Glenwood Springs native Ryan Gordon to run as Democrat for Garfield County commissioner; incumbent Tom Jankovsky files for reelection
It appears there will be a contested race for the Garfield County Commission District 1 seat this year.
Incumbent Republican Tom Jankovsky and Democrat Ryan Gordon both officially filed for the Nov. 8, 2022 election this past week.
Gordon, 43, made his announcement during the Garfield County Democratic Party caucuses Saturday. He filed his official candidate affidavit with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday.
Likewise, Jankovsky officially made his intentions known to fellow Republicans at the GOP caucuses on March 1. He followed up with a formal candidate affidavit filing on Sunday.
“I’ve been chewing on this a little over a year,” Gordon said of his decision to challenge the three-term incumbent for the District 1 seat.
“The current commissioners have been there for quite some time, and I think we need to have some new and younger voices in there,” Gordon said Monday.
With two young children, ages 5 and 7, Gordon said he believes he has “some stake in the game” on several key issues.
“I want to be able to make decisions to help foster their future,” he said.
Gordon is a Glenwood Springs native and 1996 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School. He went on to earn his engineering degree at Colorado State University, and works as an engineer, following in his father, Dean Gordon’s footsteps. The elder Gordon is one of the founders of the engineering firm Schmueser Gordon Meyer (SGM) in Glenwood.
Jankovsky, 72, indicated early last year that he was leaning toward another reelection bid after three four-year terms on the commission.
Much of his decision is driven by concerns over federal and state policies under Democratic leadership that he says directly impact Garfield County.
“I thought about it quite a bit, and talked to a lot of people back in November and December to get their feedback,” Jankovsky said Monday.
“A lot of it comes down to I’m just really concerned about what’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
That primarily relates to energy policy, including ongoing oil imports from Russia in light of its attack on Ukraine, and oil and gas imports in general.
“Garfield County is a direct factor in that as a natural gas producer,” Jankovsky said. “We’re still importing oil from Russia, and now we’re talking about importing it from Iran and Venezuela, when we could be energy independent here.”
He also cites new oil and gas regulation at the state level, public lands policies, such as the Biden administration’s “30×30” land conservation plan, and issues associated with immigration and the border as driving his decision to try to influence those issues from the county commission seat.
Gordon said he decided to move his family back to Garfield County in 2016 after some years away.
“I recognize how amazing and cool Garfield County is, with its rivers and mountains and trails, and this is where we wanted to raise our kids,” he said.
A political novice who’s never held elected office, Gordon said he believes he can bring a fresh perspective to county politics. And he said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with the county ensuring it has a seat at the table when it comes to state and federal policy matters.
Rather than what he referred to as a “siloed approach” that’s prevalent in partisan politics today, he said he prefers a collaborative approach to addressing those issues.
“We as a county do need to have place at the table to discuss and provide influence and guidance on those kinds of issues,” Gordon said. “The one-size-fits-all doesn’t work, and it’s important to express that, but it comes back to collaboration for me. I think we could do a lot better if we work with these other agencies, whether that’s state or federal, rather than outright opposing them.”
That approach can also extend to addressing issues such as coming up with housing solutions, water resources planning, wildfire preparation, transportation, relations with the county’s Latino population, fostering tourism, and more, Gordon said.
The Commission District 1 seat is the only one of the three county commissioner seats up for election this year. Republicans John Martin and Mike Samson, the District 2 and 3 representatives, respectively, were both reelected in 2020. Martin had the closest race that year, winning by just 501 votes to Democrat Beatriz Soto. Samson defeated Democrat Leslie Robinson by 993 votes.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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