Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky will face a Democratic challenger for his District 1 seat in November’s election.
Spring Valley resident Michael Sullivan announced his candidacy to a small gathering of friends, family and well-wishers on a sunny Monday morning with the courthouse, mostly vacant for the President’s Day holiday, as a backdrop.
“We need another voice sitting at that table,” Sullivan said after his announcement speech when asked about his primary motivation for running. “Representation is probably [my] driving force.”
The all-Republican board of commissioners now speak in unison, he said, and the county needs broader representation.
Sullivan was introduced by Sonja Linman, who was defeated by John Martin in the 2012 election for the District 2 commissioner’s seat.
“Our county leadership needs diversity and the very important opportunity for good old healthy debate,” said Linman. “Michael will demonstrate the best of what it means to be both progressive and conservative in one’s leadership: progressive in intellect and vision while being conservative with our economic and environmental resources.”
“I disagree with about 95 percent of the decisions Tom has made,” Sullivan said of Jankovsky.
He cited Jankovsky’s effort to “lead the charge” against the county’s comprehensive plan and his unconditional support of fracking.
“We’re just politically on opposite ends of the spectrum,” Sullivan said.
Attempts to reach Jankovsky for comment Monday afternoon were not successful.
Sullivan, the lone Democrat on the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission, was particularly adamant about the county’s master plan.
“I’m most proud of my work on the comprehensive plan,” he said during his speech. “I was there when it began, when P&Z approved it unanimously, and when it was gutted by the Board of County Commissioners. ...
“I was the sole dissenting vote on the 2013 Land Use and Development Code,” he continued. “There are hundreds of revisions that promote sprawl, throw out local control for air and water, and grant dozens of concessions to oil and gas. ...
“I believe the residents of District 1 deserve a new full-time county commissioner. Our current representation does not reflect the majority opinion here or, I believe, the county at large.”
Sullivan has lived in Garfield County for 25 years. He and his wife Christine have been married for 30 years and have three children.
In addition to the county P&Z, he currently serves as guest services supervisor at the Hyatt Grand Aspen and owns and operates Spring Valley Entertainment, a full-service video production company.
In addition, he chairs the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association Marketing Committee, is a precinct chairman for the county Democratic Party, is chairman of the Sopris Elementary Accountability Committee, is a delegate to the Re-1 District Accountability Committee, coaches J8-12 soccer for the Glenwood Springs Soccer Club, has been a certified substitute teacher for the Re-1 school district and was at one time director of public relations for Sunlight Mountain Resort.
“I probably won’t see him for months,” his wife joked just before Sullivan’s announcement.
“I’m proud of him. It’s going to be interesting,” she said. “He’s honest and good and willing to put himself out there.”
Jankovsky, longtime general manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort, has been on the board of commissioners since being sworn in after defeating then-incumbent Democrat Trési Houpt in the 2010 election.
District 1 encompasses the southeast corner of Garfield County including West Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Commissioners must live in their respective districts, but they are elected by voters countywide.
The other two commissioner seats will not be up for election until 2014.