I well remember the emotion I felt one day shortly after Debbie and I moved to Paonia. I looked down on the farm from our house and watched my two boys running through the fields to Grandma’s house. I knew that we had made the right decision in moving our family home. Back to my home, Delta County, Colorado. I was born and raised in the North Fork Valley on the eastern end of Delta County, as were both of my parents. In 2007, my oldest son graduated from Paonia High School an even one-hundred years after my grandmother graduated in 1907 as the third graduate, ever, of Paonia High School. My Colorado roots run deep. We value our wide-open spaces. We value our wildlife. We value the industries that provide jobs for us and our families: agriculture, energy, tourism, and recreation. I’m an irrigator, I have kayaked and canoed our rivers and streams, and I still ski every once in a while. I’m ready to put my experience to work for you. I am ready to be an advocate for our rural values in a state Capitol dominated by Denver and Boulder. I am ready to stand and fight for us, to fight to have our voice heard over the noise of the Front Range.
The need for good paying jobs remains a major hurdle for the economic growth of the small communities that dot the landscape across Senate District 5. I want to invite light manufacturing to come to west-central Colorado. I will stand up for the small shops, pharmacies, and manufacturers who still make their home in this Distsrict. I will stand up for the men and women who earn their living in agriculture, energy, tourism, and recreation. Agriculture continues to be a top priority. Not only does agriculture mean jobs, it also drives our quality of life. It provides more than $5 billion in economic output every year from our state. We need to push for value added crops, defend new farming concepts, and yes, recognize that Agriculture is Agriculture. Agriculture, energy, tourism, and recreation are all important employers in Senate District 5. And each of them needs a well educated work force to keep going. Making sure we support and fund elementary and high schools In rural Colorado is crucial to employers that want to make Senate District 5 their home. Educating our children must be a priority. My wife, Debbie, is a teacher. I know how hard she works, and I know her passion for teaching kids. Education will be a priority for me in the state Senate.
For over 50 years I’ve been scattering water over the fields to irrigate thirsty crops. I started learning how to handle irrigation when, as an elementary school kid, I had my own garden where I grew vegetables to sell to the neighbors. Irrigation is a practice that is ever evolving as crops and methods improve. I know our government should do the same. I will represent the people and values of Senate District 5. I will seek out common ground and put the people first. I will find common ground on policy as I have all of my life. This is what we do in rural Colorado. We find ways to work together. That’s my promise to you.