RICK ON THE ISSUES
Here are the issues I'm hearing from you on problems we've got to solve,
things that will make a difference for GJ families,
and a few of my own thoughts on the kind of leadership
I'd like to see in Colorado.
Colorado crime rates are unacceptable. Grand Junction crime rates rose 20% from 2019 to 2020, with violent crime up 36%. The State of Colorado needs to be a better partner with our towns, cities, and local public safety services to deliver the security our families deserve.
Recruiting and retaining dedicated police officers is now a major challenge for local departments and I'm running to bring a decade of experience working with law enforcement and our community on public safety solutions.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
We are facing aging infrastructure on state highways and roads. I-70 is deteriorating alongside state highways throughout our region. We do not have to look very far on this subject: North Avenue is a great example. New infrastructure is needed to support the growth of our region and lower business costs. As an example, our community has been discussing the 29 Road interchange on I-70 for years. It is time the Western Slope got our fair share of the infrastructure pie.
EDUCATION & JOBS
Higher education continues to be underfunded, forcing state institutions to continually raise tuition rates. As a result, higher education, from college to trade schools, is not affordable for many of our families today. Youth who do attend are left with large debts upon graduation. If we are to attract businesses with higher paying jobs, we need a well-educated work force to grow our economy. When is this going to be a priority of the state?
The strain of life today, coupled with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, have pushed many adults and young people to breaking points. I've been active member of our local mental health community and have seen how poorly equipped municipalities are for resources. Gaps in resources and services create further strain on public safety and contribute to the growth in homelessness.
Water is the lifeblood of our Western Slope life and economy. Grand Junction voters deserve a representative experienced on water issues - one who's ready to defend our rights on day one.
As our region grows, housing costs are demanding bigger and bigger shares of family budgets. In many cases, seniors, working people, and young people are finding themselves priced out of the market. Untangling the morass of regulations and figuring out smart incentives for private and public sector solutions will be a major task for our next representative. As a longtime City Council member, I bring years of experience working on these issues.