Keeping an open mind while learning about issues
Rep. Bob Rankin
During the summer I’ve been on a commission whose mission is to “oversee” the implementation of House Bill 1303. This is the new law to “strengthen the participation of individuals in the election process.” The commission’s focus was on getting ready for the November 2013 election. However, two counties, El Paso and Pueblo, now have to conduct recall elections on Sept. 10. What originally was a seriously challenging timeline is now dramatically compressed. I’m impressed with both the clerk’s association and the Secretary of State’s office as they struggle with technical problems, process design, rulemaking and training readiness. The clerks in the counties I represent are helping me immensely.
The Thompson Divide controversy remains one of the most important issues in this part of the state. I recently toured the area and saw some of the potential drilling sites and the threatened access up Four Mile Road. As a state legislator I don’t have a role in the decision, but I certainly have an interest since I live and play here. I’ll be sponsoring a bill for more state support to local groups battling public land decisions next year. Public interest in the use of public lands is on the rise across Colorado and long overdue.
Congressman Tipton’s bill on hydroelectric energy production is on its way to the president for signature. It will make new small-scale hydro projects much easier to get permitted and built. That’s good news for western Colorado. I hope to get hydro included in the recently enacted state renewable energy mandate to ease the burden on rural electric rates.
The debate on ballot Initiative 22 (a $1.1 billion tax increase to fund a new K-12 financing formula) is heating up. The initiative will fund SB-213 if it passes. Although the bill has some good elements in it, increasing funding transparency and accountability, I question whether it’s real reform or just spending more money in hopes of better results. I also question the fairness of the new formula to rural school districts. Talk to your favorite teacher, but also do some research on the reform side. There are successful models of reform emerging in other states. Maybe it’s time for fundamental change from the part-time, agrarian model to more seat time and a rewarding career path for teachers.
Joyce and I attended some of the recent Club 20 subcommittee summer sessions. Thanks to Club 20 for developing bipartisan, Western Slope advocacy on a wide variety of subjects. Together with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, The Farm Bureau, the Colorado River Water District, local chambers, a variety of local business groups and local government, they provide your rural state legislators with accurate, timely and invaluable information. I encourage everyone to get involved in your associations and follow both local and state government issues. Having not done so myself for many years, I’m now rewarded every day by learning about new issues and interacting with fascinating people who have a very wide variety of opinions. It’s easy to miss that when we focus on our own set of friends or business associates.
“Under the Dome” appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his first term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Thursday, April 22 marks the 51st Annual Earth Day or El día de la Tierra. This year, I am celebrating the renewed sense of urgency around environmental justice I see from community members, elected officials…