GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — City council candidates for district A, met for the Redlands Rotary Club debate and weighed in on some of our most pressing issues. 

Cody Kennedy, who has a focus on public safety said,

“Public safety, that’s really such a critical thing and it’s really my area of expertise having worked in that arena for 2 decades almost. As a police officer as a detective, I really get that I really understand that experience.” 

Sandra Weckerly, a business owner had a different area of focus saying,

“I’ve been on the city planning commission for a few years and I’ve been in the real estate industry for about 30 years.  I think that small business and our housing providers community needs a seat at the table with city council right now.

and Jamie Porta, a blue-collar worker who said this about her mission statement.

“I’ve worked mostly in utilities for the last 20 years, so I’ve been outside with steel-toed boots on freezing my butt off and then melting in the summer heat and I want to focus on making sure that grand junction works for the people who keep grand junction running.”

Public safety was first on the docket with both Cody and Jamie in agreement our police force and firefighters should have higher wages and strengthened rights when it comes to overtime and lawsuit protections.  They say providing that would increase jobs.  

Cody also emphasized the rough state of public safety in the Redlands. 

“In Redlands which is where station 5 is at, they don’t have an ambulance.”

That’s not the only thing they’re missing, Cody also mentioned,

“There were 3 firemen. 3, okay?  To go into a structure fire by national standards it takes 4.”

Sandra seemed less passionate about the fire issue and more focused on police, asserting that with our newly hired police chief and improved leadership more jobs should follow.

The candidates tackled the proposed grand junction rec center next.  All three unanimously agreed building a new rec center is an important venture.  One concern from Cody and Jamie, the slow pacing of licensing for dispensaries that would fund the center. Sandra worried the language of the bill may be misleading, drawing a sharp rebuke of disagreement from an audience member. 

But one point all three really seemed passionate about. Housing.

Cody and Jamie agreed low wages are fueling the crisis.  They say the average wage in Grand Junction isn’t enough to cover average rental rates and added cost of living.

“I went to the grocery store this week and it’s expensive.”

Jamie mentioned. 

Sandra disagreed saying she pays her own restaurant workers $10.56 an hour, saying with tips they can make up to 30 or 40 dollars an hour.

District A residents will have a lot to chew on until April, meanwhile there are 6 other candidates running for city council.  We’ll keep you posted on future debates.