I am a retired attorney who spends an extended amount of time in mountain communities. I support Heidi McCollum for the position of district attorney. In response to letters to the Herald Democrat, “Angel seeks support for District Attorney,” and “Katz supports Angel for DA,” there are several claims that warrant closer review.

Mr. Angel states that over 20 attorneys have endorsed him in the primary race. Mr. Angel states this endorsement is staggering. However, there are approximately 300 attorneys registered in the Fifth Judicial District. 20 attorneys out of approximately 300 gives him only a 6.7% endorsement. That is not staggering.

Mr. Angel states the attorneys who have provided this endorsement span nearly every sector of law. Not every sector of law deals with the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Civil litigators, family law, personal injury, real estate and transactional attorneys do not handle criminal cases. They do not interact with the district attorney’s office. They do not know what is necessary to have a strong prosecutorial team.

Mr. Angel and Ms. Katz comment as to the high level of attorney turnover in the current administration. Mr. Angel states that “Staff retention is crucial for community safety. Turnover is dangerous for the case, dangerous for the victim and dangerous for the community.“ First, I would like to point out that Mr. Angel was part of that turnover problem, as he left the district attorney’s office a month before the current district attorney was elected. Apparently, he did not think his departure would be dangerous for the community. Nor was he concerned with “staff retention” when he left. A factor in this turnover is the high cost of living in the Fifth Judicial District. Vail is the second most expensive place to live in Colorado. He offers no explanation as to how he would retain staff. His silence is deafening.

Ms. Katz‘s letter states “Braden is highly qualified to be the District Attorney. Braden has been a prosecutor for over 12 years, five with the Fifth Judicial District in different offices, including head of the Lake County Office in 2010, and the Blue River prosecutor since 2013.” This sentence is misleading, as it is not clear at first read that the Blue River prosecutor position is not part of the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. It is not. Blue River Municipal Court is only held one night per month for three hours, mostly handling traffic tickets. This is not the “prosecutor experience” that is needed for prosecuting serious felonies.

Ms. Katz states that Brandon is committed to community service by his serving as president of the Continental Divide Bar Association. That bar association has one meeting a year. So, while these statements appear to show a time-consuming effort on Mr. Angel’s part, that is not the case.

While the ribbon on the package of Mr. Angel looks nice; however, when opened, the box is empty. Vote for proven leadership: vote for Heidi McCollum.

Jill Clarke


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