House District 61 candidate Q&A: Millie Hamner |

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House District 61 candidate Q&A: Millie Hamner

I have been working on behalf of improvements in public education for most of my career – first as a teacher and then as the superintendent of Summit schools. As your current Democratic state representative, I have kept my focus on education, but expanded it to help create Western Slope jobs and improve the health of our forests, strengthen anti-stalking laws to keep our residents safe and help ease congestion on I-70. I have a proven record of working across the aisle with Republican legislators on common sense solutions to create jobs, invest in our classrooms, fight the bark beetle epidemic, and make sure that our kids are prepared to compete for the jobs of the future.

Being the current state representative, I have completed two successful years of service in working in a bipartisan, common sense way to find real solutions for the issues facing Western Slope families. Before being chosen to represent our unique mountain communities, I was the superintendent of Summit schools, and before that, I spent my life teaching our kids and studying ways to improve the education system in our state. I earned a Ph.D. from the University of Denver in education, so I apply an advanced understanding of teaching methods and what really works in the classroom to prepare our kids for the workforce and to pursue higher education. Our mountain communities need a representative who understands our unique challenges and who has a record of working with both parties to get things done, and I believe that my record in the legislature illustrates just that.

The main issues I hear from my constituents about are jobs, the bark beetle epidemic and congestion on I-70. I believe that the solution to all three of these problems is to invest in infrastructure and healthy forests which will create construction and forest-restoration jobs in Summit County. The more we can invest in easing I-70 congestion and clearing out the dead wood in our beautiful forests, the more jobs we can create for Western Slope residents.

I already have. Every bill I passed in my career has had bipartisan support. My most proud legislative accomplishments, the Forest Health Act and the Third Grade Literacy Act both had Republican co-sponsors as well. I don’t believe that Washington D.C.-style politics have to play out in Denver, and I’ve fought hard to forge strong relationships with members of both parties in order to find real solutions for jobs, education and forest restoration.

Investment in infrastructure and healthy forests will create jobs in Summit County. We should also enhance our biomass-fuel program which will have the triplicate effect of creating jobs, making our forests healthier and cleaning up our air with innovative energy production. Further, we need to ensure that we are developing our natural resources in a responsible way, working collaboratively with the environmental community as well as energy companies to find a balanced approach which will lead to domestic energy independence, good-paying jobs and a thriving business and natural environment.