Hansen —a candidate thinking out of the box

A few words about Sue Hansen:

Hansen was born into a military family in Oklahoma and they moved a lot. She went to high school in northern Virginia and college in Texas where she studied psychology.

She worked at a number of jobs that utilized her people skills. Sue and her husband, K, who was working for Colorado Ute, moved to Philadelphia so he could get his engineering degree and she, her Masters. They moved permanently to Montrose in 2000.

Hansen consults with businesses and organizations, advising them on how best to communicate, manage and lead. She speaks on topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Change, Working with Different Styles and Leadership Development.

Hansen is a Republican and is running  for Montrose County Commissioner in the primary June 24, against the Mayor of Olathe, Rob Smith.

The Montrose Monitor sat down with Hansen to ask what was important to her in a county commissioner and what she saw as the problems for the County, present and future.

What issue is most important to you? I think that growth is going to be a big issue. And that’s going to go on for the next 10 to 20 years. How do we plan for that? My big issue is let’s not spend more money than we have to. Fiscal conservatism is important to me. Financially, I don’t think we should be spending money that we don’t have to spend and particularly if it doesn’t benefit our community.

Lawyers fees, the water rights issue on the West End—we spent a lot of money in preparation for the possibility of the uranium company coming in. Those kinds of things are silly and we have to be more visionary about those decisions so they don’t come back and bite us.

We’ve got to get a handle on growth. Get a revised plan. How do we preserve the culture that we have here. Whether you like it or  hate it, more people are coming. At what cost do we grow and what do we need to know to plan. We don’t want to be piecing things down the road because we didn’t think about it

Thinking ahead:

Where do we want our community to grow; how to we want it to grow. How are we going to litigate when things go in the wrong areas. What are we going to do about that? We need to establish consistency in the County. We need to establish a growth plan and let’s be in charge of the growth. Let’s have control over growth. Ten years ago we did this community master plan and that’s the one they’re still working on.

We have to grow in a way that’s thoughtful. Even though we love it here and may not want anything to change, we can’t shut the door on our area.

One of the problems that small towns see is the lack of good jobs. If you want your child to stay here and not move away because there are no jobs here, there has to be new businesses.

There’s a number of initiatives going on with the Work Force to train people so that we can get people here interested and trained in different levels of certification. Then when a company comes, we can say “we have 20  platinum trained people in heating and cooling.” Putting all those pieces together, I think the County plays a big role. But how do we bring all those people together? 

This is the way my mind works and this is what I can bring to the county. Generally when you bring all stakeholders together and identify the core issues you find that each person has knowledge about a certain area, and when all parties come together to solve a problem, resources are available—whether it is time, talent or money. We tend to think that money solves all problems, but this is not the case all the time. Of course, you need financial resources to some extent but identifying all the resources that multiple agencies can bring to the table can be an even better, reliable way to solve a problem.  ​This way everyone owns it, not just one entity.

The County can play a role in bringing the right players together. My skills over the years of being a strategic planner and working with boards, helping them come up with ideas that are not necessarily the usual. Out of the box ideas—how do we bring that energy together and solve problems—the root of the problem, not just the symptom.

You can reach Hansen at


About the author

Mavis Bennett

Mavis Bennett

A western Colorado resident for most of her life, Mavis Bennett is the publisher of the Montrose Monitor. She has written for newspapers and magazines more than three decades and founded the popular Monitor Magazine in 2003. This web site is the logical progression for the Monitor.