Many in Norwood have seen new campaign signs going up in town and outside of it. Mayor Kieffer Parrino is running for District 3 San Miguel County Commissioner.

According to the mayor, the COVID pandemic inspired him to think seriously about running for the seat. A Telluride employee, he was furloughed when the ski area shut down. That’s when he found himself sitting in meetings for four to six hours each day to help guide the county and its pandemic regulations.

Parrino said his role this last spring and summer has been to represent Wright’s Mesa. For him, it’s been a priority to make sure that District 3 is dealt with differently. That’s something he’s worked to communicate to incumbent Kris Holstrom and the other two commissioners.

“The message I was getting was if the state makes a decision, the county has the ability to be more restrictive, not less. We have to think about Norwood’s demographic and how we are less dense,” he said.

As a result, Parrino helped establish Norwood’s economic recovery committee, a separate organization than the county’s similar group. Along with Carrie Andrew, president of the chamber of commerce and library director, Parrino meet with Norwood town officials and the West End Economic Development Corporation to hold the area’s best interests.

“Basically, we did that for three or four meetings, trying to stay ahead of the county regulations,” he said. “I understand what works for Telluride and Mountain Village, but that doesn’t necessarily work for Norwood. I wanted us to have a voice.”

The Norwood ERC has since dissolved, as local leaders agreed to focus efforts on the existing groups. Parrino said he’s attending the other meetings now.

He said he’s worked with the county so closely the last several months, he feels he’s prepared to serve as commissioner. That’s on top of his 20-plus years working in Telluride and his 10 years of serving the Town of Norwood, both as a town trustee and as mayor.

He said he’s receiving support from folks in Norwood. Roudy Roudebush has endorsed him. Others are hanging his campaign signs in their yard.

KOTO radio has requested interview material from him to be broadcasted. He said he’s not sure if forums or debates will take place this year, though he is open to participating in those.

Parrino said he was supposed to have put his name in to run for commissioner in January. He didn’t know he was going to do run until June. Consequently, he’s a write-in candidate on the November ballot. He said he has concerns because people must take the extra few seconds to write his name in, rather than filling in the one bubble available for Holstrom, a Democrat.

Parrino also changed his party affiliation. A lifelong Republican, he’s now an Independent. He said, though, that he doesn’t want to run on breaking from the Republican party. He said he wants to stand behind being able to listen to the people of Wright’s Mesa. He describes himself as conservative, but open-minded.

He said the philosophies he’s carried through his town service will guide him if elected. He said for him that means listening to the majority, even if he doesn’t necessarily like the stance.

Anyone who’d like to reach Parrino is welcome to email him at write.Parrino.in@gmail.com.

“We all need to work together,” he told The Norwood Post on Monday. “We are the same county, but we have different districts and we need to understand Norwood is a different demographic, and a different business model.”