Losing its voice? Club 20 working to be heard

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- For more than 50 years, Club 20 has worked to connect the people of the Western Slope with their elected leaders as they make the decisions that impact our daily lives. But some group members say in recent years, that voice is getting softer -- and more needs to be done to make sure it's heard loud and clear.

Between jobs, the economy, and who will represent us in the future, Club 20 says it's critical the Western Slope have a say in those discussions.

"There is no time more urgent than now for us to create a stronger voice in Western Colorado," said Bonnie Petersen, Executive Director of Club 20.

And a stronger voice is what some members say the group desperately needs.

"I think it's moderate," said Craig Meis, a member of the Club 20 board. "There's definitely a lot of work to be done."

They say in recent years the group has put forward too many resolutions with too many opinions on too many topics -- then not followed up on them. As a result, they say those resolutions aren't carrying much weight when elected leaders make important decisiosn.

"Club 20 needs to focus on those four or five current issues that we can gather around and fight for very strongly," said Meis.

"I appreciate the comments," said Petersen.

Petersen became Executive Director of Club 20 earlier this year. She says she and her brand new staff are currently looking at the way things have been run in the past and deciding if changes need to be made.

She agrees that the focus of the group's efforts should be slimmed down to a handful of key issues, but says it needs to go a step further.

"We really want to look at how we begin to have more of a dialogue with our representatives at the local, state, and federal level," said Petersen.

Elected leaders regularly attend Club 20 meetings in the Spring and Fall, but are usually there to give updates on their own work. Petersen says she'd like to organize teleconferences between Club 20 members and elected leaders to discuss issues and the group's resolutions more in-depth.

"We're ramping up our efforts to get our resolutions and our positions in the hands of the people who make the legislative decisions," said Petersen.

When asked what they felt the key issues were, Club 20 members said energy development, transportation, water, and redistricting.

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