In seismic shift for the local GOP, Tim Foster endorses Janet Rowland’s opponent, J.J. Fletcher, for county commissioner

Endorsement posted on the “JJ Fletcher for Mesa County Commissioner” campaign website

In what amounts to a subtle but seismic shift in local politics, former Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster publicly endorsed Janet Rowland’s opponent, J.J. Fletcher, for Mesa County commissioner, formally ending his years-long support for Rowland.

Foster created the “Center for Local Government” at CMU to give Janet a salary after she was term-limited out in 2012. Foster had a long history of using CMU to create high-paying jobs for his Republican friends who either lost elections, were term-limited out of office or simply had no other place to go.

Foster had been a longtime friend and supporter of Janet’s, but that seems to be over.

After Janet was term-limited out as county commissioner in 2012 after holding the seat the first time for eight years, Foster created an entity at CMU called the “Center for Local Government” and installed Janet as it’s “research director,” cobbling together enough funds from grants, scholarships and user fees to give Janet a decent salary and a soft landing while she transitioned off the public dole and figured out her next move.

When Rowland wanted to get back on the Board of County Commissioners in 2020, she posted an ad saying Foste endorsed her in his capacity as President of CMU, but using his title as CMU president jeopardized Foster because it violated the Hatch Act, and Fair Campaign Practices Act — laws that prohibit state, local and federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity while on duty. Janet had apparently posted the ad this way without getting clearance from Foster.

The ad Janet Rowland posted on her 2020 campaign Facebook page that included Foster’s title as CMU president, violating the Hatch Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

After this violation was brought to attention, Janet revised the ad to remove Foster’s title, but kept the ad on her campaign page.

The incident seemed kick off an era of rancor between Rowland and Foster.

In late August of 2020, about 6 months into the Covid-19 national public health emergency, Rowland started posting messages on her campaign Facebook page encouraging people to disobey public health orders to wear masks, as well as posting misinformation on her Facebook page encouraging her supporters to doubt the seriousness of the pandemic. This was at odds with what Foster and CMU were urging students and staff to do at the time. The University had been spending vast amounts of money to educate students and staff about the pandemic, enforce masking and implement a vast testing program for the virus in an effort to safely re-open the school to in-person learning.

Rowland’s public pronouncements contradicted both accepted science and CMU policies.

It soon became obvious that Foster’s endorsement of Rowland flew in the face of accepted science as well as University efforts to control the virus on campus, and it became an embarrassment.

People started pressuring Foster to pull his endorsement of Rowland for commissioner, especially since CMU has undergraduate and graduate nursing programs and a physician’s assistant program, all grounded in science, while Rowland was increasingly posting poorly-sourced and conspiratorial disinformation and anti-public health urgings on her campaign Facebook page that threatened public health and County residents.

Soon even the edited version of the ad touting Foster’s endorsement of Rowland disappeared entirely from Rowland’s campaign Facebook page, making it clear Foster had quietly pulled his endorsement of her in the 2020 commissioner race.

More recently, in 2023, we saw Foster condemn “Commissioner Rowland’s seemingly all-consuming personal war against Dr. [Jeff] Kuhr,” director of the Mesa County Health Department, and wrote that her actions as a member of the Public Health Board “reeked of taint and bias” against Dr. Kuhr.

Janet Rowland, from her campaign video titled “Transparency.” Rowland says, “I believe transparency in government is absolutely critical…I believe that you, the taxpayer, should know what your government is up to, and how they’re spending your money.” Rowland coerced the new Board of Health into signing an agreement that violated state law.

Flash forward to 2024, and Foster is no longer endorsing Janet in any way,

…and instead is openly supporting her opponent, J.J. Fletcher, for her commissioner seat.

Foster apparently now sees Janet for what she really is, and for what many of us who have watched her closely over the years have seen: an unethical, grandstanding politician who regularly violates laws, policies and ethics whenever it suits her means, who uses her elected office to promote her own personal ideologies, who freely spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to exact petty personal vendettas, who seeks to appoint her friends to high-paying government positions, and worse.

If Foster has finally been able to see Janet for what she really is, then more County residents must be seeing it as well. A slew of well-known county residents made it clear they saw it last summer at a June 5 meeting of the Board of Public Health, when former Mesa County Commissioner Kathy Hall, Doug and Jamee Simons, owners of Enstroms Candies, former G.J. Chamber of Commerce Director Diane Schwenke, the owners of Crossroads to Health and Fitness, the Winery and other businesses all stood up and joined Foster in publicly condemning Rowland over her unhinged effort push Kuhr out as head of the public health department.

Support for Janet does appear to be softening among Mesa County Republicans broadly, too. While she easily got enough votes at the 2024 Republican Assembly to get her name the June 25 primary ballot, she got 17% fewer votes than she did at the 2020 Republican Assembly.

That’s a big falling out among her supporters.

Foster openly endorsing Janet’s opponent signals a real shift in local politics, one that might mean Mesa County voters can’t stomach four more years of Janet. Maybe, if that’s the case, enough local residents will vote for her opponent, JJ Fletcher, in the primary, which would be the fastest and easiest way to push her out and get some fresh blood on the Board of Mesa County Commissioners.

  5 comments for “In seismic shift for the local GOP, Tim Foster endorses Janet Rowland’s opponent, J.J. Fletcher, for county commissioner

  1. I have and will continue to believe that this is a two pronged endeavor! (A) The voters must cast their ballots in favor of her opponent (s)! (B) Pressure must come to bear on our legislators’ to repeal the CRS that allows any individual to re-run for a third and or fourth term in any political office after they have reached the end of their second term!

  2. Tim Foster is no more qualified to serve as a president of CMU, let alone a clown college, than Janet Rowland is to hold any public office whatsoever. So to me, changing his laughable endorsing from old one pile of crap to fresher another, certainly doesn’t change the stink nor his past nauseating collabs with her.

    JJ “All Hat” Fletcher has been running for public office for over 10 years now, first as an Unaffiliated candidate who proclaimed “You can vote along party lines or you can vote for the best man for the job” ( But it seems now as shrewd salesman, he senses opportunity and well knows the value of a rebrand…this time as a credentialed conservative Repugnican. Classic GOP CC candidate choices: giant douche or turd sandwich.

  3. SO…do I actually vote in the dem primary, or do I back up to the ballot box whilst holding my nose and cast a vote in another gop primary to dump Bobo-Bot JR? Decisions, decisions.

  4. A refreshing article/update.
    And since she still has an allegiance to Bobert together, they can hold prayer circles for their respective, upcoming elections.

Leave a Reply

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