Two fire candidates in Lewis-Arriola focus on resources

Only two of the five candidates seeking a seat on the Lewis-Arriola Fire Protection District completed a meet-the-candidates questionnaire.

On April 1, The Cortez Journal emailed a questionnaire to all five candidates – Douglas Muscanell and Kathryn Kay Garlinghouse, both seeking to fill two four-year terms, and Thomas Gilliland, William Blackmer and Rick Newby, who are battling for two two-year terms.

Question 2 inquired, if elected, what would be the top priorities of each candidate. Muscanell and Newby were the only candidates to respond.

Muscanell, a 60-year-old former captain with the Lewis-Arriola Fire Department, said his top priorities would be continuing efforts to ensure a top-notch fire protection and medical response agency was available for Lewis-Arriola.

He said board members must be mindful to stay in compliance with state and federal regulations.

“(We have to) utilize funds wisely for safety, training and updating equipment,” Muscanell said.

Newby, a 51-year-old retiree who previously volunteered with the Lewis-Arriola Fire Department, said he would maintain a strong commitment to public safety.

“The board’s role in this is ensuring that the volunteer members have the equipment and training to do the best possible job,” Newby said.

The Lewis-Arriola Fire Protection District election will be decided on May 6 via mail-in ballots. The ballots are required to be sent to voters by April 21.

Allocated a full week to complete the questionnaires, all the candidates were informed their responses were subject to editing due to space limitations in print, but all were promised each of the questionnaires would be published in their entirety without any editing online.

To view the candidate questionnaires, visit