Palisade mayor candidates speak out

Sentinel poses questions to four who seek post in event of Walker recall

Should voters choose to remove Palisade Mayor Dave Walker from office next week, the town will need someone to fill Walker’s seat for the remaining 18 months of his term.

That’s where Joseph Browne, Roger Granat, Patty Hanna and Johnny Nichols come in.

The Daily Sentinel asked the four candidates for Walker’s post to respond to a few questions to allow citizens to get to know them better. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to approximately 300 words. The Sentinel edited the responses for length and spelling or grammatical errors.

The election is Tuesday.

Mike Wiggins

Joseph Browne

Age: 63.

Profession: Businessman who makes custom glass items and teaches art.

Years lived in Palisade: 4.

Why are you running for mayor? I jokingly say I’m running as a trustee with mayoral duties. A mayor should be chosen by the voters in the next election. I believe I can help make a smooth transition until the next election, where five trustees’ positions will become available in 2012.

Where do you stand on the recall? The present issue of recall has put people against one another without merit or understanding what the vote is really about. I’m not running against Mayor Walker, only as a contingency candidate if the recall comes about.

Why should voters elect you as mayor? For the past three years, I have become engaged in the politics of Palisade by sitting in the gallery following the board’s actions from start to finish. As a planning commissioner for 18 months, I have gained first-hand knowledge on how things work from concept to completion. Along with being a Palisade businessman, I have over 25 years in business ownership, both private and corporate. Having reviewed seven years of town budgets and audits, I can say Palisade is in very good shape financially. Years of management, project engineering and contracting have taught me you’re not the only one in the room. You need to understand all points of view.

Roger Granat

Age: 68.

Profession: semi-retired from Kleen Kut Service, a concrete cutting and drilling company.

Years lived in Palisade: 57.

Why are you running for mayor? I am running for mayor because when the petition for recall was circulating I felt that neither side had thought about what if we lose or what if we win. At the time there were only three people that had taken out petitions to run for mayor, and they had not been turned back in. As a past town board member and mayor of Palisade, I felt a certain obligation to my town to step forward as a candidate if the people decide to recall the mayor.

Where do you stand on the recall? I feel now as I felt when this whole thing came about. It is kind of like a divorce: Only two people really know the truth. We read what the newspaper reports, we hear one or both sides of the story on the street, but if you were not directly involved, you are only going on hearsay. There have been some things said that I don’t think were appropriate, but unfortunately they now must be answered for.

Why should voters elect you as mayor? I have 9 1/2 years experience on the town board, with 1 1/2 of those years as mayor. I married and moved to the Denver area and was unable to serve out my full term as mayor. I feel that I have a good understanding of most of the problems facing our town at this time. I also understand that these problems will not be solved overnight. It will take more than just the town board and town staff to bring this about. It will take the entire town pulling as a team. Regardless of how you feel about the recall election, we all need to get out and vote, be involved with your town and attend the board meetings.

Patty Hanna

Age: 61.

Profession: part-time cashier at Safeway.

Years lived in Palisade: 22.

Why are you running for mayor? I am a candidate because I care about Palisade and my friends and family living here. Palisade deserves a public servant willing and able to listen to the people. Public safety, infrastructure and financial prudence are things I still hear about quite a bit. These concerns were on the lips of people in Palisade when I served as a trustee member as well. I served on the board of trustees from 2000-2006, during which time we dealt with our water-plant reconstruction, the comprehensive growth plan, Third Street’s overhaul in addition to the downtown plaza construction. I say “we” because we (read: board of trustees) weren’t out in the Family Food Town parking lot with jackhammers and shovels. Getting things done requires the cooperation and hard work of many: public works; police department; fire department; town administration; board members; contractors; federal agencies; and last, but not least, the people footing the bill, the citizens and businesses of Palisade. Many people have asked for someone else, so I put my name in that hat.

Where do you stand on the recall? We need to move forward beyond melodramatic media fodder. Mr. Walker has done a decent job in his mayoral position. Lack of understanding where that position begins and ends may have been the slippery slope on which his tongue tripped. Palisade has so much to offer visitors and citizens, from wonderful wineries, fresh fruit, great galleries, unique shopping, tasty restaurants and bakery, that it’s a real shame to give all this attention to one man’s sour grapes.

Why should voters elect you as mayor? There are no superheroes running for mayor, just four people who want to help Palisade move forward. I don’t have any catchy slogans, campaign signs or hard sells for you to buy. Just let your voices be heard, whatever the outcome.

Johnny Nichols

Age: 48.

Profession: employed with BJ Services.

Years lived in Palisade: 4.

Why are you running for mayor? After four years living in Palisade, enjoying the small-town atmosphere with the festivals, breweries, vineyards and a place where my children can play and explore in a safe environment, I feel it is time to give back. With experience working in marketing, advertising and corporate positions, I have the tools and experience to take this town forward.

Where do you stand on the recall? The recall election has given Palisade a black eye inflicted from conflict between a few people and the mayor that has affected the entire town. Though I wish the recall had never happened, it has opened the door for me to serve this town as a public servant.

Why should voters elect you as mayor? My focus on bringing more tourism and businesses to the town will help minimize taxes on our citizens while increasing the possibilities of more services and improvements to the people who live here. I see a very bright future for Palisade, and I am ready to lead it there. If the people do not want their taxes increased and a mayor that will pinch every dollar getting the most out of it for Palisade, then vote for me. If the same old politics is good enough, then vote for someone else.


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