web analytics

Commissioner Janet Rowland takes credit for the contributions of fired Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr

A post on Janet Rowland’s “VoteJanetRowland” Facebook page promoting the child care center at the county’s new Clifton Campus community building. Jeff Kuhr was key to making the child care center in Clifton possible, but Rowland never mentioned his contributions. (Janet is the blonde in the hard had in the photos.)

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland wasted no time in taking credit for the contributions towards improving childcare in Mesa County made by former Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr, whom Rowland recently pushed out through an expensive and vicious months-long campaign over a personnel disagreement.

On July 29, Rowland showed off the new Clifton Community Campus at 3270 D 1/2 Road to Governor Jared Polis, crowing that it was “designed to be a community hub featuring an early childhood education center…” without ever mentioning that Public Health Director Kuhr was the one who initiated the big push to expand child care in the county (pdf) and helped the County get funding to make the childcare center possible.

Childcare has long been a big concern of Kuhr’s.

In 2018 Kuhr initiated Mesa County’s Child Care 8000 Project (pdf), with the goal of creating 8,000 more quality childcare slots in Mesa County. The ambitious project was well underway when Rowland started working to push him out of his job.

Kuhr was Director of Mesa County Public Health for 12 years. In June of 2020, he was honored by the Grand Junction Rotary Club, which gave him their Service Above Self Award for working tirelessly to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on the community. In June, 2021, Kuhr was given the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year Award” for being “much, much more than a public health director” during the pandemic.

According to a June 15, 2021 article about the award by KKCO reporter Taylor Burke,

“When Kuhr took over the reins of Mesa County Public Health, he restructured and streamlined the organization to better address the emerging health demands of our local communities. When the pandemic arrived in early 2020, he leveraged his partnerships and existing community assets to begin fighting what he viewed as not one but two crises, the health crisis, and the economic crisis.”

During the pandemic, Kuhr started the Five Star Program, an innovative and creative program that won recognition state-wide and helped hundreds of local businesses stay open during Covid.

Janet Rowland’s “VoteJanetRowland” Facebook post promoting the Clifton Campus’s new childcare center, an achievement made possible in large part by Jeff Kuhr, but Rowland never mentioned his contributions. Janet is the blonde in the hard hat in the photos above.

Kuhr took a wholistic view of public health that encompassed more than just preventing disease. His understood that improving the local economy and local amenities was the way to improve overall public health, so he broadened his agency’s efforts to include providing access to healthy outdoor amenities like walking, hiking and biking trails, higher wages for workers to help people afford better homes and buy better quality food for their families, and an improved local economy that would provide better jobs and more financial security for County residents.

Rowland either didn’t understand or didn’t agree with Kuhr’s wholistic approach to public health, though. In railing against Kuhr, she decried his agency’s donations to local nonprofit groups whose missions are improving items like those mentioned above. Rowland charged Kuhr with keeping a “slush fund” to make donations she considered inappropriate. In one example, she decried a $20,000 donation Kuhr gave the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), saying the grant had “no deliverables.”

GJEP’s mission is bringing more and higher paying jobs to town. GJEP estimates that every dollar donated to them in 2022 generated $20 worth of economic impact. By that calculation, Kuhr’s $20,000 donation to GJEP would have generated $400,000 worth of economic impact for the community.

Jeff Kuhr in 2017, laying the groundwork to benefit childcare in Mesa County


  8 comments for “Commissioner Janet Rowland takes credit for the contributions of fired Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr

  1. I would expect nothing less from her! Thank you Dr. Kuhr for getting the funding for this desperately needed resource in Clifton and helping to expand childcare options for the hard working parents of the lower income part of the valley, where many people I know have to work 2 jobs to provide for their families. Dr. Kuhr’s philosophy on what makes a healthy community is what has made him the incredible leader he has been in Mesa County for so many years. He is a forward thinker who understands that if you spend $10, and have a return of $50, that creates momentum to move our community out of the backwards thinking ways this community has been stuck in since Black Sunday. If you don’t know what Black Sunday is, you need to look it up and understand the devastation that the fossil fuels industry created in our community. We have been trying to dig our way out of that debacle since it occurred. Many of us had to rent our homes out and move away to get jobs so we did not lose everything we had worked so hard for. Dr. Kuhr dedicated his life to our community, and he deserves credit for the things he did to try and dig us out of that hole created over 40 years ago. Thanks Jeff!

  2. It’s also of note that without Rox White, this wouldn’t have been possible.

    For those who don’t know, Rox was the hired consultant for Child Care 8000. She ran Nurse Family Partnership at the national level and was Hickenlopper’s chief of staff as mayor and governor.

  3. Of course she did. Janet has an over-bloated head. I do believe in karma. It will always get you at some point.

  4. Unprofessional
    Lacking in leadership
    Doubious integrity
    Continues to disappoint and in general,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *