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Q&A with commission hopeful John Odom

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By Vicky Gits

John Odom

John Odom, 44, is seeking election as county commissioner after being appointed to the job to succeed Kevin McCasky in March 2011. Odom, 43, is a Golden resident and part-owner of Blue Sky Medical of Wheat Ridge, a medical-supply distribution company. He says he will work full-time for the county if elected and that being a county commissioner is a full-time job. Like his opponent, he lives in Applewood.

A Republican, Odom ran for election in state Senate District 20 in 2010 and lost to Cheri Jahn by about 4 percentage points. He is running on his commitment to keeping Jeffco’s “fiscal house in order,” and as a businessman who has spent his life “creating jobs in the private sector.” He believes in small government and an economic comeback led by the private sector, he told the Courier.

Bio

Current residence: Applewood

Years of residence in Jefferson County: Entire life (44 years)

High school:Jefferson High School

College: Metro State University and CU (BA in Chinese)

Graduate degrees: MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management

Current job: Jefferson County commissioner

Past work experience: Businessman, entrepreneur

Married: Yes

Children: 8-year-old son

Did children attend Jeffco schools? Yes

Favorite coffee, tea or sport drink: Coffee

Who is your political role model? Ronald Reagan

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Political party affiliation: Describe your previous experience in elected office, political party leadership positions, campaign activities.

I am a lifelong Republican. I ran for state Senate District 20 in 2010. In March 2011, I was appointed Jefferson County commissioner.

Time commitment:If elected, how much time do you expect to devote to county responsibilities and how much to other work responsibilities?

I have found that being a Jefferson County commissioner is much more than a full-time job. It is an all-consuming position that requires many sacrifices. I have no other work responsibilities.

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VALUES

What one element of county government do you feel needs to be improved, why, and what will you do about it?

The most important responsibility of county commissioners is to keep the county’s fiscal house in order. This board is accomplishing this task.

Name something that distinguishes you from your opponent and makes you a better choice for the job.

My opponent is a career, government bureaucrat. I have spent my life creating jobs in the private sector.

Describe your political philosophy

I am a small-government, fiscal conservative. I believe that the private sector will lead in our country’s economic comeback, not the government.

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ISSUES

Business climate:What needs to be done to improve the business climate and increase job creation in Jefferson County?

The government needs to get out of the way of job creators. The government needs to lower tax rates on job creators.  The government needs to lessen the uncertainty about future laws and regulations so that job creators can make good decisions about future investments.

Apartment buildings. Should there be stricter limits on high-density multifamily apartment buildings on vacant land near existing residential neighborhoods (i.e., Ken Caryl Towne Center development which allowed 380 living units on 14 acres)?

Currently, these rules are very strict. Essentially, you cannot build apartments in unincorporated Jeffco without going to the Board of County Commissioners and paying fees that make the vast majority of these projects unviable.

Impact fees. Do you favor reducing park fees or traffic impact fees in favor of making development more affordable for developers? It has been proposed that fees should be reduced (Quincy Lake development case).

This question is based on a false premise. No one at the county has proposed that these fees be reduced. One developer asked for a waiver, and it was denied.

Church expansion. Should the church on Lookout Mountain have been allowed to grow from 9,000 to 30,000 square feet on 10 acres surrounded by residential lots (Activation Ministries Inc.)?

As county commissioner, I have voted in many different zoning cases, including the church expansion on Lookout Mountain. I stand behind all my votes 100 percent.

Audit committee. Do you favor re-establishing an audit committee composed of volunteers as structured by the charter proposed by the current BCC, and if so why is it needed, and if not, why not? What should be the role of the audit committee?

Casey Tighe’s audit committee was ineffective and wasteful. It was an ad hoc committee that was never official. It was inherently political and never had one significant finding. Tighe’s audit committee cost Jeffco taxpayers over $150,000 annually with no significant results.

Libraries: Are you in favor of increasing the mill levy for public libraries in the upcoming budget year, or should the library make more cutbacks, close libraries or shorten hours?

This question is based on a false premise. We can keep the Jeffco libraries open and operational without increasing taxes. In this economic downturn, many government agencies, including libraries, have had to tighten their belts, as have most families in Jefferson County.

Jefferson Parkway: Are you in favor of building the parkway from Golden to the Northwest Parkway? Do you believe the BEEP legislation is a good way to get the parkway project built?

I am absolutely in favor of the Jefferson Parkway and completion of the beltway. The BEEP bill had some good and bad parts. I would only support a BEEP-type bill if the "eminent domain" language was removed. Of course, there would be no county commissioners voting on such a bill …