GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - In a mail ballot election due April 2, Grand Junction residents will vote for four Grand Junction City Council members. Here's a quick introduction to each of the 10 candidates:
Phyllis Norris is attempting to unseat Tom Kenyon, the incumbent running for a second term.A Grand Junction native, Norris has spent a career working for City Market starting out as a checker in 1970. She became a store manager five years later, then a district manager and eventually vice president and then president in 2001. Norris retired in 2011.Norris has served on numerous boards, including Hilltop, St. Mary's Hospital, Mesa County Workforce Center and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce."Since I retired two years ago, I have been involved through the chamber with economic development and business issues," Norris wrote in an e-mail to the Free Press. "Through these efforts I have felt the city has not always supported the growth of business and I don't feel they have done a good job with the budgeting process and prioritizing city needs. These are the reasons I decided to run for city council."Kenyon, who was Grand Junction's mayor last year, worked as deputy director for Colorado Division of Parks for 31 years before retiring in 2003. Kenyon, 62, returned to Grand Junction where he opened Elk Canyon Investments, obtained his Realtor's license and started working for Bray and Company in 2004.Kenyon served on the McInnis Canyons Advisory Board; he volunteered with the Mesa County Planning Commission; he recently completed six years on the Center For Independence board of directors. Gov. John Hickenlooper recently reappointed Kenyon to the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp Committee, where decisions are made on how to spend revenue from sportsmen's license fees on conservation issues. Currently Kenyon is vice-president of the Colorado Mule Deer Association. Kenyon said he was inspired to run for city council after serving on the county planning commission where he worked on the city and county's comprehensive plan."I have a lot of experience with government, policy-type issues," Kenyon said.
Three candidates are running for one seat in District D: Bonnie Beckstein, Martin Chazen and incumbent Laura Luke.Luke is a Colorado Mesa University graduate, with a bachelor's degree in finance and management, and an MBA. She has worked as a stockbroker, financial advisor and consultant. A Grand Valley resident since 1966, Luke, 51, was appointed to city council two years ago. She's currently Mayor Pro Tem; her term expires in May 2013. Luke said her experience makes her "up to speed" on issues affecting the community and is the reason she is running for another term. City projects during Luke's tenure on council include the Lincoln Park tower, the public safety complex and the 29 Road overpass.Martin Chazen, 60, settled in Grand Junction in 2006 with his wife, Jeanne, after retiring from a career as a financial executive in California. In an email to the Free Press, Chazen listed past jobs as a controller at Fox Sports Net in Los Angeles; regional controller for the Seagram Beverage Company; and regional controller for 7UP. Chazen also worked for H & H Oil Tool in Santa Paula, Calif. After earning a master's degree in finance at California State University, Chazen became a part-time lecturer at the college teaching corporate financial policy.Chazen currently serves on the School District 51 budget committee, is a faculty adviser for an on-campus club at Colorado Mesa University, and is a member of Club 20.As to why he's running for council, Chazen said: "I'm a numbers guy. I built a career making sure companies live within their budgets and I believe the City of Grand Junction should do the same."The third candidate, Beckstein, has lived in Mesa County since 1964, and in Grand Junction since 1975. She's currently self-employed as a public accountant. Beckstein, 60, served on council for six years where she said she worked on developing the city's comprehensive plan, with the Downtown Uplift project and worked on developing budgets during energy industry's boom and bust periods. In an e-mail to the Free Press, Beckstein wrote: "I believe that my experience will be an asset in regards to developing a new vision with the direction the city will move forward with in regards to a recovering economy and assuring the moneys used are first directed to getting the city's infrastructure back to the timelines that they should be and controling allocation of monies to various organization until the city has taken care of its immediate needs."
Harry Butler, Duncan L. McArthur and Robert Noble are competing for the District E city council seat. The successful candidate will replace Teresa Coons, who is term-limited.Butler was a Grand Junction city councilman from 2001 to 2005. During that time Butler served on the Grand Junction Housing Authority and parks and recreation boards.Butler, 69, retired in 1994 after nearly 30 years with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Since retirement, Butler has kept busy serving on numerous boards and committees including the Coloramo Credit Union board, Mesa Developmental Services human rights committee, the cultural advisory board for Colorado Mesa University, the Handy Chapel trustee board, and others. Butler is currently a District 51 school board member. Butler said he wishes to return to city council because "I believe the city is really a vital place to live and I want to be part of its growth."He also wants to see the Riverside Parkway linked to Interstate 70, he said.Noble, 69, graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a history degree in 1965.That year he went to work for the Social Security Administration. He sent 34 years with the federal government, including 12 years in the Medicare program and 14 years as a criminal investigator in the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.After Noble retired from the federal government in 1999, he worked in the private sector, and retired completely in 2010.Noble and his wife moved to Grand Junction in 2011. Noble said his 34 years in public service was "quite satisfying.""I decided that if I could make a positive contribution to the city, that that would be very satisfying indeed. So, I made up my mind to try running for the council," Noble said.McArthur has been a Grand Junction resident since 2004. McArthur worked as a general contractor and concrete subcontractor building residential and light commercial foundations on the Front Range. McArthur, 62, currently works for himself as a consultant for a number of local business associations providing assistance with government affairs programs, he said.In an email to the Free Press McArthur wrote: "Running for City Council was not something I really wanted to do but it has become something that I feel I need to do. I have been concerned about the direction the Council has taken over the last few years so I felt it was time to stand up."
Mayor Bill Pitts and Richard Brainard are competing for the district at-large city council seat.With his wife and three young daughters, Pitts moved to Grand Junction in 1967 to buy an office machine business, according to his bio on the city website. He started other businesses over the years, which he later sold. Those businesses are now called Superior Alarm, Junction West RV Park, General Leasing Corp., Microfilm Processing Inc., Telephone Answering Service, Design Engineering and Marketing Inc., Western Products, and DoJon Industries. Pitts also invented the evaporative cooler diffuser cover.Currently, Pitts is a broker/owner of The Right Realty Company. He is also education chairman and president of the National Council of Real Estate Exchanges.Pitts, 78, is a private pilot who volunteers with Angel Flight West, a nonprofit organization that arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions Brainard is vice president of business development at West Star Aviation. In an email to the Free Press, Brainard said he is running for the at-large seat "because of our community's need for stronger economic development leadership" at the municipal level. He also believes there is unrealized potential for economic growth in the community, and he's "decided to do something about it."Brainard serves on both the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Community Hospital Foundation boards. He formerly served on the board of Grand Junction Economic Partnership.He moved to Grand Junction in 2005 when Premier Air purchased West Star Aviation.