a first responder and the fire chief for the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department. And, I’m proud to serve as former Treasurer of Routt County.
I have worked in the finance world since the 1980s. After graduating from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, I served in both finance management and accounting, working for Westin hotels in Washington D.C. and Vail, Hyatt Beaver Creek, and Pepi’s Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer & Restaurant in Vail Village.
Additionally, I have also served as treasurer for the Routt County Fair Board, treasurer for Eagle County Fire Chiefs Association and treasurer for Colorado State Fire Chiefs. From 2012-2018, I have proudly served as the elected Treasurer of Routt County.
In 2016, I faced a difficult decision as Treasurer of Routt County. The largest employer and largest property taxpayer in the county filed for bankruptcy in April. With any bankrupt company, there is always a question of whether creditors like Routt County would receive the property tax payment. I was not surprised when the company was late on its tax payment, but I was disappointed to see that the check was light – this company chose not to pay more than $91,000 in penalties and interest, but wanted me to accept the check as payment in full. To be clear, Colorado law does not allow County Treasurers to waive penalty and interest. Some in my community suggested that I just look the other way, accept the smaller check, and move forward. I could not in good conscience cut a break to a multi-national company when I could not do that for a single mother struggling to get current on her taxes. I sent the check back, and we proceeded to reach an agreement. Real leadership means that we have to take heat for our decisions sometimes. Personally, I didn’t enter politics to make friends – I did it to make a difference.
Serving as Treasurer, I knew firsthand the importance of protecting the hard earned dollars of taxpayers. One of my first projects as Treasurer was to establish a brand new Standard Operating Manual for the Treasurer’s Office. I added many new checks and balances, and provided cross training for all duties and responsibilities in the office. Once those procedures were in place, I used my experience as a cost controller and cost analyst to increase efficiencies swiftly so we could get the Treasurer’s Office back on track. We worked daily with other county departments to ensure that they are following the checks and balance we’ve put in place.
My husband, Gary, our two daughters Abbey and Izabel.
My determination to serve others runs deep in my soul. It’s how I was raised. Be grateful for what you have and give back more. While living in Washington D.C., I served those less fortunate at soup kitchens each night after work. It was there that my passion to serve others was ignited. After Gary and I were married and began raising two daughters, we firmly believed that you finish what you start. Whether it’s joining the volleyball team, raising a steer or sewing a dress for a 4-H project; you finish what you start. As a mother, I practice what I preach.
“Taking good care of Mrs Smith!”
Whenever a taxpayer came into the office with a concern, we treated them with the utmost integrity and respect. Customer service and treating people well is a learned art, and not some set of instructions you read in a book! My staff and myself held ourselves to a very high standard and the direct feedback from our taxpayer clients reflected that.
I have served my community as a Fire Chief and First Responder for 19 years now. I am honored to care for my neighbors and community in their darkest hours with the expert skills and the compassion they need to truly help them through the toughest of circumstances.