Ryan Gordon challenges Tom Jankovsky for GarCo seat – The Sopris Sun

For three terms, since 2011, Republican Tom Jankovsky served on the Garfield County Board of Commissioners (BOCC). In November, voters will decide whether to give Jankovsky a fourth term or elect Democrat Ryan Gordon to represent District 1.
The Sopris Sun asked each candidate individually about their motivations for running, the challenges they see for Garfield County and what sets them apart from their opponents. This article weaves together their answers to the same questions.
Both candidates were born in Colorado. Jankovsky, a third-generation Coloradan, was raised in Sterling and his grandfather served in the state legislature. Gordon is originally from Glenwood Springs and, after earning a degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University, he lived in California and Portland, Oregon before returning to the Valley with his family in 2016.

Ryan Gordon, pictured with his family, enjoys the technical side of brewing beer at home to share with friends. He also enjoys rafting, camping, hiking, biking, skiing and generally “being outdoors”. Courtesy picture

Tom Jankovsky, pictured with his grandchildren, practices Jiu Jitsu weekly, ‘mainly for exercise’, and keeps a penny collection. Courtesy picture

Jankovsky’s expertise is in business. He was general manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort from 1985 to 2018 and continues to serve on the resort’s board of directors as secretary. Other boards he has served on include the Colorado Ski Country Board (for nearly 30 years) and the Glenwood Springs Resort Association (in the 1990s); he was president of both. Jankovsky told the Sopris Sun that his “extensive leadership experience” makes him a skilled leader within the BOCC with skills in administration, accounting, budgeting and more.
Gordon, on the other hand, studied civil engineering. Since returning to Colorado, he has been employed by SGM Engineering, Inc. Through his work, Gordon has become familiar with staff and elected officials in towns and communities in and around Garfield County. He also gained a detailed understanding of local government, working with SGM as a municipal engineer for Parachute for two years and now as an official engineer for Snowmass Village and water engineer for Minturn.
Additionally, Gordon understands infrastructure expenses, asset maintenance, and other technical aspects. “Engineers, we solve problems,” he told the Sopris Sun. “And we are very practical.” He added that engineers need to see the deeper ramifications of decisions and understand their personal limitations. “As an engineer, one of the things that sticks in our minds is knowing what you don’t know and knowing when to ask for outside help,” he said.
According to Jankovsky, it took almost four years to really understand the intricacies of being a county commissioner. He is now that council’s liaison for the budget committee, working with department heads, the county manager and the finance manager on an annual basis. He is also the commissioners’ liaison with the investment board, which generates about $1 million a year in interest and dividends on investments.
Jankovsky serves on the Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Board, advising the Bureau of Land Management on everything from wild horse management to oil and gas drilling. He sits on the county’s Social Services Commission, is the board representative for the 20 Club, and is treasurer of the board of directors of Garfield Clean Energy, of which he was a founding member.
Challenges facing the county, Jankovsky said, include a precipitous decline in revenue with “property taxes from the oil and gas industry [dropping by] nearly $10 million. This has led in recent years to budgets that are difficult to balance; achieved, he continued, by cutting expenses, including staffing, by 5% “through attrition and early retirements”.
Gordon considers diversifying the county’s revenue a top priority. To do this, he thinks the county’s economy should be “decarbonized,” that is, less dependent on fossil fuel extraction. “I’m not advocating that we do this instantly,” he added, “things are changing and we have to transition with it. Oil and gas will always have a role in our society, but we’re seeing it there will be less income.
In addition to more aggressive investments in renewable energy, Gordon would support the capitalization of outside resources for tourism and citizens, farms and ranches for locally produced foods, and the promotion of light manufacturing by improving access to electricity. highway and railways.
Gordon was inspired by his two young daughters to run. On his journey back to the county, he considers himself lucky to have found a job and a place to live. He wants opportunities for his daughters, including a healthy environment and a strong economy for their future; “That we did the right things locally, made the right decisions.”
Jankovsky’s energy policy, by comparison, is an “all of the above approach” including fossil fuels, solar, wind, hydroelectricity “and nuclear, if necessary, to get us back to earth.” ‘energy independence’.
Another major concern for Jankovsky is public safety, with an increase in crime in Garfield County, including violent crime. “We don’t fund the police, so to speak, or the [District Attorney]”, he said, “we make sure they are adequately funded. “
When 9th Judicial Circuit Attorney Jeff Cheney appeared before the board in 2020 asking for an additional $700,000 for four new positions and salary increases to help with saved cases, Jankovsky reported, the commissioners found a way while maintaining a balanced budget. In the next budget cycle, they plan to add two school resource officers from unincorporated Garfield County.
A major challenge Gordon foresees for the county is affordable housing. With long commutes for many workers and lack of manpower for many jobs, “this is really going to lead to a lot of situations and problems,” he said.
In order to meet the regional affordable housing challenge, Gordon continued, “working collectively and collaboratively” will be essential. “The issues are large and complex and require collaboration,” from Pitkin to Mesa County, to the governor’s office, to senators and beyond. “We need to work with everyone in our region… taking advantage of all possible angles to solve our very complex problems.”
He considers the choice of the current Garfield County commissioners not to join the new Greater Roaring Fork Valley Housing Coalition earlier this year to be a mistake. “I think that’s the wrong approach. I think that doesn’t show leadership at all,” he said. For Gordon, partnering on affordable housing and other issues is “not an idea,” but “a philosophy” he would bring to the role.
“It will take work for all of us,” Jankovsky agreed, citing initiatives in place such as $3 million available in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) dollars for first-time home buyers for a down payment. or mortgage, plus inclusive housing guidelines requiring one of 10 units in new housing estates to be affordable, grants to nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and more.
Jankovsky’s vision for a fourth term includes helping to build and operate a regional drug rehabilitation center, continuing to improve broadband access, fire safety and resilience achieved in part by thinning trees with prescribed burns and incentives for wood products industries, complementing the West Garfield County Landfill Master Plan and securing water rights are protected in western Colorado.
And, “We’re not done with COVID yet,” Jankovsky warned. “The president has not ended the health emergency declaration he put in place.” Jankovsky predicts that this will happen after the election and that the “unwinding of this health order” will result in some people losing their benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps) program and Medicaid. “There’s going to be a bit of compression in those two programs,” he said. “There may be more need for help with food banks and so on.”
If elected, Gordon believes he can overcome partisanship to work on common areas of concern with commissioners Mike Samson and John Martin. “Both John and Mike are reasonable people who can also look beyond politics,” he said. “I think for a lot of the issues that we need to address, there is common ground.” On other issues, Gordon believes he can “make his case” and realize priorities they might agree on. “It’s literally about getting things done.”
Regarding the political divide, Jankovsky said it was a limited government philosophy and that “the decisions we make are local decisions and are not partisan per se”, but most are decisions administrative. As for potential remedies, he said, “The first thing you do is listen.” And finally, there are three basic responsibilities: water, sewer, and access/transportation.
In conclusion, Jankovsky said he was motivated by public service. On a local level, “I can make a much bigger difference here than the state house or even Congress,” he said. “We need to feel safe and have a good quality of life in our community. He encourages voters to consider the difference in experience between the two candidates. “He’s a good man, like me, but I don’t think he’s quite ready for the job.”
“Generally speaking our current county government is not as proactive as it should be,” Gordon criticized. “I think we need people who are going to take decisive action and make decisions, instead of following.”

For more on Tom Jankovsky, visit tomj2022.com
To learn more about Ryan Gordon, visit ryangordonforgarco.com