Election 2020: Grand Lake candidate profiles | SkyHiNews.com
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Election 2020: Grand Lake candidate profiles

Editor’s note: The Sky-Hi News reached out to every candidate running for office in Grand Lake. Some returned the form provided by the newspaper. Others submitted responses in different formats. All candidates except Michael Arnston replied directly to the Sky-Hi News’ request for candidate profiles. His information was gleaned from responses he gave the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce. All responses have been edited to be as close to 200 words as possible. For more about the candidates, check out the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce’s election information at GoGrandLake.com/resources/.

Mayoral candidates

Steve Kudron

Steve Kudron

Background: I am a community leader, serving as mayor pro-tem and planning commissioner in Grand Lake. I’ve held elected and volunteer leadership positions here since 2012. I’ve served on other volunteer boards in several capacities since 1990. My wife and I are owners of Quacker Gift Shop, Mountain Gal and Where Art Thou Gallery. You’ll find me often at the duck shop making our famous fudge. I am the proud husband to Jennifer Brown. Our blended family includes four wonderful grown children and Avery, our precocious granddaughter. We’ve lived in Grand Lake since 2014 with our kitties Delilah, Daffodil and Diesel.

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Community Involvement: In addition to mayor pro-tem, I am committed to our town’s greatest resource, Grand Lake, serving on many water quality committees. I am on the Grand Lake Creative District Board; I’ve served as Rotary Club President and volunteer in many community efforts with my time and talent.

Focus: I’ve served this community through times of trying change. I understand the town’s operations, culture, business and economics because I’m involved personally and professionally. I’m a local, business owner and property owner. I am well qualified and would be honored as your next mayor of Grand Lake.

Robert Canon

Robert Canon

I’ve lived in Grand Lake since September 2002. My formal education includes an Associate of Arts degree and an A.A.S. in Law Enforcement. Favorite activities include road trips, bird/animal/nature watching, motorcycling and camping. A huge history buff, and collect antler sheds — as well as other space compromising stuff. Love dogs.

I’ve lived in Grand Lake since September 2002. My formal education includes an Associate of Arts degree and an A.A.S. in Law Enforcement. Favorite activities include road trips, bird/animal/nature watching, motorcycling and camping.  A huge history buff, and collect antler sheds  — as well as other space compromising stuff. Love dogs.

I’m running for Mayor in hope of providing a fresh and objective perspective within our town administration. My priorities are to (1) ensure town stability and growth (2) enhance and support both law and code enforcement (3) see that the needs and focus of community goals are addressed and hopefully met.  Our Comprehensive Plan is currently being addressed and those results will certainly be used as a primary reference in decisions affecting the community.

Challenges in our community are fluid — not unlike a tumbling mountain stream — which, for us, requires close monitoring.  We are a small community that supports thousands, including our own residents, outlying communities, and certainly our visitors, who contribute a major portion to our economy and welfare.  As such, those who are eligible to vote in this upcoming election have a responsibility that will affect tenfold if not a thousandfold. 

Board of Trustees

Tom Weydert

Tom Weydert

Background: My wife Kathy and I have lived in Grand Lake for 33 years. We have raised our family here, and our children were 4, 6, and 8 when we moved from Denver. We built and operated Grand Lake Lanes for 14 years. I have been employed with the County since 2001.

Community Involvement:  Having previously served on the Town Board for many years, I made the decision to go back onto the board last year. I was very concerned with the direction the Town management was taking, but believe we have turned the corner and are headed in the right direction. I feel there still needs to be more oversight and supervision along with community involvement. In my opinion, with all of the many methods of communication available, the Town has been remiss in not keeping the community informed. With the new Town manager, and new members on the Board, hopefully we will do a better job. 

Focus: I served for many years on the Grand Lake Town Board, as well as on the Fire Department Board for 20-plus years, and fully understand the needs and responsibilities for serving our community. The current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic is constantly changing. We need to be prepared to help/facilitate economic relief once we understand and can prioritize what the real needs will be. Streetscape, Space-to-create while important need to take 2nd priority.

