Commissioner Gwen Lachelt (Democrat)
Gwen Lachelt (pronounced "Lack-ult") began her first four-year term as a La Plata County Commissioner in January 2013. Lachelt was re-elected to a second term in 2016. Commissioner Lachelt’s priorities have included: updating the county’s comprehensive master land use plan and land use code; protecting Animas River water quality through installation of a water treatment facility for mine waste runoff on Cement Creek; affordable and attainable housing; living wage jobs; developing permanent supportive housing for the county’s homeless population; effectively addressing the Four Corners “Methane Cloud” and La Plata County’s high ozone levels through reduction of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and pipelines on federal lands; protecting public lands; reducing wildfire risk; diversifying La Plata County’s economy; clean, renewable energy development; addressing the county’s declining revenue trend through promoting the need to modernize the county’s property tax mill levy and reverse the TABOR and Gallagher amendments.
As County Commissioner, Lachelt was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to co-chair the Oil and Gas Task Force. She serves on the National Association of Counties’ Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee. Lachelt represents the county on the boards of San Juan Basin Public Health, Housing Solutions and the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments. Lachelt has also served on the Durango-La Plata County Library Advisory Board and Region 9 Economic Development board.
Commissioner Lachelt moved to La Plata County in 1981. She is a graduate of Fort Lewis College and pursued graduate studies at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Prior to becoming an elected official, Lachelt’s career was focused on oil and gas policy reform at the local, state and national levels. She served as executive director of Western Colorado Congress and San Juan Citizens Alliance. Lachelt founded Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project and Western Leaders Network. She has served on numerous local and regional boards and was nominated to the second-ever class of Leadership La Plata in 1989. Lachelt has two sons.