Leane: I am running as an independent
John Leane hopes for a repeat this election season. Now an unaffiliated candidate for the District 1 seat on the Mesa County Commission, he served four years as a Democrat on board starting in 1989.
His frustration with the current political climate is palpable during his public appearances.
“I am running as an independent. I switched to unaffiliated, not because of ideological differences. My motivation was, folks aren’t getting the job done in Washington,” Leane recently told a debate crowd. “It was the only way I could send a message and say, ‘I’m not satisfied with what you’re doing.’”
Leane also believes that a shake-up of the local conservative tradition is needed. He noted that for the last 20 years, nearly every Mesa County commissioner has been a Republican.
“I don’t run my business like I did 20 years ago. I seriously doubt that you do. I think it’s time for business as usual to come to an end,” he said.
Leane currently runs the city of Grand Junction’s slow-pitch softball league, and says he manages a staff of about 50 people associated with the program. He says he’s facilitated changes in the league that have made it a place for families and fun, something he’d like to mimic in his job as county commissioner.
Employee morale at the county is something he thinks he can address right away.
“The turnover rate (at the county) is appalling,” he recently said. “Any organization — whether it be a three-person plumbing outfit or something bigger — if they are good and well-run, it starts at the top.”
In contrast to his opponents in the race, Leane doesn’t often shy away from specifics when talking about solutions. One unique idea he has is offering local businesses a $5,000 award if they create at least four new good-paying jobs.
Another key leg of his candidacy is his commitment to the area; he calls it being “invested.” He’s proud to tout that three of his grown children live in the area, and nine of his eleven grandchildren are being raised in the Grand Valley.
“My commitment really is, honest to goodness, I want those kids and grandkids — and your kids, and your grandkids — when they grow up to have the opportunity to say, ‘Yep, I want to stay in Mesa County. I can get a job that provides a decent living. It’s a nice place to be.’ That’s my goal,” he told the Grand Valley Young Professionals group.
“I’m trying to look more than down the road. What are we going to be like in 10 or 15 years? The decisions that we make now will impact that future very much.”