Gerow, unaffiliated, has 3-prong strategy
Jana Bingham Gerow hopes voters will tie something purple — something equal parts red, equal parts blue — to support her candidacy for the District 1 seat on the Mesa County Commission.
“I chose the color purple because it’s a combination of red and blue, and I think we should work together and not against each other,” she recently told an audience, clad as she usually is to reinforce the idea.
“I am sort of that open-minded, see both sides of the issue, kind of person,” she said on another occasion.
Residents of District 1 who value the qualities of scrutiny and analysis will find their ideal candidate in Gerow. She’s comfortable on both sides of an issue, and often painstakingly takes the time to consider multiple facets of a problem.
A sound-bite candidate, she is not. But unaffiliated — and untangled by any political party or philosophy — she is.
“I chose to run as an unaffiliated candidate because I believe that the position of county commissioner should be unaffiliated — you don’t vote on legislation, you mainly handle the business of Mesa County,” she told a crowd of young professionals.
“I see the job kind of like that of a CEO of a major corporation, because (commissioners) manage a budget of $155 million-plus, they have 23 departments and over 900 employees — so it’s a very broad job.”
Her professional experience is in construction management and land planning. She’s handled multimillion dollar projects, including serving as manager of construction and maintenance for City Market. One of her most notable projects was the City Market store in Vail, which also wrapped in issues like transportation and affordable housing due to the scope of the project.
“It’s amazing how similar that is to what I see a county commissioner doing. With the Vail store, it was a whole community,” Gerow told The Daily Sentinel.
She targets three areas on her website, visionsformesacounty.com: jobs and education, homes for those without and integrity in government.
More specifically, Gerow believes that close community cooperation can yield high-paying jobs, drawing the best students to the area. She believes the government can foster an environment to build affordable housing “for those willing to work for it,” and her “vision as Mesa County commissioner is making sure I listen to the people of the community and try and help to hopefully lift their vision.”
Water is central to Gerow’s thinking because of threats to area rivers. But creating policy requires balance when you are trying to attract new business to the region.
“We can’t go out and look for jobs and bring industry in if we don’t have the water to provide to them,” she said.
Perception is a theme Gerow has sounded in many of her appearances, and it’s clear she believes a bit of a mind-shift would be helpful in attracting new industries, people and, perhaps, values to the area.
“I feel that we’ve gotten way too much into the argument, about whether it’s Republican or Democrat. The issues are what’s important,” she said.