Incumbent wants to finish the job she started four years ago
County Commissioner Trési Houpt is running for her second term of office. Houpt, a Democrat, has been an outspoken watchdog of oil and gas development in the county and has positioned herself as a defender of land owners heavily impacted by drilling in the west end of the county.While sometimes at odds with her more conservative fellow commissioners – John Martin and Larry McCown – Houpt has said their differences of opinion and philosophy have been good for the county. At an issues and answers forum in Glenwood Springs Tuesday night, Houpt said the commissioners work to find solutions to what are often divisive issues.Houpt has also said she wants to be re-elected because her work is not finished. Her experience with local government and her service on state, regional and national issues groups have allowed her to influence opinion and drive policy on a number of levels, she has said.Houpt also believes in thoughtful growth for the county and finding a healthy balance in economic development and environmental protection.Name: Trési HouptOccupation: Garfield County CommissionerAge: 49Family: Husband Jeff, children Sam, 18, and Frank, 14Hometown: DenverParty affiliation: DemocratWhen did you come to Garfield County and from where? 1993, from DenverWhy do you want to be county commissioner? I ran (for the office) four years ago because I felt I had the commitment and passion for Colorado and this area. I have a great deal of experience with different groups … and I am really committed to seeing us move forward responsibly as we grow. The work’s not done.What’s the main issue facing the commissioner’s office? Really, the greatest challenge facing the county is finding a healthy balance between development – whether it’s energy, industrial, commercial or residential – while preserving our unique natural assets. It goes back to the notion that we have a wealth of natural resources in the county and we need to pay attention to them as we plan for growth.Here’s how she stands on the issues:Affordable housing: Housing is turning into a regional dilemma. (The county is in ) a “perfect storm” between the Aspen influence (which has driven up housing prices downvalley) and oil and gas development in the west where home values are increasing.Gravel pits: It hasn’t been a huge issue in the past but with increased demand we could have a strip down the Colorado River corridor and it will impact communities. I’d like to see planned development (where developers would) finish in one area and reclaim it before going on to a new area.Immigration: I think it’s a federal issue. The state laws were slapped together in a short time frame and they need a lot of work. It’s a punitive approach without looking at the core of the problem.Natural gas industry: The energy industry is moving into the county. We have to find a balance between the environment and meeting the demands of growth.Cooperation with municipalities: Historically, counties and municipalities have seen themselves as independent and not worked together. (Impacts to both are increasing). We have a responsibility to work together.
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