Jonah Landy

Jonah Landy

Background: I attended Colorado State University, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management/Business. In my free time, I like to be with my family, and also love to spend time outside with my yellow Lab, Ollie. I am so fortunate to be able to enjoy all of my favorite activities year-round in Grand Lake. In the winter I like to ski/snowboard and am learning to snowmobile. In the summertime, I love dirt biking, kayaking, wake surfing and camping.

Community Involvement: For the last two years I have helped represent the business community by serving on the Chamber of Commerce. I genuinely care about our community and would be honored to serve as a member of the Town Board. I believe I have the energy to do what it takes to restore the charm and quality of life we all love about Grand Lake.

Focus: As a homeowner and a taxpayer, I take an interest in how our community is managed and how our leaders are stewards of our tax dollars. Being a restaurant owner, I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of people and believe that I can listen to my fellow local residents and best represent their concerns.

Melissa Ratzmann

Melissa Ratzmann

Melissa has resided in Grand Lake for the last 12 months after being brought here with her husband for employment as your Fire Chief. Melissa works for Grand Lake Fire as the Public Relations Specialist and is looking forward to serving The Town of Grand Lake in any capacity she can.  

Melissa is originally from Florida where she graduated with a AS Degree in Human Services moving on to a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She says her education has taught her that listening, understanding and researching are huge factors that must happen in order to make a great decision that benefits all involved.

Notable challenges are happening in Grand Lake each day, issues like the need for a Town Planner, better Pay as you go efficiency, Streetscape, things like placement of trash cans, Fees in Lieu of parking, Quiet hours and Noise Control, understanding tourism and how it affects our town, good or bad. Understanding Fire and Safety in our VRBO’s, just to name a handful.

“I have been here just at one year, I do not pretend to know all the ins and outs of the Town, but I’d like to learn and help Grand Lake be its best version for those who have brought it this far and for those who can keep it moving forward”.

Ernie Bjorkman

Ernie Bjorkman

Ernie Bjorkman has lived in Grand Lake full-time for a little over a year but has been a part-time resident since 1985. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida and an Associate Science degree in Veterinary Technology. He enjoys fishing of any kind, especially ice-fishing and fly-fishing. He also loves playing golf, cross-country skiing, hiking, boating – all the things the Grand Lake area offers.

Why are you running? After enjoying Grand Lake so much over the years, I finally have time to give back to this great community by serving on the council and being part of the solutions. In the one year I’ve been here full time, I have volunteered for several events and been involved in many more.

What are the three priorities the town should focus on right now? First, Affordable Housing so we can maintain a viable workforce year-round. Second, water use and quality. Since three beautiful lakes are in our backyard and provide so many recreational opportunities, the town needs to take a stronger stance on protecting this valuable resource. We need to fight for more compensation for the mining of our water to be used along the Front Range. Third, preserving the rustic-and-real charm of this town that the locals love, and tourists love to visit. 

Michael Arntson
GLElection-shn-040320-6-6

Michael Arntson

Background: I have lived in the county for 19 years but have been hunting, fishing, camping here since the early 90’s. Sarah and I have two energetic toddlers, Evie and Axel, and plan on raising them as outdoor focused mountain kids. I am a 6-year Firefighter/EMT for Grand Lake Fire Department and Sarah has owned a massage therapy office in Grand Lake for over 15 years.

How did you become interested in local government? I have been thinking of becoming more active since becoming a firefighter.

What do you think is the most notable challenge Grand Lake is currently facing? Grand Lake is growing and has limited space, effective growth planning needs to include the input of the public in an attempt to maintain our “identity”. I feel most community members don’t have the time to attend board meetings and we rely on our board members to make sound decisions for us. As a community member with a family and career, I understand this time requirement well and am committed to making this a priority. I feel like my decades of experience in the Grand Lake area and having one of the few young families in town, I would like to be able to represent the best interests of future generations while maintaining the values of past generations.


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