Governor talks business in Avon |

Governor talks business in Avon

Lauren Glendenning Vail DailyColorado Governor John Hickenlooper speaks to the local Rotary Club Wednesday evening at the Westin in Avon.

AVON, Colorado – Gov. John Hickenlooper’s father told him when he was little that if he can’t talk his way out of a fight, he deserved to get whipped.

Hickenlooper hasn’t forgotten that lesson, and he’s hoping a lot of talking throughout the state will prevent the economy from continuing to whip Colorado.

About 150 people showed up to hear Hickenlooper speak to the local Rotary Club Wednesday evening at the Westin in Avon. He was there to talk about business in Colorado – that the state needs more of it and needs to build a business-friendly reputation nationwide in order to have a sustainable economy, he said.

Hickenlooper, a successful business entrepreneur himself, is in the process of getting his bottom-up economic plan rolling – a plan in which he has asked the state’s 64 counties to come up with their economic plans that he will then incorporate into a statewide plan.

The state needs more money and needs to grow its economy, and Hickenlooper said there’s one way to do it – by being pro-business.

And while Eagle County develops its economic plan to send off to the governor and waits patiently for some economic progress, local citizens have some other topics on their minds.

They want to know what’s happening with Interstate 70, public education funding, illegal immigration and Western Slope energy development, to name a few.

Greg Moffet, a former Vail town councilman, told Hickenlooper that Eagle County citizens are proud of the contribution the county makes to the state economy. He followed that statement by asking what’s going on with Interstate 70, which is a major link to Eagle County’s resorts.

Hickenlooper has faith in Don Hunt, who he appointed as executive director of the Department of Transportation, to come up with a solution in the next six months that will be implemented within four years that will have measurable traffic reduction.

Confident on transportation, Hickenlooper fielded the next question in which a local Rotarian criticized the state government for even thinking about cutting K-12 education funding.

Hickenlooper said he agrees, that it shouldn’t be an area that gets cut, but the state is faced with making desperate decisions during desperate times.

Hickenlooper thinks the cuts will eventually have positive impacts and relates the cuts back to what he knows best, business.

“Some of the greatest improvements we had in our business were in the two recessions, when we had to fight through drops in sales, and we had to think about doing things in a different way,” Hickenlooper said.

He said by thinking in new ways, Colorado’s public education system could also benefit like his business did during hard times.

Hickenlooper encouraged people at Wednesday’s event to head to the Eagle County Building tonight at 5 p.m. to help the county with its bottom-up economic plan. The more participation and talking that happens, the more successful the statewide plan will be, he said.

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