Political Profiles: Roland Cole March 21, 2009

Roland Cole is used to overcoming challenges.

He was on the Commerce City Council when chemical weapons manufacturing at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal contaminated the city’s water supply. He helped lobby federal departments and legislators to clean up the site, which is now a wildlife refuge.

As a member of the E-470 Public Highway Authority, he and others were told there was no way the toll road would be built. Yet today the 47-mile beltway extends across the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area.

Now, as the city struggles to find a way to pay for a series of new public safety buildings, Cole believes he can put his local-government experience to work on the Grand Junction City Council to push that project through and address other matters facing the city.

The retired 37-year United Airlines employee and 12-year motel owner also touts his fairness and knowledge of local issues as a member of the Grand Junction Planning Commission for seven years in his bid to replace outgoing at-large Councilman Doug Thomason. Thomason isn’t seeking a second term.

Cole pointed to his vote last month to approve a conditional-use permit to allow a proposed strip club to open as evidence that he sets aside personal feelings in the interest of being impartial. He later said he personally felt the concept of adult entertainment is “disgusting” but authorized the permit because he believed the club had followed the rules and met the zoning criteria.

He said while some elected officials can feel slighted during a contentious issue and allow that to influence future decisions, he doesn’t hold grudges.

“A lot of people who are involved in this game have elephant-type memories,” he said

In addition to revising the $98 million public safety initiative rejected by voters last fall, Cole cited as other significant issues the need to develop more infill projects to avoid sprawl and ramp up marketing of Grand Junction Regional Airport as a way to recruit more businesses here.

“I think I have the experience to be helpful for the city,” he said.


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