Phil Castle, The Business Times
Brittany Dixon loves nothing more than bringing people to the table to discuss issues affecting Western Colorado.
And she’s got a table. A figurative one in the coalition she oversees as the new executive director, but also literal ones at the events Club 20 hosts across the region. “There’s space for everyone at the table,” she says.
As a nonpartisan group, Club 20 is comprised of a variety of members and considers all sides of an issue before settling on a position, Dixon says. That’s important for an organization that strives to serve as a voice for the Western Slope. “I would argue that we’re stronger because of it.”
Dixon was recently hired to lead Club 20, a Grand Junction-based coalition of businesses, individuals, governments and tribes in the region.
Dixon served as interim director for three months and before that policy and outreach director for nearly three years. She succeeds Christian Reece, who resigned to join the University of Colorado as outreach and engagement regional program manager for Western Colorado.
“As interim director, Brittany has proven to be a leader and influencer with a special talent for public policy and advocacy,” says Brad McCloud, chairman of the Club 20 board of directors. “Alongside the passion that she has for Club 20 and its members, she brings a unique perspective that will elevate and strengthen our ability to promote the region.”
Dixon says she’s pleased with her selection. “I have a lot of passion for this organization.”
Dixon says she’ll oversee day-to-day operations, including membership activities and public affairs. But in a larger sense, she says her role involves representing members as an advocate for their interests and those of the region in promoting economically healthy communities. “It really is magic what we can do in Club 20.”
There’s no shortage of issues affecting the West Slope, Dixon says, including the reintroduction of wolves, tax measures and an ongoing battle between state and local controls. That’s not to mention water use in the midst of what’s been a long-term drought.
One issue frequently has everything to do with other issues, she says. “Everything we talk about comes together.”
Dixon says she hopes to continue to increase the ranks of the nearly 500 members who belong to Club 20 and involve younger generations in the organization.
In many respects, Dixon says her position constitutes a dream job for someone who discovered in college an interest in politics, public policies and advocacy.
Dixon grew up in Fargo, N.D. She says she was active in a variety of high school activities, including sports, drama and clubs.
She says she decided to attend Colorado Mesa University in part to compete in diving and in part to enjoy the mostly sunny climate in the Grand Valley. She also liked what she says was a culture in which students can have conversations with their professors.
She says she initially studied biology and Spanish, but discovered her interest in politics and public policy. “I realized that was my true passion.”
She changed majors and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and government with a minor in business administration. She served in student government at CMU, two years a senator. She also served as director of external affairs, promoting student engagement.
She joined Club 20 shortly after graduating in 2020 to work as policy and outreach director. She says she handled a range of duties, from arranging sponsorships to assisting the various committees of the organization.
As executive director, Dixon says she works as a collaborator and convener in fulfilling a mission of providing advocacy, education and support to members to promote economically healthy communities.
Club 20 develops policies on key issues through a process involving standing member committees on agriculture, business affairs, education and workforce development, energy, health care, public lands and natural resources, telecommunications, tourism and outdoor recreation, transportation and water. The 10 committees recommend policies to a board of directors, which in turns votes on positions.
As a nonpartisan organization, Club 20 considers all sides of an issue with respect for differing opinions, Dixon says.
There are many issues to consider, she says.
Club 20 recently called on Colorado Gov. Polis to sign into a law a state measure that would have delayed reintroduction of gray wolves in Colorado until the U.S. Department of Interior issues a final determination on a ruling that would have provided more flexibility in managing wolves. Polis vetoed the measure.
Another state measure would have implemented what Polis and some state lawmakers hailed as a more comprehensive approach to promote affordable housing, but faced opposition for the prospect of usurping local controls. That measure failed in the latest legislative session. Dixon says a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in unique Western Colorado communities.
Dixon expects Club 20 to also take a position on a proposed ballot measure aimed at reducing property tax rates while also allowing the state to keep and spend revenues above the Taxpayer’s Bill or Rights constitutional cap.
The use of water in Colorado as well as other Colorado River basin states remains another important issue in the midst of a long-term drought, she says.
Dixon says she’s eager to involve younger generations of members in Club 20 and its efforts
But for now, Dixon says the table awaits for people who want to discuss issues affecting Western Colorado.