Gerow for District 1

Mesa County voters are fortunate to have a choice among three solid candidates — one Republican and two independents — running for the District 1 seat on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners.

Our endorsement goes to Jana Bingham Gerow. Her experience in the planning arena, which is among the most important part of a commissioner’s duties in the 21st century, coupled with her enthusiasm for listening to, analyzing and considering new ideas win our support.

Gerow is running against John Justman, a Fruita-area farmer who has lived in Mesa County for nearly 50 years and has served his community on numerous boards and organizations, including the Mesa County Planning Commission. He is a Republican and an avowed conservative who wants to cut red tape in the county and be a public voice standing up to the federal government on the management of federal lands.

The other candidate is independent John Leane, who served four years as a Mesa County commissioner beginning in 1989, then as a Democrat. He has put forward the most detailed proposals for energizing the economy in Mesa County, including offering a $5,000 award to businesses that create at least four new decent-paying jobs.

A native of Grand Junction who has lived here most of her life, Gerow has worked in planning, development and construction management throughout her career, both representing private landowners and as a municipal planner on the Front Range. She owned and operated her own planning consulting business for 14 years.

“We’ve got to work the process more efficient,” she said. “One of my clients was in the process for four years.”

At the same time, while Gerow wants to ensure private property rights are protected, she said the county should not overreact to one voice complaining about particular planning rules and reflexively relax those rules.

Additionally, the commissioners must protect the buffer zones near Fruita and Palisade, she said.

Gerow also argues that the commissioners should take a greater role in protecting water for this area. It will be critical to have sufficient water to serve new or expanded industries, such as the energy industry. “I don’t have all the answers, but we’ve got to stand up and be proactive,” she said.

Making it a key platform in her campaign, Gerow maintains the county has a role in ensuring that those in need of homes — such as the children of drug addicts, families of war veterans — have adequate housing. The county can make sure there is appropriate zoning for developers seeking to construct housing for those in need and also help to find financing for such projects, she said.

Gerow has also made it clear she is willing to consider a variety of ideas to improve the county fairgrounds, entice more businesses to the region and assist the museum.

Her experience, careful examination of issues and her compassion are reasons we urge a vote for Jana Bingham Gerow.


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