Why Im running | PostIndependent.com

Why Im running

I am running for State Senate because we face challenges in Northwest Colorado that demand leadership. I have the courage to bring new ideas forward and the experience – in local and regional government – needed to tackle these challenges realistically.I was born and raised on a ranch 10 miles south of Steamboat Springs. I have spent my entire adult life in Steamboat Springs as an alpine ski coach and running a sports medicine clinic. I’ve been married for 33 years and raised three sons here.I spent eight years on the Steamboat Springs City Council and almost two on the Routt County Planning Commission, and have become a strong advocate for wise water and land use and government that works for families and employers alike.I understand the issues we face throughout the district. I recognize the need to protect our quality of life in the face of unprecedented development pressures. I have grappled with funding challenges presented by rural education. As a small business owner, I am fully aware of the economic issues we face, from worker housing to energy costs to high rents. Below I’ve outlined my stands on issues and, where relevant, my experience tackling them.On energy and the environment: I have a common sense approach that balances energy production and jobs with protecting public health and the environment. I will work to maintain air and water quality, wildlife habitat and the landscape that support agriculture, recreation and the quality of life that residents deserve and our economy depends on.Hunters, fishers and ranchers have been using public lands far longer than energy companies. They deserve representation. My balanced approach is why I have both the Colorado Conservation Voters endorsement and an A rating from the NRA. I support the Governor’s initiative for a New Energy Economy. We can build on our conventional energy sector with new jobs and technology that support sustainable, clean energy alternatives. I will advocate for tax credits and low interest loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to homes and businesses.My direct experience includes the campaign to preserve Emerald Mountain and the Yampa River corridor around Steamboat Springs, lobbying for use of directional drilling techniques to minimize gas development impacts, and calling for ongoing protection of roadless areas.On education: Colorado ranks 49th nationally in funding of public schools. Our children deserve better.I will press to reform the School Finance Act so that along with a solid core curriculum, our public school system can have full-day kindergarten, pre-school and after school programs, smaller classroom sizes, better teacher pay and art, music and dance programming. I also support vocational and collegiate opportunities.Several years ago, I co-chaired a successful Routt County initiative to improve early childhood education within strict budgetary limits. The result was a system that helps those who truly need the help, while offering strong programs to all.On transportation: For District 8, I will work to fund public transportation. I will help ensure that energy companies cover the costs of their impacts on roads. And I will look for transportation funding solutions that are fair to the taxpayers. On severance taxes: Severance taxes from the energy industry should be collected in full and used to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure in affected communities.I vocally supported the effort to keep severance taxes in local communities, and supported efforts to bring Colorado’s tax in line with other energy producing states.On gasoline prices: I called for an investigation last August into price gouging at the gas pumps in Garfield County and the prices started dropping. My opponent called it a cheap campaign trick. But I believe it is about consumer protection. Garfield County residents should not be paying the highest prices in the state. On water: My top priority is to keep Western Slope water on the Western Slope, not in a pipe going to the Front Range. I will protect existing water rights, for agriculture and recreation, and promote in-stream flow programs that keep water in our streams to use as needed. I have worked on gaining protections for the Yampa River, including a Wild & Scenic designation, vigorously fought plans to pump water from Moffat County to Fort Collins, and helped initiate a program monitoring water quality.On health care: All Colorado citizens deserve access to health care. I will work to implement recommendations from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Health Care Commission. Any proposal should cut costs, improve accountability and cover all legal residents. You should be able to see the doctor of your choice. There should be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions and coverage should follow the person not the job.I hope this letter gives you a good idea about how I will represent you in the state Senate. I have the experience, but more important, I will provide the leadership necessary to tackle the tough issues. My ten years in government have been marked by taking action on water, land use, housing and education, not nibbling around the edges. You can expect me to use my experience, enthusiasm and new ideas to solve the many challenges we face in Colorado.I ask for your vote.

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