Matt Solomon, the Republican candidate for Senate District 8, promised a boring discussion before the start of Thursday night’s debate hosted by Moving Mountains Eagle County, but he managed to keep it lively while squaring off against Democrat Dylan Roberts.

The event took place inside the Eagle County building in Eagle, a fitting venue as both candidates for the sprawling 10-county district live in Eagle County.

Roberts, from Avon, is currently the elected representative for House District 26, and Solomon, a Republican from Eagle, is a former town board member. Both men are seeking a four-year term in Colorado Senate District 8, which was redrawn in 2021 to include Eagle County. The newly redrawn senate map takes effect in January 2023.

The district itself was among the topics of discussion; Roberts described it as a district that’s “at a tipping point” when it comes to issues related to housing and climate change, and Solomon said as the third-largest district in the state, “we have almost every source of revenue and every industry available in the state of Colorado within this one district, which means there’s a lot to balance, there’s a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot of concerns, and there’s a lot of good people that need and want to be represented.”

On housing, Roberts touted legislation recently passed to provide one-time funds to help local governments and nonprofits build more attainable housing.

“We made amendments to prioritize teachers, police officers, nurses and our tourism work force,” Roberts said. “We also put an amendment into that bill that says at least 50 percent of the $178 million dollars has to come to rural and resort communities.”

Solomon said the effort doesn’t go far enough, describing the bill as “a band aid on an arterial wound.”

“One-time funding, one-time growth is one time, it’s singular,” Solomon said. “We need to look longterm for economically sustainable solutions.”

On the environment, Solomon referenced former United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in illustrating his views on the situation.

“As General Mattis says, we should spend 95 percent of our time identifying what the problem is, and then we can spend 5 percent working on the solution,” Solomon said. “We haven’t spent the 95 percent of the time addressing how to address it yet.”

Roberts said when it comes to climate change, the problem is clear.

“Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life here in the Colorado mountains and it’s an existential threat to our economy,” he said. “We do need to take action at the state level, more action, to combat the impacts of climate change and to protect our communities from those threats.”

The candidates discussed a wide range of other issues in the hour-long event, touching on topics like economic vitality, firearm legislation, fiscal responsibility, transportation, abortion, private sector experience and education.

Roberts touted his experience in the legislature, calling himself “one of the most bipartisan legislators at the Capitol” while Solomon criticized the size of the government in Colorado, saying the growth of the state budget troubles him.

“That’s going to be a common theme tonight,” Solomon said. “This is going to be one of the most boring debates that you will watch.”

Questions from the audience were also allowed; one person in attendance brought up criticisms of SB 21-260, a transportation bill that passed the state legislature in 2021, saying the bill created a new retail delivery fee that “puts an additional compliance burden on retailers and increases costs for consumers at a time when both are suffering from inflation, supply chain issues and high fuel costs.”

Solomon said he agreed with the opinions expressed in the question.

“The cost of doing business is rising, and that cost of doing business, whether it’s a recycling fee on a manufacturer, or a delivery fee that retailers were opted into, which they can’t just pay when they pay their sales tax, it’s a separate form that they have to fill out or complete, which adds time and bookkeeping expenses to doing business, which makes the cost of doing business more expensive,” Solomon said.

Roberts said the bill received bipartisan support and was supported by the Colorado business community.

“The retail delivery fee is 27 cents, it is assessed on things like Amazon deliveries and other types of deliveries, because those trucks use our roads significantly to make their deliveries and to keep those businesses going,” he said. “That has wear and tear on our roads, and so that’s the thought there, that those types of funds will improve our infrastructure and also recognize that our economy and our way of life is changing, with more electric vehicles that don’t pay gas tax, and people using delivery services more.”

A final question from the audience revealed a point that Roberts and Solomon agreed upon.

“Wolf reintroduction, should it be continued or terminated?” the audience member asked.

Roberts said he doesn’t support wolf reintroduction.

“I was never supportive of that effort, and I don’t think it was the right way to make that decision by having it voted on by the public,” Roberts said. “We have a very liberal system in Colorado when it comes to ballot issue access, where anybody can gather signatures and get almost any question put on the ballot.”

Solomon said he doesn’t support wolf reintroduction either, and pointed out that he and Roberts were in agreement on the issue.

“My dog has to be on a leash in Boulder, but the people in Boulder voted to unleash wild dogs in the area of our ranches,” Solomon said.

The moderator, former Eagle Town Board member Kevin Brubeck, used the opportunity to ask a follow-up question.

“We talk about defunding the police, we talk about defunding the FBI, have we ever thought about defunding wolves?” Brubeck asked.

Heidi Ganahl Call on Polis to Act Now to Stop the Polis Premium

Greenwood Village, CO – For three years, Governor Jared Polis has refused to submit a waiver to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would prevent hardworking Coloradans from paying 50 more cents per gallon for gas. Now, Coloradans are supposed to believe that in an election year reversal, Polis is ready to submit the science and save us money. Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Heidi Ganahl is calling on Governor Polis to stop the political pandering and act before the impending EPA deadline.

“For years, Jared Polis has been adamant in his refusal to submit a simple letter that would save Coloradans 50 cents a gallon because he prioritizes his and Joe Biden’s Green New Deal over the suffering of hardworking Coloradans. We see this for what it is: another election year ploy. If he is really willing to submit the letter, I call on Polis to submit that waiver today so that he meets the EPA deadline in time. Coloradans deserve the truth,” said Ganahl.

Earlier this year, the EPA downgraded the Denver area from a serious polluter to a severe polluter. That means, starting in the summer of 2024, gas stations must use a more expensive, refined fuel that emits fewer pollutants.

