Candidate Q&A: HD57 Republican incumbent Perry Will
For this year’s election, the Post Independent sent House District 57 candidates questions on key challenges facing the district, which consists of Garfield and Pitkin counties. Republican incumbent Perry Will provided the answers below via email. Ballots are being mailed out this week; Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
What do you think could be done to bolster bilingual efforts and offerings throughout Colorado?
In Colorado, we are lucky enough to live in a melting pot of people and cultures that have helped build our state into what it is today. One of the best ways that we can bolster bilingual efforts is through our schools. Having programs in place that help teach ELS (English as a second language) as well as offering foreign language classes can help our future leaders learn important language skills and help our state be more welcoming to all who visit, live, and work here.
Ranching and farming have a symbiotic relationship with water supply. What do you feel needs to be done to sustain both our agricultural industry and water supply?
I understand this relationship and inevitable struggle very personally. At the end of the day, we need to balance the needs of other states’ water challenges as well as that of Denver and the front range with the need to be able to feed people. Especially, during the recent times of food shortages and high grocery prices, and uncertainty, it is very important that we can raise the food we need to feed the state and nation, locally. That will not change so we need to find other ways to cut back on water use elsewhere and the water that we send away to other states so that we can prioritize the needs of our own state first. We need to protect agricultural water use; this buy and dry to promote further development on the front range doesn’t work. We already send over 600,000 acre feet of water to the front range through transmountain diversions yearly, this is not sustainable.
What do you think the legislature should do to increase housing availability for lower and middle-income households in Colorado?
Over the past four years, I’ve worked to bring state and local governments together to address our housing crisis. The future of Colorado and our economic strength is dependent upon remaining a state where people of all income levels can be successful. This will continue to be one of my top priorities as your representative.
We need to address housing prices so Coloradans can afford to live and work here, especially in our district which is reliant on tourism, the service industry and construction. Our workforce needs to be able to live closer to jobs. Two-hour commutes don’t work and even with long commutes housing is still not affordable. The high price of construction permitting, materials and the inability to find a labor continues to worsen the situation for everyone.
One place we can start is by going back to teaching skilled trades in schools to provide graduates with head start should they choose to go the trade school or apprenticeship route to entering the workplace instead of college. By providing our youth with better training and education opportunities, we help improve the pipeline of skilled labor our businesses depend on to be able to improve efficiencies, while providing good paying jobs for our community.
How do you think recently passed oil and gas regulations have benefited or hurt oil and gas-producing counties? What would you do about those as a legislator?
Despite the best intentions of the state and federal government in regulating oil and gas production across Colorado and the west, the effects have not all been beneficial. I believe it is important to find the right balance of legislation that regulates production to ensure we preserve our pristine environment while taking into consideration the impacts to state and local communities.
Legislation like SB-181 and HB 1314 have devastated local economies, especially in rural communities. Regulations have driven down production and had terrible economic impacts to our communities like record high energy costs and reducing tax dollars and funding to our rural schools and badly needed infrastructure projects. Just Transition, for coal communities, has not been adequately funded and is not working.
I believe we can find robust and creative solutions to energy production that prioritizes what we all love about Colorado: our natural environment and our incredible spirit of innovation.
We have the technology to protect our environment while not further damaging our economy, especially during these uncertain times. We can produce the cleanest energy in the world right here and not be dependent on other sources that aren’t produced with the highest environmental and ethical concerns in mind.
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