SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN
Eagle and Routt County residents on the individual insurance market pay some of the highest premiums in the nation. The status of Medicaid and Medicaid expansion hangs in the balance federally, and counties still have a number of uninsured individuals, which may increase with federal health care reform. With unstable policies at the federal level, states will need to do what they can to shore up the system, to keep their residents healthy and the economy stable.
Colorado has an opportunity to take advantage of the emerging green economy, while reducing our carbon footprint, and supporting local communities in doing the same. Winter resort areas in particular are vulnerable to average temperature increases, which raises the risk of wildfire, negatively impacts wildlife, and reduces our snowpack. Colorado not only depends on water for recreation, agriculture and its 5.54 million population, but it is also the headwaters for rivers that feed 18 other states. It will take a coordinated effort to increase renewable energy sources and electric vehicle infrastructure, to meet the Governor’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of 26 percent by 2025.
The Colorado Department of Transportation reports a $1billion revenue shortfall annually. In most years, the department does not receive general funds, and the state and federal gas tax has not been raised since the early 1990s. Local communities must contribute more and more matching funds, in order to get their infrastructure needs meet. Colorado’s economy relies on roads that are safe and mobile. With the coming technology of connected and automated vehicles, we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of a modern, safer and more mobile transportation system, but we need sustainable funding to do it.
Cellular service coverage and speedy internet access are must-haves in today’s fast-paced and connected world, but areas of rural Colorado still do not have this basic service. The state must keep promoting technology infrastructure to help these areas attract and retain businesses to stay economically competitive, plus link up municipal governments, schools, community colleges and hospitals, in order to stay viable in the 21st century.
Child Care and Early Education
Access to affordable, quality childcare and early childhood education–like preschool–is challenging in rural resort communities. This is both a workforce issue, because it allows parents to be a part of the employment pool, and a school readiness issue. Part of the problem is a dearth of qualified childcare workers, and an inability to pay them well enough to live in an area with a high cost of living. Child care programs cannot really charge what it truly costs to provide high quality care, and families can’t afford any more than they already pay. Some cannot afford to pay at all, and rely on families, friends and neighbors for care. Affordable care and investing in our youngest residents by offering access to preschool for every child, is vital to local economies, the stability of families, and our children’s future.
In today’s economy, wages have been stagnant for decades, while the housing market is booming. Additionally, short term rentals have taken over a large proportion of formerly available rental stock, especially in resort communities. Communities need a diverse workforce to facilitate a healthy economy, but housing has become unaffordable. Communities thrive when people can work, volunteer and participate in the community where they live. Families thrive when parents are home and not spending their time driving to and from work. There are state- level policies that can target people based on their Area Medium Income to increase rental occupancy and home ownership in communities that are otherwise unaffordable.
Routt and Eagle are headwaters counties in a state with a growing and thirsty population. Connecting land and water planning, along with water conservation, are critical tools for meeting municipal & industrial, agricultural, and recreational/scenic water needs throughout Colorado. Because there is no “new” water to develop and the danger of a Compact Call on the Colorado River would harm the entire state, we must work together to conserve and plan for future needs. The economies of our counties depend on adequate stream flows and water supplies.