About MB McAfee

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Photos by Barbara Grist


I was born to James and Violet Garrison and spent the first two years of my life in Dolores.  We moved to Cortez and I started first grade at Calkins School.  My fondest memories are about being outside with my dad.  When I was eight he gave me a gold pan.  He wasn’t a very good fisherman so he would resort to panning for gold and taught me how.  He wasn’t all that good at that either, yet it was so much fun for me!  Dad gave me a Geiger counter when I was ten and we roamed the desert to the west in hopes of finding uranium.  We didn’t find much gold or uranium but I learned to love the soft breezes through the ponderosas along the river and the crazy shapes of rock formations in the desert.

My dad died in a Jeep accident at the county line bridge between Dolores and Rico when I was twelve.  It was a life-changing experience in so many ways, and I feel like I grew up suddenly that day.  I shouldered some responsibility for my little brother as I went to work for W.L. Glenn who was a florist, jeweler, and ran the Western Union office.  Our family was surrounded by the love and care of the community.  My best friend’s dad was also my dad at the father-daughter dance in eighth grade.

My mom was the first principal at Manaugh Elementary School in Cortez, and she had a gift for working with students and teachers.  She cared deeply about them and it wasn’t unusual for her to gather up kids’ clothing to share with needy families.  She recognized that kids were learning at different abilities regardless of their ages, and, along with her teachers, she created an ungraded school system.  Mom was very active for years, and from her I learned to value education and the importance of helping others.

After graduating from Montezuma County High School in 1958 I went to Cottey College, a small women’s school in Missouri.  From there I went to Colorado University where I received a degree in history and a teaching certificate.

Chuck, whom I had known all my life, and I were married in 1958 in St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Cortez.  We spent the next four years in California where Chuck was in school and I taught junior high.  From there we moved to Loveland and I continued teaching.  We raised two daughters, Julie and Justin.  Together with a group of moms I helped organize Loveland’s first pre-school.  We moms were concerned about the quality of food that we were eating so we formed a co-op to gain access to organically grown food.  A close friend died of cancer and I worked with others to establish Hospice of Larimer County.  I was active in starting a League of Women Voters in Loveland and served on the Colorado State Board of the League for six years.  And just to make life interesting, I became a road bike racer and won two national medals.

After our girls went to college I enrolled in Colorado State University where I earned a master’s degree in social work and a few years later I earned a doctorate in education.  In addition to teaching at CSU, I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association and started a nationally recognized program for early stage Alzheimer’s families.

I always knew I would come back home.  The phrase, “back home”, was part of our conversations from very early in our marriage.  We returned here often to be with family, and my mom made sure that we always had a subscription to the Cortez paper!  We returned home for good in 1998.

Chuck and I now live north of Lewis where his grandparents and dad started grubbing out sagebrush to farm beans and wheat.  I play an active role in managing our 2,300-acre dry-land farm where we raise grass to improve soil health and provide pasture for grass-fed beef.

On several fronts I have taken the initiative and responsibility to help Montezuma County be as good as it can be.  The Bridge Emergency Shelter is on the path to building its own facility—the vision of a group of stakeholders I brought together in 2006. We were determined to provide warm meals and safe shelter for folks who had no place to go.  Along with Chuck Forth and Erin Johnson, I helped create Onward! A Legacy Foundation, which led me to be involved in scholarship programs for our youth and philanthropy for our community.  I serve on the Advisory Committee for the CSU Yellow Jacket Research Center and led the hiring of the new Director, Katie Russell.  This allows me to support research that is relevant for local farmers and ranchers.  Until I started my campaign activities I was an active participant in the TeamUP collaboration to address strengths and challenges for school readiness of little kids in our county.  I’m proud to have been an active leader in these organizations.

For more than three years now, I’ve been attending all weekly county commissioner meetings; in fact, during this time I’ve missed fewer than ten.  This experience has given me vital in-depth knowledge and understanding of county governance.  I respect the office of County Commissioner.  I know the importance of listening to all who speak and the significance of thoughtful attention to decisions.

I have experience leading, as well as participating in, cooperative efforts to find common ground.  I have the ability to envision large and complex endeavors without losing sight of common sense solutions.  I inspire others to work toward a common goal.  I will show up.  I will listen. 

I will work for all of us here in Montezuma County.

L-R: Violet Garrison, Mary Beth Garrison McAfee, Chuck McAfee, Iris and Charles McAfee. June 10, 1962

Chuck and I now live north of Lewis where his grandparents and dad started grubbing out sagebrush to farm beans and wheat. “

Photos ©  Bill Hatcher


  • MB is highly qualified and will bring honesty, integrity, and fiscal responsibility to the BOCC.

    Randy McKnight
  • Mary Beth will listen to my concerns and act. She will get my vote.

    Peter Robinson
  • We can count ourselves lucky that someone of her caliber, intelligence and integrity

    is running for County Commissioner. You have my vote MB.

    Sarah Syverson
  • This is one office that party affiliation should not matter. What matters is our county and the good of its people. MB is highly qualified, she listens and has the history in this area to make a great commissioner for all of us. She will definitely have my vote and I hope everyone will be open to hear what she says and will do.

    Barbara Grist
  • MB is the kind of leader to support & put these visions into action. Go MB.

    Lisa Henry
  • I am hoping you will get elected and I am hoping you will be a better steward to

    beavers, bighorn sheep, sage grouse, leopard frogs and on and on…..”

    Marilyn Colyer
  • MB, you are the breath of fresh air that MOCO needs!

    Jane Anderson
  • Was cool to see you there building an inclusive vision for all of Montezuma County, MB!” (At Ute Mountain Career Day)

    Melissa Watters
  • If you have ever been to a County Commissioners' meeting and listened to MB McAfee, you would not dismiss her as a 'bleeding heart liberal'. She is tough, well informed, and cares greatly for the Cortez County area. I have interacted with her on business matters when she ran the Day Labor Program. I found that she is a very sharp business woman. She will get my vote.

    Sandra Harris
  • I have so much respect for that decision (to run for county commissioner). We need smart, strong women of integrity at every single level of government.

    Jana Richman

Paid For by the Committee to Elect Mary Beth McAfee County Commissioner

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