Election 2020: Grand County Commissioner — District Two candidate profiles
Two county commissioner positions are up for election this November: District One, encompassing Winter Park and Fraser, and District Two, encompassing Granby and Grand Lake. Due to the size of Grand County, voters countywide get a say in every district. The responses below were submitted by the District Two candidates.
Merrit Linke — Republican
Background: I am a Grand County native and live near the place that my Great grandfather homesteaded in 1883. Although I was gone for nearly two decades teaching, coaching, and working, I chose to come back to Grand County to raise my family, educate my kids, operate a business, and be involved in the community. I have a varied and diverse background, from being a teacher and coach for thirteen years, to being a district sales rep for the livestock feed division of a global corporation. I currently run a cattle and hay operation. I am a husband and father of three; all MPHS and University graduates. All three are employed in jobs related to their chosen careers. Two are married and live in Colorado, grandfather to one, uncle to twelve.
Community involvement: 4H Leader, Middle Park Fair Jr Livestock Sale committee, Middle Park Stock Growers member; currently serving as VP, Granby Rotary member.
After becoming a commissioner, I organized a re-creation of the stage route to Hot Sulphur as fundraiser for the Hwy 9 project. Served on the Grand County Rural Health Network board and donate a “ranch experience” auction item every year. Last year, I hosted and led a “History on Horseback” event that raised over $2,000 for the Grand County Historical Association. Serve on the Grand County Wildfire Council and work at the free chipping days.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing Grand County? The three issues that we hear the most about are: Housing, Transportation, and Health Care/Health Insurance.
How would you address them? Regarding the three most heard issues: The Grand County Housing Authority facilitates down payment assistance loans, manages assisted living, senior living, and collaborates on LIHTC projects. We have helped to fund additional routes for the Lift and just signed a 50 year land lease agreement with the town of Winter Park for their transportation facility near Fraser. We are in the process with CDOT to address the Red Dirt Hill concerns and will continue to collaborate and advocate for funding for State roads within Grand County. Through the Rural Health network and the Peak Health Alliance, we are working to reduce health care costs for Grand County residents and promote local health care services.
However, the biggest issue that we are faced with is water. As long as something comes out when you turn on your tap, it’s not an issue, right? We are the most heavily diverted county in the state and arguably, the nation. Grand County has worked for decades and much more work is needed now and for generations to follow to make sure our voices are heard and our water needs are met.
Shanna Ganne — Democrat
Background: Many of you know me as a nonprofit leader, a community advocate, a horse woman, an artist, and a mother of two, but I would like to introduce myself as a Grand County Commissioner Candidate in District 2.
As a nonprofit leader, my greatest achievement to date is working with the Grand County Historical Association to preserve our community’s wealth of history and help our organization thrive. History is the soul of a community and is a common ground under which we can all find our roots and unity.
I have lived in Grand County for 16 years, finding a job at the Winter Park Resort switchboard upon moving to the Fraser Valley. From there I moved to the nonprofit world working for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, a local nonprofit that advocates for the best interest of children involved in the court system due to abuse and neglect.
As a single mother living in income-based housing, I worked my way through my masters in nonprofit management, met the man of my dreams, grew our family, and bought a house. Through this journey, I experienced the real Grand County. The Grand County of working families and of having a side gig (or two). The Grand County of soccer Saturdays and Friday family ski days. The Grand County where you find community and lifelong friends.
My journey to become a candidate for commissioner began upon recognizing that Grand County is experiencing change and that it is time for the BOCC to change with it. I will bring an open mind and heart that will hear the needs of Grand County. I promise to operate with transparency and thoughtfulness. I will bring the voice of the working people to our county government.
Community involvement: I am committed to the community through volunteering my time on the Fraser Valley Parent Action Committee, a member as the Grand County Rural Health Network Community Cohort, as a Governor appointed member of the 14th JD Commission on Judicial Performance, and in taking a leadership role with the Grand County Outbreak of Kindness.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing Grand County? Grand County is facing many issues including housing, transportation, and economic development. To me, each of these issues are connected. Not one is more important than the other.
How would you address them? With investment in housing, affordable and attainable, we can retain quality workers. Transportation in the form of a countywide bus system will allow workers flexibility in where they live giving access to areas of affordable housing. Investment in economic development will provide support for our businesses to survive the economic effects of COVID-19 and allow room for growth and increased income. Our community is growing and changing, we may allow this growth to happen to us, or we can take the reins and choose what our future looks like. With investment in growth and infrastructure, we make informed decisions about our future. We choose what our community will look like and how it will grow.
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Grand County officials are not releasing further information about a second county resident to die due to COVID-19 other than to confirm the death was a result of complications from COVID-19.