Education and Outreach / Voters Guide to Water Issues / CO House of Representatives Race

CO House of Representatives - Candidate Responses

DYLAN ROBERTS, DEMOCRAT
CO House of Representatives - District 26 Candidate


1. Colorado State Water Plan and Basin Implementation Plans have increased awareness and questions about Colorado’s long-range water supply. What proactive approaches are you considering to ensure the future of clean, safe water supply in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/or your area of influence?
 

As a State Representative for the Roaring Fork Valley (and all of Eagle and Routt Counties), one of my top priorities has been and will continue to be advocating for funding the Colorado Water Plan. I was proud to co-sponsor both the 2019-2020 state budget which added $10 million more to the Colorado Water Plan and the bill that resulted in the passage of Proposition DD which has now created the first-ever permanent source of funding for Colorado water infrastructure and projects.

Further, I look forward to continuing my service on the Water Resources Review Committee at the Capitol where we are engaging in a multi-year process of reviewing potential legislation that will help Colorado meet its water demands in the years to come. We have already passed bills that crack down on water speculation on the Western Slope, protect water from hard-rock mining spills, and incentivize water planning by municipalities on the Front Range in an effort to alleviate the demand of our Western Slope water, to name a few. 

 

2. Water, recreation and agriculture have shown to be integral parts of the economy and values of Coloradans. How will you address the sustainability of these three integral elements of western Colorado’s character in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/ or your area of influence? 

Water, recreation, and agriculture are absolutely the lifeblood of our economy and heritage as Western Coloradans and I plan to continue to be a champion for those three issues at the Capitol. I serve as the Chair of the Rural Affairs and Agriculture Committee which is the committee through which all water and agriculture legislation comes. In addition, I have been a leader on several pieces of legislation that specifically help our rural recreation economy, protect our water resources, and promote agriculture.

For example, I worked across the aisle with my Roaring Fork Valley colleague, Rep. Perry Will, to pass an expansion of the Colorado instream flow program which allows more water to stay in our rivers during dry summers for the benefit of outdoor recreation, stream health, and downstream agriculture. I also passed legislation to strengthen the Rural Jump-Start Small Business program which helps small businesses, including recreation companies, open their doors and hire employees right here in rural Colorado.

In the coming year, I will introduce legislation to remove regulations so that ranchers can sell their beef to local vendors and to incentivize exciting agriculture projects using hydroponic irrigation. In addition, I look forward to continuing our ongoing work of funding the Colorado Water Plan and combating climate change so that our state’s water, recreation, and agricultural future is secure. I will continue to work with my colleagues of both parties for the benefit of Western Colorado and will always prioritize water, recreation, and agriculture. 

 

 

KIM MCGAHEY, REPUBLICAN
CO House of Representatives - District 61 Candidate


1. Colorado State Water Plan and Basin Implementation Plans have increased awareness and questions about Colorado’s long-range water supply. What proactive approaches are you considering to ensure the future of clean, safe water supply in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/or your area of influence?
 

2. Water, recreation and agriculture have shown to be integral parts of the economy and values of Coloradans. How will you address the sustainability of these three integral elements of western Colorado’s character in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/ or your area of influence? 

 I will use my votes to keep as much water in Colorado and away from downstream users as possible. My first priority is always Western Slope   ranchers, miners, recreation users, towns and local businesses like ski areas and Main Street employers. Water is our most precious and most scarce resource and needs to be well preserved and maintained by the State Legislature.

 

 

JULIE MCCLUSKIE, DEMOCRAT
CO House of Representatives - District 61 Candidate


1. Colorado State Water Plan and Basin Implementation Plans have increased awareness and questions about Colorado’s long-range water supply. What proactive approaches are you considering to ensure the future of clean, safe water supply in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/or your area of influence?
 

It is critical that in the midst of the pandemic and our response to the economic crisis, that we remember the environmental challenges facing Colorado - including climate change and its threats to our water supply.  Implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan must continue to be a priority during this difficult time.  As a JBC member, I was deeply disappointed that we were unable to fulfill our commitment to appropriating another $10 Million to the water plan. On the other hand, we did preserve the CWCB construction fund and I am pleased to see many of Colorado’s water projects moving forward with funding from this source. While we work on sometimes controversial demand management policies, and drought contingency plans with neighboring states, we must also look to our growing urban and suburban communities. We must be mindful of the strain and drain on water supplies we fiercely protect on the Western Slope for the purposes of new community development.  Additionally, wildfire mitigation is key to protecting our water quality and storage, and I am proud of my work on the Wildfire Matters interim committee to secure funding for the Wildfire Mitigation Grant Program.  

Safe and clean water is significant in maintaining our waterways, wildlife and agriculture economy. As importantly, we must protect our drinking water sources from pollutants and contamination. Coming from a District that encompasses the headwaters of our most magnificent rivers, we must adhere to protecting these water resources by enforcing appropriate regulatory commitments, particularly around the mining industry.

 

2. Water, recreation and agriculture have shown to be integral parts of the economy and values of Coloradans. How will you address the sustainability of these three integral elements of western Colorado’s character in the Roaring Fork Watershed and/ or your area of influence? 

 Coloradans treasure their rich agricultural heritage and traditions and embrace year-round outdoor recreation activities, particularly skiing up here in the high country.  Balancing these sometimes-competing interests can be challenging, but essential if we are to protect our Colorado way of life, especially in rural communities. These sectors are important to bringing jobs to the Roaring Fork Valley, including a $62 billion outdoor tourism industry and a nearly $9 billion agriculture industry. Western Slope legislators have worked across party lines to advocate for the Colorado Tourism Office, Rural Economic Development and Jumpstart programs, while fighting just as vigorously for protecting Colorado's Parks and Wildlife. In 2018, the legislature passed The Future Generations Act, which invests in Colorado’s environment and infrastructure, including vital dam maintenance, that residents and visitors rely on. But protecting Colorado also means ensuring that we have an effective enforcement system that provides affordable access to the great outdoors while deterring unlawful behaviors. 


One of my first bills in the legislature enhanced the management of parks and wildlife by increasing fines for violations of laws enforced by CO Parks & Wildlife. I am a fan of sustainable tourism/outdoor recreation campaigns and education programs.  I was pleased to see the Colorado Tourism Office’s efforts on this front and strongly support their “Leave No Trace - Care for Colorado Principles”. I am committed to collaborating with community members, my colleagues, and stakeholders from all sectors of our economy, along with the advocates for our environment in addressing these interests.

 

 

 

After several attempts to contact candidates via email and Facebook over a two week period, we did not receive comments from the following candidates for Colorado House of Representatives:  Colin Wilhelm (District 57), Perry Will (District 57)

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