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Grand Junction City Council Candidate Questionnaires and Results - March 2023

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Restore the Balance

Report to the City of Grand Junction Residents

City Council Candidate Questionnaire Process and Results


March 9, 2023


Restore the Balance (RTB) is a group of bipartisan citizens who have united to oppose extremism and help restore civil discourse to our politics. More than 2,600 individuals have signed our pledge. Consistent with our role to provide education and resources to the community, RTB sent questionnaires to nine candidates seeking positions on the Grand Junction City Council.


Registered voters who live within Grand Junction City limits may vote on all candidates seeking office.


Candidates were asked to share their:

  • Qualifications to serve;

  • Commitment to RTB’s seven principles guiding political conduct;

  • Thoughts about intergovernmental collaboration, economic development, affordable housing, homelessness; and,

  • Insights into key issues facing the residents of Grand Junction.

The following candidates received questionnaires:

  • District A: Cody Kennedy, Jamie Porta, Sandra Weckerly

  • District B: Michael Deuel, Greg Haitz, Jason Nguyen

  • District C: Anna Stout

  • At-Large: Scott Beilfuss, Diane Schwenke

Eight of the nine candidates responded to our questionnaire within the required timeline. One

candidate submitted his response after the due date. His responses are not included in our report. The candidates’ responses were evaluated by a non-partisan committee and scores were assigned. The RTB Board of Directors reviewed and approved the committee’s work. Each candidate’s completed questionnaire, along with our report and scoring are posted on our website (www.restorethebalance.org).


The responses that candidates provided to each of the questions were scored using a six-point scale. For comparability, the scoring was converted to a 100-point scale. A zero was assigned when a candidate did not answer a question. The results of our analysis are shown in Attachment 1-City Council Candidate Questionnaire Rubric, which groups the responses into eight categories. Two questions relate directly to the RTB principles guiding political conduct. The responses to these questions were weighted more heavily and carried a weight of 20%. The remaining questions were weighted equally at 7.5%.


The following candidates have endorsed the RTB principles:

  • District A: Cody Kennedy, Jamie Porta

  • District B: Jason Nguyen

  • District C: Anna Stout

  • At-Large: Scott Beilfuss


Set forth below are brief comments by the RTB Board of Directors on the numerical scores that the candidates earned for their responses to the RTB candidate questionnaires. There are two important caveats for readers to bear in mind.


First, voters are strongly encouraged to review the entire questionnaires and entire answers of each candidate and draw their own conclusions. These may be found at the RTB website. RTB scoring should not be a substitute for voters’ personal involvement and decision-making. Second, some candidates criticized some of the RTB questions, and some of these criticisms are valid. We will work to improve these questionnaires in every way before the next elections roll around.


District A


Cody Kennedy (Points – 83.1)

Mr. Kennedy received the highest score of all the candidates due to his experience, comprehensive response to our questionnaire and his commitment to the Restore the Balance’s seven principles guiding political conduct. Although Mr. Kennedy did not agree with all of the RTB principles as written, his explanations were thoughtful and reasonable.


Mr. Kennedy served on the Grand Junction Police force for seventeen years. He was President of the Western Colorado Peace Officers Association and served on the Executive Board of the Internal Order of Police. He served on the City of Grand Junction’s Retirement Board with fiduciary responsibility for $70 million in retirement assets. In his role on the Retirement Board, he interfaced with the City Manager, City Attorney, the City’s Director of Human Resources and the Chiefs of the Police and Fire Departments. His career experience in local government gives him valuable direct experience.



Jamie Porta (Points – 75.9)

Ms. Porta is a past executive board member and Vice President of the local electrician’s union. She is also the current Secretary of the Mesa County Democratic Party and a member of the One Riverfront volunteer advisory board. She has lived in Grand Junction for 25 years. She generally endorses the RTB pledge, and offered thoughtful observations on the elements of the pledge with which she is not 100% comfortable. She is trained as an election judge and has faith in the local election processes. She cites mediation and arbitration as preferred dispute resolution methods. Her questionnaire responses were shorter than many, but showed an understanding of current city issues. She is less experienced than some other candidates, but her answers showed common sense and an open mind.



Sandra Weckerly (Points - 54.8)

Ms. Weckerly is an owner of Redlands Mesa Golf Course and Mama Ree’s Pizza and Brewery. She has public service experience as a member of the Grand Junction Planning Commission, and serves on the Board of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce. She cautiously endorses six of the seven RTB principles and gave some insight into her thinking on them. She observes that “extremism” must be defined since both major parties use the term to discredit the other. Her answers to the questionnaire ranged from thin to very good.



District B


Greg Haitz (Points – 40.3)

Mr. Haitz, a chiropractor who has served on the Mesa County Planning Commission, received the lowest score of all the candidates. His responses to the questionnaire were sparse and incomplete compared to most other candidates. Mr. Haitz did not agree with any of the seven RTB principles. He did not offer a reason for his lack of support, and states, “I live my life by my own principles.” Mr. Haitz helped lead the Stop the Mandate GJ initiative. According to a February 2, 2022 article in the GJ Daily Sentinel the initiative was aimed at “pushing alternative medical treatments to the coronavirus in defiance of federal public health guidelines.”



