Justman emphasizes experiences in his life
Even when he’s discussing politics and policy, Republican county commissioner candidate John Justman just can’t seem to get away from what he calls “farmer talk.”
Simple and direct, it’s his way of boiling down issues he may have to contend with as the next representative of District 1. He is more comfortable leaning on his experience as a family man — he proudly claims a son who is a graduate of Stanford Law School and another who earned a doctorate from Harvard — and his 40 years of farming in Fruita.
“What can we do to make (the county) a well-run machine?” he often asks. He says one of the first things he’d do if elected is meet with county employees — top to bottom — to get ideas on improving efficiency. “You can learn something from anyone,” he says, touting hiring on his farm.
As an onion farmer for 28 years, shipping 50-pound bags all over the United States, Justman managed his own staff of employees for years. “I doubt if any of the other candidates wrote payroll checks for 28 years,” he said.
He’s served on multiple boards in connection with his agricultural business, something he believes gives him a unique base of experience on which to draw.
He served on the Grand Valley Irrigation Co. board for 14 years, “so I really feel I have a much better understanding of water issues, up and down the river,” he said.
He is the current chairman of the Fruita Co-Op board, which Justman said oversees a “good-sized” budget and counts about $20 million in annual sales.
His service on the Soil Conservation Board was notable in that he learned the value of aiding and assisting landowners, “not regulating them.”
Justman also is a member of Club 20 and both the Grand Junction and Fruita chambers of commerce, and he’s been a member of the National Rifle Association for more than 40 years.
His lengthy service on the county Planning Commission is the foundation of a major plank of his campaign: simplifying processes and getting government “off your backs,” as he often says.
“Red tape is public enemy number one,” Justman told The Daily Sentinel. “And as county commissioner I want to review some of our over-arching regulations.”
He has said that a streamlined planning process is “the key to attracting growth,” adding that it is vital when new businesses express an interest in relocating to the community “that it doesn’t take two or three years to get something approved.”
Justman’s overriding message, oft-repeated at the many local events, reflects his simple and direct nature.
“I have core values, and I’ll stick to them. As a conservative, you can count on me to be frugal, and to always spend the county’s money wisely. As a conservative, you can count on me to always look to the law when making my decisions. My record of nearly 40 years of community involvement demonstrates not only my love and dedication to Mesa County, but my knowledge of the county and my ability to lead,” he told an audience recently.