Chamber board endorses Republican candidates

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has endorsed a slate of seven candidates in the upcoming election — all of them Republicans.

The chamber board also came out against a ballot measure requiring labels for genetically modified organisms in foods.

In the race for the Mesa County Commission seat in District 2, the chamber board endorsed Scott McInnis in his bid against Democrat Mark Williams.

The chamber board also endorsed Republicans in three statehouse races: Yeulin Willett in House District 54, Dan Thurlow in House District 55 and Ray Scott in Senate District 7.

Willett faces Brad Webb, a Democrat, and James “J.J.” Fletcher, an unaffiliated candidate. Thurlow faces Chris Kennedy, a Democrat. Scott faces Claudette Konola, a Democrat.

In the race for governor, the chamber board endorsed Bob Beauprez in his campaign against John Hickenlooper, the Democratic incumbent.

Cory Gardner, another Republican challenger in a race against a Democratic incumbent, was endorsed in his bid for election to the U.S. Senate. Gardner faces Mark Udall.

In the race in the Third Congressional District, the chamber board endorsed Republican incumbent Scott Tipton over Democratic challenger Abel Tabia.

According to a news release, the chamber endorsement process involves  s committee of chamber members led by a board director that interviews candidates and makes recommendations to the chamber board. Those recommendations in turn are based on five criteria:

The candidate’s business platform compared to other candidates in the race.

The candidate’s positions on the chamber legislative platform and his or her willingness to assume a leadership role on behalf of the chamber.

The candidate’s general platform compared to other candidates in the race.

The “electability” of a candidate based on the support of other business organizations and his or her political party.

The position of the opposition candidate on differing views on issues.

And past voting records when they’re available.

In addition to its candidate endorsements, the chamber board voted to oppose Proposition 105, which would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.

According to the news release, the position was based on concerns the measure would hurt local agricultural and food processing businesses. Chamber staff reached out to winery operators and fruit growers to hear their opinions before bringing the matter before the board.

The chamber board came out earlier in favor of Amendment 68, a measure that which would allow horse racing tracks in Arapahoe, Pueblo and Mesa counties to offer casino-style games, with a portion of proceeds to benefit Colorado schools.

The chamber board added two conditions to its endorsement: If a horse race track is built in Mesa County, the facility must include an events center. Moreover, there must be  enough funds to adequately cover the affects of the facility on the community.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce 2014  voter guide is now available online from the chamber website at

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