Regas Halandras sworn in as new mayor of Meeker
Halandras is a second-generation native of the area and the son of Gus and Christine Halandras of Meeker. He is 48 and engaged to Michelle Morgan, who has two daughters, Abbey, who is 14 years old and in eighth grade, and Katie, 20, who is attending Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
Halandras takes pride in the fact he was born in Meeker at Pioneers Hospital. He was graduated from Meeker High School and earned his bachelor of arts degree in social sciences/liberal arts at the University of Denver.
He is a bit of a jack of many trades, describing his occupations as construction, maintenance and property management. His fiance, Michelle Morgan, and her mother, Melinda Parker, recently remodeled the bar at the Elk Mountain Inn and reopened the full-service bar, called Hops and Grapes, within the past week.
Halandras says he got in town politics eight years ago because several people asked him if he would run because there wasn’t a full slate of candidates. He ran unopposed for the first four-year term and against for the second term.
He was going to drop off the town board this year, but he said he was asked by several people again if he would run for mayor as no one else had turned in a petition for office.
“I wasn’t going to run for mayor a month ago, but here I am mayor of Meeker after eight years on the town board, and I haven’t had to be elected yet,” as all four council seats and the mayor’s position were unopposed,” he said. “I waited until just before the deadline to make certain that no one else would run, and when they didn’t I put in my paperwork.”
Small-town politics is in Halandras’ blood as his father, Gus, was Meeker mayor for one term from 1982 to 1984.
“We have a good town board now, and I am happy to see Scott Creecy bring some new blood to the board,” Halandras said. “We have several projects ahead of us this year along, and with Town Administrator Scott Meszaros with good experience behind him, I look for good things.”
Halandras said he is looking forward to the new hospital project, the extension of utilities out to the hospital and Meeker Terrace for further business expansion and we have the improvements coming along Market Street this summer.
“I would like to see some growth in Meeker,” he said. “We need ways to go and get it and keep it here. Meeker and Rio Blanco County as a whole needs economic stability to get us out and keep us out of being 100 percent energy reliant.
“It seems like it is happening everywhere but here,” he said. “I remember when the state predicted that Meeker would be a town of 15,000 by 2015 and a large town by 2030.”
It is a bit of a “double-edged sword,” he said. “I like the small town that Meeker is — there is no better place to be. But there is a necessity for some growth. I am invested here financially, mentally and otherwise; I love this town for what it doesn’t have as much as what it does have.
“Just think what it would do for the empty houses and apartments if just 25 families would move here,” he said. “We need to make small steps, but we need to make those steps more permanent.”
The Halandras family has a strong local background in the area.
“My grandfather was held off of entering Meeker the first time he approached the town limits because he had a herd of sheep with him, and that wasn’t very welcome,” Halandras said. “When my father was mayor, it was a different place with all kinds of things for the kids to do.
“Maybe we will see some real advances in the next couple of years; that’s all I can ask for,” he said. “Being mayor is going to take away from my income as I am basically self-employed,” he said. “But I am committed to doing a good job as mayor. We’ll see where we are in two years (to decide if he would seek as second term).”