Two people have signed up to run for the District B seat on the Grand Junction City Council, Aaron Michelson and Phillip Pe'a.
District B roughly covers the north area of the city, neighborhoods north of Patterson Road and U.S. Highway 6 and 50, generally with an eastern border at North 12th Street, which becomes 27 Road. It also includes a pocket north of Orchard Avenue between First and 12th streets.
The seat is being vacated by current Mayor Barbara Traylor-Smith, who is not seeking re-election.
Michelson is a licensed independent insurance agent, yogi, and vice chair of the Grand Valley Interfaith Network.
"Part of the reason I'm running is to promote friendship, respect and courtesy among my neighbors. I want to raise awareness about some of the problems confronting our city," Michelson said.
"We have to move beyond the thinking that our opponent is part of the problem. Our opponent is part of the solution, and if we work together, we can solve all the problems of our city."
Another theme of Michelson's campaign will be providing access to city government to people who may not have the ability to interact with leaders under the current system.
"Beside the dysfunction (in the city), there is an inability for people to actually participate. They're not able to come to City Council or other meetings, and they're not able to participate in the process," he said. "People are discouraged because the system is difficult to interact with."
Michelson says disenfranchised people include people who can't make it to the council's regular Wednesday meetings because of work or family or lack of transportation options. Other people are without the internet, he noted.
Michelson is also behind an effort to lower the threshold in terms of the number of signatures required to petition a measure to the ballot, from the thousands required now to just a few hundred.
Michelson said his goal is to spend less than $20 total on his entire campaign, and encourages people to donate food to local assistance programs or books to the local jail library rather than donate money to his campaign.
Phillip Pe'a, the other candidate in the race, wants to join the council to bring perspective that sometimes might be missing from council deliberations.
"I just would like to be a part of the decision making, and being able to change things. I think I bring a different perspective," Pe'a said. "I respect what (councilors) have to do, but sometimes I wonder, what led them to that decision?"
"Sometimes it seems like it's synchronized swimming (among the councilors). I'd like to bring a different perspective," he said.
Pe'a — who originally came to Grand Junction from Hawaii on a football scholarship, and has lived in the area since 1984 — said his council candidacy sprung from casual morning coffee meetings with the owner of Central Distributing, which Pe'a manages.
He says he's a creative thinker, likes to look at issues from multiple angles, and often thinks "outside the box."
"I like breaking down issues to the basics, and then try to analyze and assess it," Pe'a said.
"(Grand Junction is) a great place, and I feel like I can lead. I listen very well, I'm not going to come to the council with any preconceived notions," he said.
The only other district seat up for election in April is District C, which is generally the east downtown area. Anna Stout is the only candidate in that race.
An at-large seat is also up in April, with three candidates — Jim Doody, Chuck McDaniel and Dennis Simpson.