Grand Junction City Council District A candidate profiles

Phillis Norris.



Tom Kenyon



Phyllis Norris

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired in 2011 as president of City Market

Background: Norris started out as a checker at City Market in 1970 and 31 years later worked her way up to the company’s top position. Norris has served on a number of boards for local organizations including Hilltop Community Resources, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Mesa County Workforce Center and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. Norris believes the city should focus on its public safety and fire department services. She’s also passionate about decreasing the area’s high unemployment rate and adding to the jobs base. “If we’re not business friendly, we’re not going to get jobs here,” she said.

Do you support the amount of money the council is giving the Avalon Theater?

Norris thinks the city should take responsibility for upkeep on the Avalon, but it should stay within its budget for other projects. “The city should not have invested more than necessary for maintenance,” she said. “Our budget could not afford the amount of money the City Council directed to the project, this is one reason they had to take $2 million from emergency funds to balance the budget.”

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

“When I toured the Brady property and saw what they were doing to contribute to the goal of finishing the trail from Palisade to Fruita, I was very impressed,” Norris said. “The planned development provides the Riverfront Trail and the jobs Brady will bring to our community. I will vote yes on this issue.”

 

Do you support the TABOR override ballot measure? Why or why not?

Norris said all the projects that would benefit by the measure are needed infrastructure. But she believes the ballot question is not clear. “There is not a defined cost for any of the projects, they are not prioritized and there is no end date for keeping taxpayers’ money. In fact, the council admits that the voters don’t understand that they are going to have to come up with another $120 million for just one of the projects,” she said. “I don’t agree with Measure B and I will vote no.”

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Norris said the council should consider the burden zoning overlays create for businesses. “The city should work with the Economic Partnership to find new businesses and grow the local businesses,” she said. “We should also work with them to move the Mesa County Economic Development Plan forward. Citizens, businesses, the university and local governments all worked to develop this plan and we need to support it.”

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

Norris said there are too many unanswered questions about a name change, including whether Grand Junction’s airshed rating would change and whether it would generate more tourism. “Other areas in the state that changed to national parks did not see an increase in tourism—there are no guarantees,” she said. “The 18-month study done by the citizens and organizations did not support or turn down the change because there was no strong support either way. I believe we should listen to their recommendation and stay neutral.”

 

At what level should the city fund Colorado Mesa University and why?

Norris said the university is an important part of driving the economy. “Not only does the university contribute $350 million to the economy in Grand Junction each year, they are key to attracting new business to the community and they support current business.”

 

 

Tom Kenyon

Age: 62

Occupation: Realtor with Bray & Co. and owner of Elk Canyon Investments; retired in 2003 as the deputy director for Colorado State Parks.

Background: After retiring in 2003 and moving to Grand Junction from the Front Range, Tom Kenyon has immersed himself in civic life. He served a six-year stint on the Mesa County Planning Commission and has served on the McInnis Canyons Advisory Board. Kenyon served on the board for the Center of Independence and he is the vice president of the Colorado Mule Deer Association. He was reappointed to the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp Committee, which helps decide conservation easement projects. Kenyon is running for a second term on the council. “I believe we need jobs and we need to be fiscally responsible,” he said of his stances.

 

Do you support the amount of money the council is giving the Avalon Theater?

Kenyon said he thinks the council is spending too much to renovate the Avalon. “I voted against the $3 million,” he said. “I think we should have considered other sites and evaluated what the community needs are for a cultural events center. I am concerned that the task of fundraising the remaining funds is too big of a challenge. I do not support spending any more from the city budget.”

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

Kenyon said he supports the current zoning for the trucking company. “If we want to control that property we should pay fair market value to obtain it,” he said.

 

Do you support the TABOR override ballot measure? Why or why not?

“I support the measure,” Kenyon said. “We need jobs and economic development. These funds are critical to building the infrastructure for growth.”

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Kenyon said the city should provide the basics for businesses to thrive. He also thinks the city should be as “business-friendly as possible.” “(We need to) build the infrastructure needed as a foundation for businesses to grow,” he said.

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

“Yes, the name change can stimulate visitation and economic activity,” he said.

 

At what level should the city fund Colorado Mesa University and why?

Kenyon agrees with the current level the council is funding the university. “I support the $1 million per year investment,” he said. “This provides jobs. An additional 2,200 students equals economic activity, and we need the university to provide trained, educated people for the workforce.”


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