Candidacy: District 1 Montrose County Commissioner, Unaffiliated
Education: Riverside City College
Occupation: Marketing and Special Events Coordinator/Coalition Coordinator
Family: Married 37 years, one daughter, two grandchildren; lives in Montrose
Prior Government Experience: Seven-plus years in municipal government
Juli Messenger is concerned about Montrose County’s economy, its budget, and the ongoing litigation and what it’s costing taxpayers – and this is why she is running for county commissioner.
“My background and passion for this community gives me the tools necessary to work toward the solutions that will take Montrose County in a better direction,” she said.
Messenger, the only unaffiliated candidate in the race, believes that local issues are nonpartisan. She has been an unaffiliated voter for 18 years, and said that beyond the local level, party politics has not been serving our country well.
She wants to put the politics aside, and get down to business.
“Economy is our greatest challenge, and to me, it is the number one concern,” she said.
Messenger, a grandmother of two young girls being raised in Olathe, said it is hard to spend time with them and not think about their future in this area. She wants them to be able to grow up in a healthy community, with good experiences that will encourage them to stay in the area to raise their own families.
She is concerned about the county’s growing number of homeless people, the increase in needed services at Montrose County Health and Human Services, and the rising demand at local food banks and soup kitchens. She also is concerned about the county’s high unemployment rate.
“We need to do better than that for the place we call home,” she said. “We’ve all chosen to call this community home. I would like to work with my neighbors, and all of the county, on how we can bring this county back. … I would hope to play a role in reducing the amount of fracture that I’m experiencing in this community.”
As part of that mission, Messenger said she wants to bring such community entities as Region 10, Montrose Economic Development Corporation and the municipalities to the table to discuss economic development.
“I don’t even want to call it that [economic development], because it doesn’t have the meaning for me that it should,” she said. “I’d like to create a Montrose economy improvement strategy. I think we need to look at how we can help businesses grow and develop, because with that, we will have job creation and expansion.”
There is not one thing that Messenger believes the county should approach exclusively – diversity is key – and she said she understands that it’s not the county government’s role to create jobs, but it can be a part of the solution by working with those entities that do.
“I’m just tired of excuses of what we can’t do. I think we should take a different approach and talk about how we can make this better,” she said. “No more excuses.”
If elected, Messenger said she’ll sit down with each county department head to have conversations on the county needs and their visions for the future. Since joining the campaign trail, she has learned much about what’s going on within those departments, as well as other county business such as natural resources, MCHHS and water rights. She said she’ll continue to learn about these issues, and use that knowledge in her new position.
Her past professional and volunteer experience also will pay into her newly elected role, she said.
“My passion and my concern for this county and its citizens is hard to match,” she said. “I am a hard worker and I can’t wait to get started.”