Democrat vies for Jankovsky’s Garfield seat

A Democrat who lives outside Glenwood Springs said Monday he’s seeking the Garfield County commissioner seat now held by Republican Tom Jankovsky.

Michael Sullivan of Spring Valley is raising oil-and-gas, land-use and economic issues in his campaign for the District 1 commissioner seat.

“The bottom line is we need a new voice at the table in Garfield County and I believe I am that voice and I believe I bring a whole new perspective and whole new thoughts to the table that represent a lot of people in Garfield County,” he said.

Currently all three commissioners are Republicans. Jankovsky in 2010 ousted Democrat Tresi Houpt, who also had served on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Jankovsky said he plans to formally announce his candidacy for re-election at the Republican’s Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday. He said he thinks a race between him and Sullivan would present voters with “a clear choice for what they want to see for Garfield County.”

Jankovsky has been an ardent supporter of economic development efforts, and has generally backed the energy industry as a key part of the county economy.

Said Sullivan, “I think we need to look for a different direction for the economy, especially in the western part of the county.”

He said he understands the importance and economic impact of oil and gas development, but it all comes down to where drilling should occur.

He added, “I think the health and the safety and the welfare of our citizens can and has been put in jeopardy and I want to change that.”

He specifically cited the decision by Jankovsky and other Garfield commissioners to oppose statewide application of proposed new Colorado air-pollution rules for oil and gas development.

Jankovsky said commissioners don’t oppose new air regulations, but just want the Air Quality Control Commission to look at differences between oil and gas operations and air pollution levels in western and eastern Colorado.

Sullivan serves on the county Planning Commission and was involved in creation of a county comprehensive plan that commissioners recently decided should no longer be treated as mandatory. Sullivan disagrees with that move.

Jankovsky said he ran in 2010 partly on the platform of making the plan non-mandatory because it lasts for 20 years.

“It needs to be advisory because things will change a lot in 20 years,” he said.

Sullivan, 59, is guest services supervisor at Hyatt Grand Aspen. He also owns a video production company and has worked in various media and public relations positions.


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