Meet the Candidates: District 1
October 14, 2016
Tell voters about yourself:
I’ve lived in Boulder County for nearly 20 years and was elected County Commissioner in 2012. Prior to my election, I served for 13 years as executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, a statewide conservation advocacy nonprofit. I have a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a master’s in Resource Policy from the University of Michigan. I live in Boulder with Karl, my partner of 27 years, and our daughter McKenzie.
Q What makes you the best choice?
A My policy experience and commitment to public service. As County Commissioner, I currently chair the County Commission, the Metro Area County Commissioners and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (the 56 cities and counties in the metro area) – leadership posts that illustrate my ability to bring people together to find solutions that work for everyone. I bring to the job 25 years of public policy experience at the federal, state and local levels. This experience has inspired the Boulder County members of our state legislative delegation, nine Boulder County mayors, and numerous community leaders and citizens across the county to endorse me for a second term.
Q Boulder County recently signed on to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit regarding TABOR. Do you support this, and why/why not?
A Yes. TABOR, the 1992 amendment to our state constitution which is considered the most restrictive tax and spending limitation in the entire country, has hamstrung Colorado’s prosperity by thwarting our ability to provide key services to state residents. For instance, Colorado now ranks 48th in the nation for higher education funding, 42nd in public education funding, and 41st in road conditions and cost-effective spending on roads. Boulder County joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of TABOR because it takes away the basic role of elected officials at the state and local levels to control their own budgets.
Q The paving of rural subdivision roads is also an issue, how do you propose to resolve this?
A While the County maintains unincorporated subdivision roads (e.g., snowplowing, pothole repair, etc.), the debate over who is going to pay to repave these roads started back in 1995. The current county commissioners inherited this issue and have tried numerous solutions to resolve it: a Public Improvement District, a Local Improvement District, and negotiating with individual subdivisions. Now, at the request of subdivision residents, we have put Issue 1A on the ballot. It will raise $5.5 million annually for 15 years through a modest countywide increase in property taxes ($6.25 per $100,000 of home value) to reconstruct all subdivision roads and also provide money to municipalities for their transportation projects. We urge voters to support this balanced solution.
Q If elected, what would be your main priority?
A While there are many critical issues facing the County, three of my top priorities are:
1) Affordable Housing: Tackling this crisis requires strategic investment and regional cooperation. The County must develop a collaborative regional housing strategy with our municipalities, work with nonprofit partners to expand our housing programs (e.g., rental assistance and financial counseling), and continue to identify appropriate sites where we can construct affordable housing projects that fit with surrounding neighborhoods.
2) Transportation: In addition to maintaining our road network, we must expand transit, bicycle and pedestrian options to create an efficient, affordable multi-modal system that improves mobility and reduces congestion and pollution. This includes pursuing bus rapid transit on key arterials like Highways 119, 7 and 287, and ensuring the Northwest Corridor isn’t shortchanged what we’re due from FasTracks.
3) Climate change: Scientists predict a changing climate will bring to Boulder County more frequent and intense droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and extreme weather events like the 2013 floods. To combat this threat, we must accelerate our transition to a clean energy future based on renewables, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and adapt to be more resilient in the face of these anticipated changes.