Gov. Jared Polis campaigns for reelection in Silverthorne |

Gov. Jared Polis campaigns for reelection in Silverthorne

Summit County was 1 of 5 stops along Interstate 70 corridor Thursday

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis talks with Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 17. Polis visited Summit County as part of his reelection campaign.
Jefferson Geiger/Summit Daily News

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis announced his reelection Tuesday, Feb. 15, and is already on the trail campaigning throughout the state. While making his way west along Interstate 70, Polis stopped by the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center’s lobby Thursday, Feb. 17, to discuss issues with a crowd of community members.

The event followed a similar engagement in Idaho Springs earlier in the morning, and it began with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera noting how she and Polis have worked hard over the past few years to provide free preschool, reduce health care costs and cut taxes.

“There’s still a lot of work left to do, and the next election will determine if we keep moving Colorado forward or if we veer off in a new, chaotic direction,” Primavera said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse took the podium next and introduced Polis. Polis represented Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District — which includes Summit County — in the U.S. House of Representatives until running for governor, at which time Neguse ran for that position.

Neguse pointed out that Polis has dealt with multiple large wildfires as well as the coronavirus pandemic during his time in office, handling the emergencies with steady leadership.

“Suffice to say, that of all of the things that Gov. Polis has done during his tenure, I can think of no accomplishment more stirring, more pronounced, on the national level than his steady, calm leadership during a very tumultuous time in our state,” Neguse said. “… He is an optimist and a hopeful, hopeful public servant who brings out the best in the people in our state.”

Polis listed other accomplishments, such as Colorado’s pandemic fatality rate being the ninth lowest in the nation in addition to reiterating health and child care savings. Polis said the cost of health care premiums in Summit County have been reduced by 34%.

He then touched on new programs that he hopes to implement, such as reducing the cost to register a vehicle or the cost to incorporate a business. Along those same lines, he wants to eliminate licensing fees for nurses, behavioral health specialists and health care professionals.

“We should be paying them and thanking them,” Polis said. “The last thing we should do is say, ‘You have to pay for the privilege of being a nurse.’”

A theme of Polis’ speech was moving forward. In addition to saving people money, he wants to move the needle on issues like education, the environment and climate change. Polis also talked about the public safety package announced last week that aims to make Colorado safe with law enforcement recruitment and retention as well as crime prevention.

“I strongly believe, as I know you do, that Colorado’s best days are still ahead,” Polis said. “With your help, we’ll be able to continue moving forward as a state.”

In an interview with the Summit Daily News after the event, Polis addressed the shortage of affordable workforce housing in the area. He said a solution is to find underutilized state and federal land for housing as well as use one-time funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to invest in housing opportunities near transit corridors.

He said fixing the high cost of housing will in turn help businesses staff up. That in combination with lower business fees will allow owners to pay workers a competitive wage, he said.

Pandemic recovery money is also going toward the creation of child care centers, and Polis said education-specific housing could help preschools, which locally are at capacity and have difficulty recruiting.

“So as we look at creating more housing opportunities that are lower cost, really we want to make sure teachers are among the many beneficiaries of that,” Polis said.

After Silverthorne, Polis was scheduled to stop in Edwards, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs.

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