White, Carwile tangle in 57th
One candidate touted his rural connections.
The other focused on his legislative experience.
Democratic challenger Terry Carwile, of Craig, and Colorado House of Representatives incumbent Al White, R-Winter Park, both made cases to Club 20 members in Grand Junction Saturday as to why they believe they should be elected to House District 57.
Carwile, a heavy equipment operator at a coal mine near Craig, pointed to his avocations of hunting, cycling, river rafting and country dancing.
“I believe we need representation in the rural communities that reflect the people and the economy and the qualities of the district,” he said.
White touted his accomplishments as a sitting lawmaker, including sponsorship of a telemarketing “no-call list” that has become law.
“I don’t need to give promises because I have always given you realities,” he said.
The two are vying for a district that formerly was represented by Gregg Rippy of Glenwood Springs. Redrawn following the 2000 census, it now includes western Garfield County, and Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties.
White and Carwile touched on a range of issues Saturday, including the state’s current budget crisis.
“I think it’s kind of like picking a favorite child. Which one do you want to cut out?” said White.
He said that through his efforts, the state is looking at signing a contract with one of several companies that do revenue maximization services for states. Among other things, they look for federal money that “is falling through the cracks,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of revenue enhancement we can get in this time of revenue shortfall,” said White.
Carwile called the revenue challenge and resulting tax cuts “a vexing problem.”
“Now we’re almost at the point of corrupting the ability of government to do business in an effective way,” he said.
Worse yet, he contended, budget cuts have fallen disproportionately on the rural parts of the state.
At a time of budget cuts, White, who serves on the House Education Committee, said he has fended off attempts to cut funding for small school districts.
“Rural education is constantly under attack by the Front Range and metropolitan legislators,” he said.
Carwile said education should be locally controlled. He added that means must be pursued for getting the young to return to their communities after graduation, or better yet keeping them from leaving.
He said stronger, more diverse economies are needed while maintaining rural lifestyles.
White said he has been a staunch business advocate in the legislature, including for the mountain tourism industry.
“It is a 12-month industry and it needs to be treated as such,” he said.
White cited tourism, extractive industry and agriculture as three key industries in the 57th District that must continue to be maintained.
It’s important to make agriculture profitable, “so that farmers and ranchers can stay on their ground,” he said.
On a related topic, Carwile called for action in response to this year’s drought.
“I think we should start investigating the current holding capacity of reservoirs around the state and compare that to their design capacities,” to see if more storage can occur, he said.
And, he called for more aggressive wildfire planning by local governments, working with property owners.
White said the state legislature should pass a resolution backing President Bush’s plan to thin forests to reduce fire danger. The same move would also enhance the yields from watersheds, he said.
Both Carwile and White argued for partnerships between federal, state and local governments in managing public lands.
“I oppose remote control efforts that don’t take into account the needs and the wishes of the local communities,” said Carwile.
White said the state can’t force the federal government to act on such matters, but can let it know what the state’s best interests are, “because I’m not sure they understand that.”
Asked by Rulison resident and former Garfield County commissioner Arnold Mackley about a continuing dispute between energy companies and property owners over how to divvy up royalties from gas drilling, White said the issue needs to be settled by the legislature. He said he believes the legislature will make that happen.
Said Carwile, “To me, the legislature should be looking out for the people who don’t have the time to monitor these kind of things constantly.”
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