Six to run for vacant seat on Grand Junction City Council

Six people are vying for Linda Romer Todd’s seat on the Grand Junction City Council.

Todd announced her resignation, citing personal reasons, earlier this month. Todd said in her resignation letter she would continue to serve as the District B representative on the council through February or when a person was selected to take her place, whichever came first.

Anyone living in Todd’s northwestern Grand Junction district had until the end of the business day Tuesday to apply to replace her on the council. City Council members will interview the applicants and select a new council member in the next few weeks.

The candidates include:

Lyn Benoit, a former Grand Junction Police Department operations captain who is two-and-a-half months into his first four-year term as a Grand Junction Planning Commission member.

Karl Castleton, a software engineer with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and an adjunct computer science faculty member at Mesa State College.

Jan Hammer, a former executive director of the Colorado Broadcaster’s Association and retired manager of KJCT who served as a board member for the Museum of the West and Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Brad Higginbotham, a RE/MAX 4000 real estate broker and partner in three restaurants who ran for City Council 11 years ago and served on the board of the Museum of the West and Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Jack O’Neal, a mortgage banker with Cherry Creek Mortgage Company.

Sam Susuras, a former banker that ran for District 51 School Board in 2005 and ran for an at-large seat on the Grand Junction City Council last spring. He serves on the Mesa County Planning Commission and was on School District 51 budget and long-range planning committees.

Susuras said he wanted another shot at the council because he wants “to give something back to the community.”

“I’ve always been community-minded and community-oriented and that hasn’t changed,” he said.

Hammer said he wanted to try his hand at running for council despite the challenges a person joining council during uncertain budgetary times will face.

“I think it’s a matter of getting things done as best we’re able to do and try not to hurt ourselves in the process,” Hammer said. “I would hope we could make some cuts that are not going to be long-term, destructive cuts.”

Castleton said he’d like to offer “a level head” during the budget adjustment process.

“It’s not a pretty year to go, but I’ve never shied away from a challenge,” he said.

Higginbotham said he’s interested in opening up traffic patterns by connecting 29 Road from U.S. Highway 50 to Interstate 70, and he believes his real estate background has helped him see the effect of local government decisions on his clients and neighbors.

“I have a passion for the town and want it to succeed,” he said.


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