Community and candidates react to Grand Junction election results

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The election results are in, and this year, it's two ballot measure races that were hotly contested by Grand Junction voters.

Just one of the two made it past the chopping block, bringing the promise of improved broadband internet to the largest municipality in Mesa County.

We start with one of the races that's received lots of attention in the past few weeks and this one doesn't involve any candidates.

Measure 2B, also known as the Westside Beltway Project, was an issue that received lots of initial pushback from the community.

It's an extensive roadway project that would involve the widening of 25 Road from I-70 B to F 1/2 Road in addition to parts of 24 1/2 Road.

25 Road business owners have been vocal about their opposition to measure 2B and are thrilled to see it defeated.

“I’m glad it went down, you guys need to learn that the public needs to be treated fairly and honestly,” says Tom Kucel, owner of 2495 Industrial Blvd.

“Yeah, I’ll be happy about it but I’m afraid that they're afraid that even after this is done, they're going to do something on 25 Road,” says Steve Stewart, owner of the Foreign Aid.

Measure 2A was given the green light by Grand Junction citizens, opening up a dialogue between the city and high speed internet providers to improve broadband internet options in the valley.

“It’s an indication that people really want to see us have better fiber in this city so we'll step back as a city council and see what are next steps to go forward,” says Mayor Phyllis Norris.

The approval of Measure 2A reverses the effects of Senate Bill 152 that have been in effect for more than 10 years.

City and county leaders now have the power to negotiate with internet companies and explore options of how to share their broadband with citizens.

Now for the two contested candidate races.

Chris Kennedy takes the four year member at large seat, beating out Dennis Simpson.

“Nice to see the results come in and see the voters of Grand Junction they want to do something a little bit differently when it comes to city council,” says Chris Kennedy.

“It’s important for people to put themselves out in elections like this, and I’m glad I ran and gave people the choice between two different viewpoints,” says Dennis Simpson.

Kennedy says he plans to use his background in telecommunications during his term, especially with the landslide approval of Measure 2A.

The final contested race of the night was for the two year member at large seat, with Rick Taggart bringing home the win against Kim Kerk.

“I’m thrilled and relieved, trying to promote yourself when you've never run for office is difficult, and I’m just thrilled it's over,” says Rick Taggart.

“I’ve just really been amazed and I plan on staying really involved and finding my niche really contributing to the community still,” says Kim Kerk.

Taggart says he plans to use his extensive background in business to promote budget savviness during his tenure.

This will be his first time serving on the Grand Junction City Council and Taggert says he's eager and ready to start.

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