Kraig Andrews, who is running for the Grand Junction City Council at-large seat, says he brings a grounded and objective view to the council.
“I have seen the ebb and flow of this valley through feast and famine,” Andrews said. “I believe we must be forward thinking. Not just dealing with what arises today, but planning three to five years down the road to continue to keep Grand Junction the place we love to live in.”
Andrews, who currently sits on the council in the District E seat but is running in this election for the at large-seat, is a native of Colorado and has lived in the Grand Valley since the 1990s. He is a general contractor who owns a small business. His 15 years of experience in the construction industry has given him a blend of experience and connection that he said has been an asset to the council.
“I am a fifth generation Colorado native and I have lived in the Grand Valley for the past 27 years,” Andrews said. “I am raising my family here and I have been blessed with the ability to start my own small business.”
In an effort to continue to help small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, Andrews said he would continue down the course the current council has set by partnering with local nonprofits to provide aid. He touted the recently approved $1 million in assistance the council passed to aid local businesses and nonprofits.
“We have built a great collaboration with the Business Incubator and the Chamber of Commerce,” Andrews said. “ We have helped local businesses deal with COVID with over a million dollars in assistance.”
One practice the council has employed in the past to encourage development has been to purchase blighted properties like the old Mesa Pawn and Loan building. Andrews said he is not in favor of this strategy by the city.
“No, after you spend the money to buy it and remediate it, what do you do with the land?” Andrews said. “And who gets to determine what blight is?”
Another area Andrews said he differed with the current Council on was over the issue of de-Brucing from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which allowed the city to keep tax revenue in excess of the TABOR cap.The de-Brucing measure was placed on the November ballot by City Council and voters approved the measure with more than 60% voting in favor.
Andrews said he would have preferred a question that included a sunset date.
“I felt it was more appropriate to de-Bruce for 5 to 10 years and prove we were good stewards of our citizen’s money,” Andrews said. “After that we could ask for a permanent de-Bruce.”
Andrews said he believes the Council must be forward looking as it addresses issues. One issue where he is doing that is in planning for future traffic issues. Andrews says the city should work with other government agencies to help address the issue before it becomes a more serious problem.
“The Interchange of I-70 and 29 Road has been on the back burner for years,” Andrews said. “We need to push and advocate with our county and state partners to find a way to accomplish this interchange. In place it would help us utilize the interstate much better, lessening the strain on Patterson Road.”
One issue that the next council will potentially have to tackle is the regulation of marijuana businesses in Grand Junction if the voters choose to lift the moratorium.
The council will have the ability to choose what kind of marijuana businesses will be allowed. Andrews said he would be in favor of limited retail if is approved, but not cultivation.
“We should start slow and see where it leads,” Andrews said. “No cultivation whatsoever. It has no place inside city limits. Definitely manufacturing. It will bring the most jobs.”