YC Commissioner candidate Dwain Weinrich

Dwain Weinrich said his extensive experience in leadership roles would serve him well as a Yuma County Commissioner.
Weinrich is running for the District 1 seat in the November 8 mail-in election. He is running as an unaffiliated candidate.
He retired earlier this year from Smithfield Hog Production after 29 years with the company. Weinrich oversaw Smithfield’s Yuma County operations as operation manager. Smithfield is the largest employer in Yuma County with approximately 200 employees. He managed high-dollar projects and budgets in that role.
Weinrich also has served as president of the Colorado Livestock Association over the past two years, which has given him an opportunity to stay connected to state legislators.
“The biggest thing (as a commissioner) is managing the different departments,” he said, noting Yuma County has more than 100 employees and multiple department heads. “I see the commissioners spending a lot of time dealing with people. That was the big thing with Smithfield also.”
Weinrich noted a common theme at commissioner meetings he has been attending in recent months is salary and wages. He said it is tough to compete with inflation, particularly since the county only has a certain amount of revenue coming in, mostly in the form property taxes.
He said the 2021 audit presented to the commissioners at their meeting last week found that the county has been managing its funds well and is in good shape.
Balancing the budget, and retaining and attracting employees, will remain a big challenge, particularly since it is difficult to find revenue streams to support higher wages year after year.
The Yuma County Jail is a focus of attention. Sheriff Combs announced last week the jail was being shut down as a full-time facility due to a lack of employees. He cited higher wages in other jobs — which are not as difficult — as the main reason for losing so much staff.
Alternative energy, particularly wind energy, is becoming a hot topic in Yuma County as a company is exploring installing wind turbines in the southwest corner of the county.
“Alternative energy is coming,” Weinrich said. “I believe we’ll see them in the county within the next decade.”
He noted there are groups for and groups against wind turbines. He said solar energy also could eventually show up in Yuma County. He said he supports it as long as it complies with land-use codes.
“We shouldn’t limit what a landowner does with his own land, as long as it adheres to the county land-use codes.”
Weinrich said he has spent a lot of time campaigning in the Wray area, since he is not as well known there. He said it has been a great experience, and has learned a lot from visiting with people.
One thing he said he has heard about frequently are the county roads. Weinrich said there are 2,500 miles of county road, and the Road and Bridge Department tries to take care of areas when people call in about problems, and also recognizes and increases maintenance on higher traffic roads. In recent meetings, discussion have occurred on creative ways to improve roads.
He said a recent training at the Yuma County Fairgrounds was helpful for road operators, but he suggested also finding a time to do training on a real county road.
Just as with the jail, Weinrich said Road & Bridge is short staffed, and facing the same challenges in offering a high-enough wage to attract equipment operators. Recently, efforts have increased to recruit equipment operators.
Weinrich also noted that water has also has been in many of the discussions he’s had with area farmers. “We are facing difficult times ahead” but believes the RRWCD has done a good job at putting together a future plan in regards to the Republican River Compact with Kansas and Nebraska.
Weinrich grew up on a family farming operation in Missouri, He moved to Yuma County in 1993, and he and his wife have been here ever since.
“This county has been darn good to my family and our operation,” he said.
Weinrich pointed out being a county commissioner is a full-time job, though it is considered part-time, and he will be able to meet the challenge.
“I feel I have the time to get it done right,” Weinrich said.