At least two won’t return to GJ council

The Grand Junction City Council could have a significantly different look in 2009, as two council members will not seek re-election in April and a third is undecided.

Meanwhile, retired bank president Sam Susuras on Thursday became the first person to declare his candidacy for the council.

Councilman Jim Doody told fellow council members during Wednesday night’s meeting he will not run for a second four-year term to represent Redlands residents in District A.

Doody, who served two years as mayor from 2006 to this year, said he wants to spend more time with his wife and “doing a little more light lifting.”

Doody noted his new job as compliance and safety superintendent with Petty Construction, which installs natural gas pipeline, takes him out of town frequently.

“For me to commit to the city like I think I should be, it just takes up so much time,” he said Thursday. “You can get so many balls in the air, it’s just a matter of time before you start dropping them, and I don’t want to drop any on the city.”

Councilman Doug Thomason, one of two at-large members on the board, said he does not intend to run again.

“I’ve kind of been on countdown for over a year,” he said.

Thomason said he wants to spend more time with his wife and four children, who range in age from 2 to 15.

Councilwoman Teresa Coons said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll seek re-election.

“I’ve had a great time for the most part (on council), but it’s not an easy decision,” said Coons, the representative for District E, which covers the downtown area and Orchard Mesa.

The fourth member of the council whose term is up in April, Bonnie Beckstein, said she will run again in District B, which covers northeast Grand Junction. Beckstein said she believes there is unfinished business on the council, beginning with the public safety initiative.

“I really feel that we need to work with the community and get the public safety initiative moved forward, because there really is a need to have more fire stations and a better way of protecting citizens and police officers than what we have right now,” she said.

Beckstein said she wants to see the city work on transportation issues, including determining how to fund public transit in the Grand Valley in the future and making progress toward building an Interstate 70 interchange at 29 Road.

Susuras will run for the at-large seat being vacated by Thomason. He works for the Colorado Office of Economic Development to help communities in 18 Western Slope counties map economic development. He also serves on the Budget and Long-Range Planning committees for School District 51 and the Mesa County Planning Commission.

“I just felt that with my experience that I would make a good candidate,” Susuras said.

City residents interested in running for the council can pick up nomination petitions at City Hall beginning Jan. 6. In order to run for a council seat, candidates must be at least 18 years old, be registered to vote in Grand Junction, have lived in the city limits for 12 months prior to the election and obtain 50 signatures of registered voters on a nomination petition.

Petitions are due Jan. 26.


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