Trustee races, recalls on Parachute ballot | PostIndependent.com

Back to: Local

Trustee races, recalls on Parachute ballot

Editor's note: Due to the number of candidates, the Post Independent is running profiles on the candidates in the running for trustee today, and the candidate profiles for the recall efforts tomorrow. Names appear in alphabetical order.

No other voters in Garfield County will have as many decisions to make this spring as the residents in Parachute.

The town's voters will be selecting four trustees from a list of five to sit on the town's board. Those options include incumbent Trustees John Loschke and Travis Sproles, and Mayor Pro-Tem Juanita Williams, as well as residents Pam Jarrett and Fred Andersen.

Additionally, voters are being asked whether the other two incumbent trustees, Tim Olk and Tom Rugaard, should be recalled, as well answering a recall question regarding Mayor Roy McClung.

Parachute resident Lonnie Stanley is the sole candidate voters can chose from should they elect to recall Olk or Rugaard, while Judith Hayward, a former town councilor, is the sole mayoral candidate if voters choose to recall McClung.

A sample ballot provided by the town includes a statement explaining the reason for the citizen-initiated recall questions, as well as a statement from each candidate facing a recall.

Each statement explaining the recall lists an "unwillingness to hear the people" and references the individual's support for the town's ordinance that laid the groundwork for allowing marijuana businesses in Parachute.

In their own words, the officials being recalled pointed to the town's dire economic position and the need to demonstrate leadership and take action in order to bring some stability to Parachute's economy.

Trustees

Fred Andersen

Age: 51

How long have you lived in Parachute?

Five years in the town of Parachute, 12 years in Battlement Mesa.

What do you do for a living?

I'm an electronics technician, currently employed by XTO Energy in their Piceance Creek Field. I maintain the automation equipment needed to monitor the gas wellheads, plant and pipelines, and to enable them to be operated safely and remotely. I started my career in electronics in the U.S. Navy where I maintained and operated shipboard automated anti-air weapons systems, and am a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

I have been a member of the Sons of Norway lodge in Grand Junction for 13 years. I am the Colorado State Convener for my Scottish Clan: The House of Gordon, and host our clan tent at the many Celtic festivals throughout the state every year.

Please explain why you believe the people of Parachute should vote for you, and include any specific issues you hope to address.

First off, I'm not a politician. I've never run for or been elected to any political position in my life. I'm just a homeowner and family man that wants to see his town prosper. I want to continue living in a vibrant small town that my children will want to bring their children back to visit grandpa, or even settle down in themselves.

Even though I've only lived in the town for five years, I have lived in the area for the last 17 years. I'm a bit of a history buff and have taken upon myself to learn the history of Parachute, and get to know many of the residents and their concerns.

I understand that Parachute needs local jobs for local residents. I understand that we need to keep our small-town atmosphere, while at the same time growing the town at a smart rate. Our youngsters need activities, in town, to get them off of the couch, yet stay safe and out of trouble. We need to rebuild a sense of community, while welcoming travelers to visit and spend time here.

I'm a firm believer in small government, in local responsive government. I believe that government works best when it gets out of the way and allows the people to set their own course.

I have no agenda other than the future of Parachute, my home. I am an independent not a "rubber stamp" for any group. I am as honest and as honorable as the day is long, and promise to do my utmost in serving our town.

Pam Jarrett

Age: 66

How long have you lived in Parachute?

We moved to Parachute in 1987 during the big fire so we have lived here 28½ years.

What do you do for a living?

I am retired after 23 years of service in the Re-2 school district. I currently have a home-based business as an independent consultant with Close To My Heart, and have held a business license with the town for several years.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

Last fall I became a member of the Grand Valley Economic Development Committee and have worked on projects to encourage business support and creation in the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area. Recently I became a volunteer with the Kiwanis to help students in their musical presentations for the Stars of Tomorrow.

Please explain why you believe the people of Parachute should vote for you, and include any specific issues you hope to address.

Listening to the people he/she serves is of utmost importance when a person is a trustee. As the people are heard and the expression of their opinion valued, everyone wins. I have a plan to increase awareness of board issues with the people of the town and desire a chance to implement that plan as a member of the board.

John Loschke

Age: 66

How long have you lived in Parachute?

Lived here since 1981.

What do you do for a living?

Safety consultant.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

Past involvement includes the fire department, chamber of commerce, local school board and various coaching positions.

Please explain why you believe the people of Parachute should vote for you, and include any specific issues you hope to address.

I believe the town of Parachute is headed in a good direction. Yes, we passed the marijuana issue and it seems to be bearing the fruit we had hoped it would. I also believe that there are a few out there that really are trying to hold us back, and that is proving counterproductive to our "moving forward" philosophy.

I have served on the board for almost 30 years and would like to help us through these tough times. The energy roller coaster is on a downhill slide and we absolutely need to find some other revenue streams or just fold up the sidewalks. I do not want to see that happen and I will work hard to see that it doesn't. Thanks for listening.

Travis Sproles

Age: 46

How long have you lived in Parachute?

I have lived in Parachute for 20 plus years.

What do you do for a living?

I have worked for Encana the last five years as an employee, and have been involved in the local oil and gas for the past 10 plus years.

Please explain why you believe the people of Parachute should vote for you, and include any specific issues you hope to address.

I am interested in our local government to make sure that the citizens of Parachute, my family and friends, have a voice in our community.

Juanita Williams

Age: 67

How long have you lived in Parachute?

Over 11 years. Prior to that my husband and I lived in New Castle for almost 30 years.

What do you do for a living?

Retired from real estate, own a business in town, and play with my great grandchildren — all five live in Parachute. And I enjoy spending time with my husband, Ed. We will have been married 50 years this coming September.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

Neighborhood Watch Parachute, currently mayor pro tem. I am a past president and was secretary of Community Counts Colorado. I was on the board of the Energy Advisory Board, and the board of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado until my husband became very ill in May of 2015. He is doing better now, but I do hover.

I was on the board of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for Garfield County. Served on the boards of the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. and GVDC. Tom Rugaard has taken my place on the EAB, John Loschke covers the CCC board, and Town Administrator Stuart McArthur has taken my place on the AGNC. But I will fill in if needed.

Please explain why you believe the people of Parachute should vote for you, and include any specific issues you hope to address.

I am all about living-wage jobs in Parachute and I work hard to bring them in. It has been an uphill battle, but we are on the edge of being able to do so and I would like to continue. As a trustee, we voted for economic diversity and unless we defeat the recalls and vote in Juanita R. Williams, John Loschke and Fred Andersen, we will lose the momentum we have built.

With the almost total exit of the oil and gas industry, Parachute's economy has all but died out. We need to do what we can to bring it back to life.

Numerous non-MJ-related businesses expressed interest In Parachute, until the controversy arose and garnered attention. These businesses are now "on hold" until they see if the ordinance will pass. So this has cost us a year of progress already.

We have in motion a comprehensive plan for Parachute and there are four phases to move through to accomplish the goal of making Parachute a prosperous place for businesses and ultimately her residents. All this will come to a halt if the opposition candidates succeed in their efforts.

We have numerous visions for the town for services and recreational opportunities. Mayor Roy McClung, Tom Rugaard and Tim Olk need to be retained so we can continue this effort. I urge everyone to vote "no" on the recalls. The opposition folks are a small minority in the town. I believe this election will prove that to be the case.