Candidates for Grand Junction City Council, at-large

Lincoln Pierce

Rick Taggart

Name: C Lincoln Pierce

Age: 71

Years in Grand Junction: 16

1. Do you support creating a community/recreation center in Grand Junction?

A community recreation center would serve all segments of our community. The pool at Orchard Mesa Middle school needs replacement as does the school. St. Mary’s is no longer allowing use of their facility at 12th and Patterson and our senior center is lacking totally in facilities. A recreation center could fill that void without competing with other local fitness providers. The question of funding would be the issue that needs to be addressed. I am not sure at this point how that would look and what the priority would be.


2. What should City Council’s role be in promoting economic development?

The council has the role of providing support for organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, and the incubator that work toward attracting/developing businesses to/in Grand Junction. The city focus should be to create an infrastructure and policies to assist and aid businesses in developing or relocating here. The council should also be following up on an overwhelming popular vote (77 percent) given by our community to consider public/private broadband for our community.


3. Do you support the presence of retail marijuana businesses in Grand Junction?

Yes. Marijuana is legal in Colorado and generated sales tax of approximately $200 million last year. It seems counterproductive to have close-by towns approve retail shops and take tax dollars from our area. If approved, I would see a very limited number of retail outlets (1-2) approved until experience could be gained on the effect on the local community. The recent effort to put it on the ballot failed, by a small margin, to have the number of signatures required. I would expect that to come back and then our community, not our council, can decide.


4. Identify one or two issues you feel are most important for Grand Junction.

Public safety and roads. We must have a city that provides quality public safety in our community. I feel we have done a good job doing that and council must continue with that support. Our roads need love. We need bus turn-outs on Patterson like the ones that have gone in on North (University) for safety and movement of traffic. If 2B passes, we will have some short-term money to address some of the issues, but we need to find a long-term funding solution. I would consider charges that are paid for by road users and set aside only for road maintenance.


5. What makes you a qualified candidate for City Council?

I promise to make a difference. I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo and attended the University of Wisconsin for graduate school. My background includes hotel and restaurant management and years of public service in school districts. I am retired from District 51 where I served as the Child Nutrition and Purchasing Director, overseeing 180 district employees, district contracts and serving millions of meals to kids. During that time, I was elected President of the Colorado School Nutrition Association and served as Northwest Regional Legislative Representative for the School Nutrition Association. Nancye, my wife, and I moved to Tacoma, Washington, after my retirement from District 51 in 2002. I worked as the Child Nutrition/ Warehouse Director there for another 10 years at a similar-size school district. We then moved back to the place we both love, Grand Junction, a great place to live.


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Name: Rick Taggart

Age: 66

Years in Grand Junction: I moved here in 1981, my career has taken me away from the valley for extended periods of time, but we maintained our home here through this period. I returned home permanently in 2010.


1. Do you support creating a community/recreation center in Grand Junction?

The group that has been organizing the drive for a community/recreation center deserves to be heard by City Council. I strongly support having a workshop on the subject and listening to their proposal. Having said this, the proposal has to include two key components. First, what are their recommendations for funding this capital project and what do the operating revenues and costs look like? Second, what are their thoughts on the recreation component of the center? While it has been said that target audience for the recreation side of the center is quite different from individuals and families that belong to health clubs, I am not certain that this target market is totally separate. We have several health clubs in town that have invested heavily in this community and to build a city-owned facility that could well be in direct competition with their businesses is problematic for me.


2. What should City Council’s role be in promoting economic development?

The city has several key roles in economic development. First, we need to continue to create a safe environment for businesses to grow and prosper. Second, we need to provide quality infrastructure, this includes roads with multimodal capabilities, mass transportation services, water, drainage and sewer services. We as well need to be working with private enterprise to make certain that we have high-speed broadband service that is both affordable and reliable for our businesses and residents. Third, we need to keep regulations at a minimum for our businesses while at the same time being very customer-service oriented. Last, we need to adequately fund our ED Partners, they have the skills sets to work with existing, new and relocating businesses, but they need our continual financial support. 

3. Do you support the presence of retail marijuana businesses in Grand Junction?

I would prefer that we not have retail marijuana businesses in Grand Junction. I have several concerns on this subject from youth to business; for the purpose of this question I will focus on business, where I have more expertise. We as leaders and managers of manufacturing companies do everything we can to make our facilities as safe as possible, but manufacturing equipment is not fail-safe and the operators must be totally focused when they are operating the equipment. The influence of drugs and alcohol in this environment can cause serious safety issues, not only for the operator, but the people in close proximity with the equipment.


4. Identify one or two issues you feel are most important for Grand Junction.

Our needs as a community are growing and our budgets are either stagnant or shrinking. Many of our needs require significant capital which have tax ramifications. How do we balance our growing needs? District 51’s need for physical asset improvement, the counties’ need to further fund public safety and the District Attorney’s office, the need to create a sustainable fund for our countywide Communication/911 Center, a regional event center and the list goes on. We have to find a way to prioritize these projects so we do not place our community in the position of deciding either/or. This is going to require that all of us in government and education refrain from silo thinking, rather focusing on close collaboration. It also requires us to seek out further efficiencies in the way we deliver services today.


5. What makes you a qualified candidate for City Council?

I have lived in this city a long time and I care very deeply about its future. My experience volunteering on key boards in the community coupled with my experience as a corporate executive and entrepreneur enables me to be creative in my strategic approach to problems and opportunities while helping me analyze situations objectively. I invest the time in every subject we tackle at City Council and come to all meetings well-prepared to discuss the subject matter. I love this community and I am committed to doing everything I can to help us grow and prosper.


Editor’s note: Some answers have been edited for length.


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