The actions of our current Garfield County commissioners are alarming to residents of all political stripes based on a recent bipartisan poll. From being caught having secret meetings, to hiring national industry supported lobbyists that write local land use policy with our tax dollars, residents are rightfully concerned with the commissioners' too-cozy relationship with the mineral extraction industries.
A neighbor brought over a few nifty flyers touting Mike Samson and John Martin, as protectors of clean air, responsible fiscal management, and champions of West Slope water. I noticed these flyers were paid for by a group called Northwest Colorado Alliance (NCA). NCA is a 501c4 that was formed in June 2012, and funded by corporate industry members and special interests.
Supposedly, the purpose of NCA is to educate the public. Really?
The clean air flyer doesn't provide educational points that the county's better air quality is more likely attributed to a drop in drilling activity since 2008. How many monitors do we really have in Garfield County? Where's the monitor near the flaring gas rigs in Silt?
With regards to good fiscal management, receiving industry royalties and putting funds in reserve doesn't require a lot of managerial skill. Where's the strategic planning, increasing housing values, living wage employment opportunities? Where is the leadership that invests equitably in residents and small businesses instead of promoting one industry?
Highlighting Mr. Samson and Mr. Martin as West Slope water champions, protecting our water from the Front Range and California, was laughable. Based on the commissioners' own voting record for wanting to expand high water consumptive industries from Parachute to Carbondale, it's an absolute guarantee the Front Range and the other states reliant on the Colorado River won't see a drop.
The public education flyers by NCA are void of issues that warrant public engagement and debate to discuss no-regrets policies. But then again, it's not difficult for our current commissioners to take their cues from the mineral extraction industries. Especially when the industry pays good money to market their hired lobbying puppets as leaders for the people.
I support the Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy Measure, Question 1A on this November's ballot. The program has been well thought out after many conversations with Garfield County citizens, public events and research over the past three years.
Having lived in another county in Colorado that created an open space concept years ago, I can attest to the value and quality of life it affords its citizens. After moving back to Garfield County eight years ago, I was saddened by the amount of development occurring on our historic agricultural ranchlands. These are the lands that frame our beautiful county. This measure will help protect those lands by creating a funded, effective and voluntary open lands program.
As one who loves to be on the water, the Colorado River provides one of our best natural assets in western Colorado. Improving access to the river by building better boat ramps and trails can be achieved through this measure.
Can you imagine our I-70 corridor in Garfield County turning into an I-25 corridor? All you need to do is drive it once to understand.
This measure will support our agricultural economy, safeguard our rivers and streams, protect wildlife habitat and protect areas we enjoy for recreation.
Isn't 25 cents for every $100 spent worth this effort?
Please support Question 1A. It's why we live here.
The Post Independent should do a story that explains the importance of John Martin's role both now and next year in the National Association of Counties (NACO). Mr. Martin is currently the first vice president of the Western Interstate Region of NACO and will be the president of this same organization next year.
The Western Interstate Region is affiliated with NACO and is dedicated to the promotion of Western interests within NACO. These interests include public land uses and conservation, community stability and economic development and the promotion of the Western way of life.
Its membership consists of 15 Western states, with membership funded through individual state associations. As president of this organization, Mr. Martin will be in a powerful position to influence a lot of public land policy decisions, whether made by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior, or Western states.
Citizens of Garfield County will benefit greatly by John Martin's retention in office.
A leader is best when people barely know he is there. With his accomplishments they will all say we did this ourselves. This describes Commissioner John Martin.
He saw where the federal government was offsetting federal mineral leasing funds less the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) that they were distributing to counties in Colorado. Mr. Martin looked to Utah counties that had set up Federal Mineral Leasing Districts and receiving 100 percent of their federal mineral leasing and PILT funds. Mr. Martin took the Federal Mineral Leasing District concept to the Colorado state House and Senate and a bill was passed unanimously by both parties and signed by the governor.
As a result, Garfield County now has a Federal Mineral Leasing District with funds available ($3.7 million for 2013) for grants to governments and special districts within Garfield County. This was accomplished by a seasoned county commissioner who understands the relationship between county, state and federal governments, a county commissioner who looks out for the welfare of all of Garfield County.
With his accomplishment we will all say we accomplished this ourselves. Please vote for and re-elect John Martin, a proven and accomplished leader for our county.
As we move closer to the election, I want to call to voters' attention to the importance of the University of Colorado Board of Regents race.
The regents make decisions related to a $3 billion budget, set yearly tuitions, add or eliminate degrees and programs, oversee the four CU campuses, set strategic goals, represent the families and students of their congressional district, and decide on tenure.
As your regent, I will ensure that CU remains affordable and accessible and that its resources and expertise play a larger role in our communities. For instance, CU partners in a pre-collegiate program in the Roaring Fork Valley, supports the Western Colorado Math and Science Center, has jointly established an engineering program at Colorado Mesa University, and is active in supporting hospitals and clinics. I have participated in some of the above projects, and believe with my representation other partnerships are possible.
CU is a leading research university in the nation and is critical to health care. With 66,000 students, CU impacts education and businesses, and attracts new companies, jobs and dollars to the entire state.
The complexity of this position needs someone who knows the intricacy of the state's educational system, government and has a strong business background to help move the university forward in these challenging times. I have the experience, knowledge, education and passion for this position, having 26 years in education as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent in Eagle and Mesa counties, as president of The Gallegos Corp., which employed 1,000 people in five western states, and have served on many boards: Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees president, Western Colorado Community College, Governor's Education Council, and Partners.
In addition, as Tillie Bishop leaves this position, I want to thank him for his many years of public service and his full endorsement of my candidacy.
Editor's note: Glenn Gallegos is the Republican candidate for the Third District seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.