Political Profiles: Tom Kenyon March 21, 2009

As an employee of Colorado State Parks for 31 years, Tom Kenyon believes the 40 or so state parks share many of the same problems as municipalities.

Both deal in law enforcement, roads, infrastructure — and lots of complaints from the public.

The first of 15 years he spent as director or deputy director, Kenyon handled 3,000 formal complaints from state parks users. By his final year, he had whittled that number down to 300.

He believes his experience at the state level will translate well in local government. And he has some definite ideas about how he would help direct Grand Junction as a city councilman as he vies for the District A seat.

Portraying himself as a staunch advocate for small businesses, Kenyon said he believes city leaders could do a better job of defending those businesses that could be affected by new, stricter oil and gas regulations.

“Our businesses are where our jobs are, and we’ve got to remember that all the time,” said Kenyon, a member of the Mesa County Planning Commission.

Kenyon, who helped create new state parks along the Colorado River, said city officials in recent years lost their vision of a green riverfront and should have done a better job of advising Brady Trucking of efforts in the past 20 years to clean up the river in south downtown when the company was looking at purchasing land there.

But now that Brady is established there, he said he supports their efforts to expand their business and commends them for offering an easement along their property for a future trail.

Regarding the city’s public safety initiative, Kenyon said the city needs to take a hard look at the project and set aside “things that are desirable and wanted but not needed” while looking for ways to share resources with Mesa County.

He said the initiative needs to be broken into pieces and built in phases with money that, at least to start with, comes from the city’s existing budget rather than a new tax.

He suggested the $98 million initiative that failed in November may have been too aesthetically extravagant.

“We’re not trying to win any architectural awards here,” he said. “We’re trying to provide a building for government workers to work in.”


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