Jason Nguyen (Points – 81.2)

Mr. Nguyen is a scientist with a ten-year history with the U.S. Department of Energy in Grand

Junction. He has also been active on City committees (Urban Trails, Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan) and in two community music groups, the Centennial Band and Western Colorado Chorale. He endorses the seven RTB principles, and notes the importance of subordinating not only party interest but also personal financial interest to the interests of the community. His answers to the RTB questionnaire were exceptionally good and showed independent and creative thinking on many issues. Mr. Nguyen uniquely identified an opportunity to strengthen community, increase mobility and water use management issues facing city residents.



Michael Deuel - Mr. Deuel did not submit a timely response to the RTB questionnaire.




District C


Anna Stout (Points 74.0)

Ms. Stout is currently serving as Grand Junction’s Mayor, and has served on City Council for four years. She is running unopposed. She has participated in the Colorado Municipal Leagues university program, as well as other governmental training programs. Ms. Stout supports the Restore the Balance principles. Her answers to the questions about election integrity and interference with public discourse were quite good in the group’s opinion.



At-Large District


Scott Beilfuss (Points – 80.0)

Mr. Beilfuss is a retired self-employed businessman from Grand Junction, where he has lived for 38 years. He has been active in community affairs for many years, and his knowledge is extensive, as is his knowledge of the participants in local public policy circles. He endorsed the RTB pledge at an early date, and said in his questionnaire, “If they [people with input] are R’s, D’s, Greens, Libertarians, WFP, etc., I don’t care—I’m listening to them all and if they want to work together, I’m game.” His questionnaire responses were direct and knowledgeable as well, with some creative ideas.



Diane Schwenke (Points – 68.6)

Ms. Schwenke is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable candidates for Grand Junction City Council. She served as Executive Director of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce for 30 years and was awarded lifetime membership in the Western Association of Chamber Executives. She is a Certified Economic Developer and has served on various city government committees.


Ms. Schwenke did not “endorse the seven principles of Restore the Balance in their current format” and did not offer any insight into her rationale. Her failure to agree with any of the seven principles necessary to oppose extremism, and a lack of explanation as to why, is a deep concern. Many of her answers to other portions of the questionnaire were detailed and insightful.


Grand Junction City Council Candidate Questionnaire 3/9/23
Grand Junction City Council Candidate Questionnaire


Candidate Questionnaire - Grand Junction City Council


1. What qualifications and experience do you have that can give voters confidence that you should be a member of the Grand Junction City Council? Please be specific.


2. By now, you have read and considered the seven political principles we feel should guide political conduct in Western Colorado.

a. Do you endorse each of the seven principles Restore the Balance feels should guide political conduct in Western Colorado?

b. If you endorse them all, please explain how you will work to execute these principles.

c. If there are one or more principles you do not endorse, please identify them and explain why.


3. It is important to let people know that you put the public interest first. In looking back over the past year, are there any decisions the Grand Junction City Council has made that you do not agree with? If yes, how would you have changed them?


4. In the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, studies and security experts are citing increased risks to local governments from extremist groups who now target meetings of city councils and school boards for potential violent protests and demonstrations around false election fraud and conspiracy theories.

a. How would you as a local government official push back against those

who are undermining public confidence in free and fair elections?

b. What should be done to protect elected officials and the public from

those using harassment to stop civil engagement and the exercise of

democratic processes?


5. The City of Grand Junction Charter provides that council elections are to be non-partisan. What do you think about local political party organizations supporting or opposing council candidates? Will you reject political party endorsements and/or direct contributions to your campaign from political parties; why or why not?


6. In the wake of the recent Orchard Mesa Pool controversy, the

question of resolving multi-jurisdictional conflict has arisen.

a. What are your feelings regarding intergovernmental cooperation in the Grand Valley on this or other issues?

b. What approach would you take in dealing with intergovernmental relations and resolving intergovernmental conflicts?

c. How would you protect Grand Junction's interests while still serving the most people in the most efficient and cost-effective way?


7. Homelessness and affordable housing have been identified as problems in Grand Junction that affect large segments of our City’s population; including young people, families and the elderly. What actions do you think the City should take to address these problems?


8. Economic development is listed as one of Grand Junction’s strategic priorities. According to the City’s 2023 adopted budget summary, economic development spending will constitute 8% ($19.5 million) of the total combined budget.

a. What means wound you utilize to evaluate the merit and effectiveness of the city's economic development strategy?"

b. What steps would you take to determine that the level of funding for the city's economic development strategy is appropriate or should be increased or decreased?

c. If elected, how would you ensure that funding the city's economic development strategy is fair to new businesses, existing businesses, taxpayers who are not business owners, as well as well as pro-growth and no-growth interests?


9. Are there City expenditures that you think could be reduced without sacrificing City residents’ quality of life or fiscal responsibility? Are there City expenditures that you think should be increased?


10. What do you feel are three OTHER important issues and or concerns facing the City of Grand Junction and what solutions do you have in mind?


District A


Cody Kennedy - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 213KB

Jamie Porta - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 150KB

Sandra Weckerly - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 234KB



District B


Greg Haitz - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 87KB

Jason Nguyen - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 85KB



District C


Anna Stout - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 33KB


At - Large


Scott Beilfuss - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 55KB

Diane Schwenke - 2023 City Council questionnaire
.pdf
Download PDF • 50KB




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