Previous governors, including Democrat John Hickenloper, sought and received waivers from the EPA because they were able to prove much of Colorado’s air pollution comes from other states. In 2019, two months after becoming governor, Polis said he would not seek an exemption for Colorado’s severe rating. He wanted this crackdown.

According to the executive director of the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association, Polis has until September 15th to file the request for reconsideration or Coloradans will be mandated to use the more expensive fuel.

“Which Polis are we to believe? The one that took office in 2019 or the one that is attempting to buy his reelection now? Coloradans should not be fooled by Election Year Polis’ attempt to run from his record of working to destroy the oil and gas industry. Polis must ensure he meets the EPA deadline so that he cannot blame the EPA for his own refusal to act in time,” insists Ganahl.

SOURCE: Ganahl For Governor

Dylan Roberts – Increasing the Cost of Living on the Western Slope and in rural Colorado

Dylan Roberts – Increasing the Cost of Living on the Western Slope and in rural Colorado

August 8, 2022 – Dylan Roberts, the representative for House District 26 and candidate for Senate District 8, believes he’s a champion for small businesses and the agriculture industry on the Western Slope.

He’s not, he’s the opposite.

As a house legislator, Roberts signed SB21-260 Sustainability of the Transportation System bill that increases fuel taxes and transfers general fund revenue to raise $5.4 billion over ten years to support electric vehicles and increase “alternative” transportation. In other words, he signed a bill that bypassed the Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) by changing the name of taxes to fees to avoid a constitutionally mandated public vote on a tax increase. Essentially, Dylan Roberts wants to get every driver out of their affordable, reliable gas-powered vehicle and into an expensive, less reliable electric vehicle. Or, they should take the bus, ride a bike, or walk.

Keep in mind that electric vehicles make up less than 1% of the vehicles on our roads. That’s because they are three times more expensive than traditional vehicles because there’s very limited refueling infrastructure to support them. The quixotic quest to mitigate climate change through legislation like SB21-260 will increase the cost of every aspect of Colorado’s economy making small businesses too expensive to operate, livestock too expensive to transport, goods and services too expensive to purchase, and wages too expensive to pay. 

The cost of living on the Western Slope and in rural Colorado is already too high from bad Democrat policies that have exacerbated inflation and bottlenecked much of our supply chain. Colorado voters, small business owners, farmers, and ranchers need to be represented by a leader who will empower them by reducing regulations, fees, and taxes. It’s time to replace liberal, elitist legislators like Dylan Roberts with a leader who represents the free market and the prosperity of ALL Coloradans.

Routt County Republicans: Let’s work together to protect our schools

Routt County Republicans: Let’s work together to protect our schools

August 2, 2022 – After several tragic instances of school shootings over the years, America is appropriately focused on protecting our children and school staff by discussing measures to protect our schools.

While recent school shootings have been the primary impetus for these discussions, school safety involves several elements to consider including gun policy on school grounds, bullying, increased mental health challenges resulting from the impact of COVID-19 on school operations and fentanyl.

Some people have taken the approach of focusing on gun control policies in response to school safety concerns. However, as the Supreme Court wrote in 2008, “(t)he Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia,” so efforts to ban the possession of commonly owned firearms by law-abiding people is no longer a viable approach.

The Supreme Court also recently clarified that law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-de­fense needs have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense. An effective way to provide physical security for our schools would be to allow trained and licensed adults to exercise their constitutional right of self-defense by having the means to stop an armed attack at the school.

Rather than wait several minutes for law enforcement to arrive, and then hope they will act to protect others, having competent and prepared adults already on site within the school is a more thoughtful approach. As an alternative to competent and armed adults already on site, securing the schools as a sensitive location like a courthouse or airport terminal with armed guards, metal detectors and X-ray machines is another option that may be considered.

Bullying has long been an undesirable part of many children’s school experience and leads to other conflicts and consequences. Reports of bullying are common among those kids and young adults that participate in violence and antisocial behaviors toward others.

School districts across the country, including ours in Steamboat Springs, have adapted a disciplinary model of “restorative justice” where offenders are preferably sent to counselors instead of experiencing traditional negative consequences like suspension or being charged with a crime. Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, employed this model and repeatedly counseled the student that later killed 17 people at the school rather than involve law enforcement during previous events.

When a school district shields bad actors from accountability for illegal actions, it becomes complicit in these acts. Hopefully, our local school board will reconsider this model and revisit our district’s current model of discipline to hold our high school students legally accountable in all instances of violence against others on school property.

Mental health is another area of school safety where it seems our challenges are more pronounced today than in past decades. The internet has created an open and generally unmonitored arena, 24 hours a day, for kids to experience the consequences of bullying with a direct impact on mental health and developing healthy coping skills.

This environment of social media can also aggravate other challenges of growing up, adding to mental health struggles among our youth. Although counselors have been an important component of our public schools for decades and should remain, the growing instance of mental health challenges have placed an additional burden on our schools outside of their primary mission of education.

Rather than expand school operations for mental health at the expense of academic focus, we think our schools and community would be better served by returning to a focus on academic success and holding students that misbehave accountable in real terms. With a focus on academics combined with an effective discipline program, we will experience a return to more orderly schools, better academic performance, and less need for mental health services. In the interim, our schools should partner with other organizations in the community better resourced to address mental health to meet this growing need.

The danger of drugs on campus has been a concern of many parents for decades, yet the introduction of fentanyl into our community is a significant escalation of risk in this regard. Every school should have Narcan for such an emergency. Besides adopting the model of searching every person and object that enters the school, stringent laws that restrict illicit supply, discourage possession and impose consequences for convictions would provide some additional level of protection against the growing threat of fentanyl.

We’d like to work together and exchange ideas to provide safe schools for our community.

PUBLISHED SOURCE: Steamboat Pilot & Today