Meet the candidates for Grand Junction City Council
Contact your Council representatives
Citizens may call 970-244-1504 to leave a message in the city council voicemail box, or contact councilors individually by visiting http://www.gjcity.org and click on “contact city council members” for individual e-mail addresses.
Grand Junction City Council will vote next week for a new city councilor to fill the vacancy left by Harry Butler who died unexpectedly June 2.
Pending approval from Mayor Sam Susuras, the date for the open meeting at Grand Junction City Hall, 250 N. Fifth St., is Wednesday, July 10. An informal meet and greet with the candidates will take place in the break room at 5 or 5:30 p.m. (exact time has not been set) with the regular meeting where council will vote starting at 6 or 6:30 p.m.
Five candidates submitted their resumes and letters of interest regarding the District E council seat. They are Teresa Black, Ken Harris, Duncan McArthur, Les Miller and Martha Barrett Scott. The candidate appointed will serve until the next regular election in April 2015.
Here’s an introduction to each candidate:
Black currently works as regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Colorado chapter. Prior to that, Black worked as executive director of the Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley homeless shelter.
Black, 39, also serves as a U.S. Air Force Reservist. She and her husband travel to Colorado Springs once a month for training and two weeks annually, where her unit takes care of cargo and passengers on cargo aircraft, she said.
Black said she has time to get involved in local government now that her youngest child is a teenager.
“I have a vested interest this being my hometown to see it grow and prosper and not repeat the past boom and bust cycle,” Black said.
Black earned a Master’s degree from Colorado Mesa University in business in 2005.
Regarding the Avalon Theatre improvements, Black said, “I have some concerns about the direction of the Avalon. I’m torn between the need to preserve a local landmark, a vital part of downtown and the city supporting it as it has. It needs to be self-supporting.”
Black said she wants people to know that she is a registered Independent. “I don’t affiliate with any (political) party,” Black said. “My opinion of government is we need to represent the interests of all people.”
Grand Junction native Ken Harris is running for council in part because he’s “fair minded and a good listener,” he said.
“I stay current on city topics by reading the local newspapers.”
Harris works for Union Pacific Railroad as a locomotive engineer; his background, however, is in municipal engineering.
He graduated from Colorado State University with an engineering degree and has worked with municipalities improving streets, sewer lines, doing construction inspection and working with water systems.
He’s also worked as an engineer for a paving contractor, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Harris said he is not a politician and has never before run for office.
“I wanted to be a quality applicant for the opening,” he said, citing his municipal background. “It was my chance to get involved.
“There are water issues — I understand those. I want to promote public works projects; I want wide public support of any project we might tackle.”
Harris is a long-time supporter of the Avalon — both in patronage of concerts and movies there, and as a donor, along with his parents.
“I think we need new seats in the Avalon. That’s my position on the Avalon,” Harris said.
McArthur has remained interested in serving on council, after losing his bid for the District E seat to Butler in April. If he’s not watching city council proceedings on television, he said he’s present at the meetings.
“I’ve basically been involved with city councils for many years,” as a developer of projects across the country.
“I have a lot of experience with zoning, and development codes,” he said.
McArthur, 63, moved to Grand Junction from Denver in 2004, to work with a local builder/developer.
“It gave me a familiarity with the development process here,” he said. “It was difficult to get a project approved when I first came here — it was one of the things I started working on immediately. The city and county have made big strides in improving the process.”
McArthur graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an emphasis on management.
He currently works for the Homebuilders, Realtors and Western Colorado Contractors Associations as a consultant, monitoring state and local affairs, he said.
As far as the Avalon Theatre, McArthur said: “I think the city was already committed to doing it.” The issue was deciding how the fundraising should occur, he said.
Miller moved to Grand Junction in 1988, when he and his wife were expecting their son.
“We thought it would be a great place to have and raise a child — and we found it to be true,” Miller said.
Miller, 57, has been self-employed most of this life, owning and operating a microfilm and document scanning business in Grand Junction from 1992 to 2006. He continues to own and manage commercial property on Main Street.
Miller attended school in England where he completed an apprenticeship in the telecommunications field.
For the past two years, Miller has served on the board of directors of the Downtown Development Authority — a position he said he has found “very fulfilling.”
“I understand the importance of civic involvement,” Miller said. “I really care about this city. It’s important to have good, dedicated people on council.
“I’m independent, and not beholden to any special interest groups. I’m open-minded, I listen to all sides.”
As a longtime business owner, Miller said he understands fiscal responsibility.
It’s important to spend money wisely while maintaining public safety, Miller said.
“It’s also important to invest in the arts, culture and parks,” he said, to fulfill the city’s goal of becoming by 2025, the “most livable community west of the Rockies.”
Miller said it will be important for the Avalon Theatre Foundation and the Grand Junction Symphony to raise private funds to continue the remodeling process, he said.
“It’s a cultural gem, that’s been used by generations of people,” Miller said. “It would be tragic for the Avalon to go dark.”
Martha Barrett Scott
Scott, who has never before ran for office, said she has the time to serve on city council now that she’s retired. Scott said her varied work experience would be an asset in representing Grand Junction citizens. Scott worked 18 years with Mesa County Valley School District, both as a job coach and substitute teacher.
She’s also worked as a librarian, a reporter, a roofer, a caterer and ran her own gardening business “I Feel Good Gardening,” designing flower gardens.
“I love my neighborhood, I love the city. I’m retired and I have the time to give back to my community,” said Scott on why she is interested in the position.
“This is a beautiful city and, in these troubling times, beauty is an important component of everyday living.”
Scott, 70, moved from the small mountain town of Victor to Grand Junction in 1989. She’s also lived in Colorado Springs and in Europe for nine years after putting her husband through college, she said. She has two grown children, a daughter in Farmington, and a son who resides in Dublin, Ireland.
Scott graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology.
Regarding the city’s position on the Avalon Theatre remodel, Scott said: “I am so delighted they have decided to commit to the Avalon. It is a cornerstone of our history and of Main Street.”
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