Columnist: Sullivan will listen to residents |

Columnist: Sullivan will listen to residents

Allyn Harvey
Staff Photo |

Michael Sullivan has the hardest job in Garfield County right now.

Sullivan is running for county commissioner against incumbent Tom Jankovsky.

In a county that has voted for Republicans consistently in nearly every race for the last decade and a half, and against an opponent who is much better funded, Sullivan has his work cut out for him. He is worthy of your consideration for a number of reasons.

First let me say this about Tom Jankovsky. I personally like Tom and enjoy working with him on the Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative. He votes his conscience, which is honorable, but I’m still not voting for him.

I’m voting for Sullivan because I believe he is the better choice to represent the citizens of Garfield County on a number of issues, including land use and development, and health and human services.

Three decisions by the county commissioners in recent years underscores why we need a more balanced approach to land use.

Most recently, the commissioners ignored the recommendations of Glenwood Springs City Council and approved a FedEx distribution facility near the city’s airport. The City Council rightly pointed out that the airport and surrounding industrial zone is at a dead end 2 miles from Highway 82. The trucks will share the road with several residential neighborhoods and an elementary school.

Right after that vote, I was at a meeting with Leo McKinney, mayor of Glenwood Springs. I asked him how he was doing and he said, “I feel like I’ve been thrown under the bus with the FedEx vote.”

It is disturbing how our commissioners ignore the will of the residents and other elected officials on land use decisions that have an enormous impact on our lives.

Jankovsky voted against the FedEx proposal, but his votes on two other equally controversial proposals make me wary of re-electing him.

Last year, the commissioners unanimously approved a garbage transfer and hauling station across the road from Carbondale’s rodeo grounds and ice rink. Their approval came despite unified opposition from the Carbondale Town Board of Trustees, local schools and residents in town and along Catherine Store Road.

And back in 2012, the commissioners approved an asphalt recycling plant right next door to the existing Eagle Springs organic farm near Silt. It’s hard to imagine two less compatible activities — asphalt recovery and organic farming — but our current commissioners unanimous voted in favor of it.

FedEx trucks and schools, solid waste management and rodeo, asphalt processing and organic farming. None of these pairings make sense to anyone but our county commissioners.

I’m supporting Michael Sullivan because it’s time for a commissioner who listens to the people he represents.

Sullivan has diligently served as an alternate on the county planning and zoning commission for more than half a dozen years. He has shown his commitment to the county and our communities through his volunteerism, and will provide the voice we need for full representation on the board of county commissioners.

Here’s one more reason to vote for Sullivan: The need for more attention to our children.

Garfield County is a magnificent place. It is rich in natural resources, and is able to support both the energy industry and tourism-based economies. Our county government has a surplus of nearly $100 million in its coffers, and millions more that are allocated annually through its Federal Mineral Lease District.

Despite all that money, Garfield County has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state of Colorado. That’s both sad and embarrassing. It’s also unacceptable.

Our county government, with millions at its disposal, has spent a lot of money supporting infrastructure development, especially where it supports the energy industry. It is now time for the county to step up its efforts to support its children, with adequate family planning services.

With Michael Sullivan as our county commissioner, we will have a strong voice at the helm that is looking out for the interests of all our residents.

Allyn Harvey’s column appears monthly in the Post Independent. You can reach him at

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