White, Robinson vie for District 57
Incumbent candidate Al White, R-Winter Park, of the District 57 House of Representatives wants the opportunity to keep on working as an “effective legislator.”His challenger, Sam Robinson, D-Parachute/ Battlement Mesa, wants the opportunity to focus on oil and gas issues as well as health care and water at the state level.Both men participated in a candidate forum Thursday night at Rifle City Hall sponsored by the Citizen Telegram and the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce.White, 54, has served in the House of Representatives for the past four years and owned and operated a ski lodge and ski rental business from 1976 to 2000.”After 25 years of being in business, I found the legislative process to be a huge learning curve and different than anything I’ve done in my life,” White said. “I feel that I advocate things that are important to western Colorado. One of the toughest things about the job is to figure out who does what, when and where and who to call. It takes two to three years to learn it. The fact that I’ve been doing it for four years gives me a head start.”White believes it is that very experience which qualifies him to be re-elected.”This has been a good opportunity for me to develop the skills to be an effective legislator, which I think I have been,” White said. “If re-elected, I will seek to become the house majority leader and bring issues of critical importance to western Colorado.”White said he has been involved in passing bills regarding tourism, the no-call list registry bill and has been an advocate for rural education and served on the water resources review committee.Robinson, 75, is retired as an engineer in the nuclear and industrial fields. He has lived in Battlement Mesa for 11 years and in Colorado for the past 15 years. He is a veteran of the Korean War, Army Corps of Engineers and a member of the VFW. He is also involved in local community affairs, does volunteer work and is an active member in the Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance – a local citizen’s watchdog group which focuses on oil and gas issues in Garfield County.”I want to do something about the gas drilling,” Robinson said. “It’s something I’ve been involved with for seven years and there is a basic flaw in the whole system. The makeup of the (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) has just been running rampant. I don’t think they should be overruling people’s rights for out-of-state contractors.”Robinson is also passionate about health care, which he now feels is one of the most important issues.”Why can’t the wealthiest nation on earth provide adequate health care?” he asked.On the issue of oil and gas, White says he feels the best solution locally is for the oil and gas industry to work with the Garfield County Commissioners. “We need to bring the oil and gas companies to the table because not all oil companies are bad guys,” White said.Robinson believes Colorado water should remain in Colorado.”Water should not be shipped over the Continental Divide,” he said. “It’s against nature. Western Slope water should stay on the Western Slope. I don’t know all the answers to these problems, but I’m willing to work with the constituents to find the answers.”White says water laws begin at the state level.”Water laws have to be statewide,” White said. “There’s not enough (water) to go around, and it’s going to take some cooperation in the future. I’d like to see the water we give to California stay in Colorado.”In closing statements, Robinson said he would like to serve at the state level to help make a change in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.”We’ve tried everything possible to make a change in how the COGCC makes its decisions and functions, and we haven’t made a lot of progress. I think if we bring it to the (legislative level), it would do it.”White reiterated that his experience is an important reason to re-elect him.”As an effective legislator, I think it would not be the best decision not to re-elect me.”House District 57 encompasses western Garfield County, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties.House District 57 encompasses western Garfield County, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties.
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