Hamner talks tough topics with constituents
SILVERTHORNE – Three days into her first term as representative to state House District 56, former Summit School District Superintendent Millie Hamner reached out to constituents across the district in a series of one-hour townhall meetings.
At the Summit County meeting Saturday, held in Silverthorne, constituents sent a clear message that Interstate 70 was at the top of their list of concerns.
“It’s a serious problem,” Hamner said. “It’s a safety issue.”
Chief among the transportation topics discussed was the proposed zipper lane, a project to reduce crowding on I-70 eastbound lanes on key Sunday afternoons. The cost-effectiveness of the $25 million dollar zipper lane proposal has been a topic of scrutiny for some in the corridor, including several people at Saturday’s meeting. Along with questions around its effectiveness, how the zipper lane would be funded is also unclear.
“It’s all in the context of a state budget that needs to be cut by $1 billion,” Hamner said at the meeting. “And a state agency (the Colorado Department of Transportation) that’s underfunded by about as much.”
The state’s budget shortfall was also a hot topic at the meeting.
Former House District 56 representative Christine Scanlan, who helped organize the meeting along with Hamner and new Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, said there would likely be whole state programs eliminated this year in an effort to balance the budget, sparking a discussion at the meeting around the need to increase taxes state wide.
The $1 billion in cuts will have to come out of the Legislature’s $8 billion discretionary budget. The remainder of the state’s $19 billion budget is controlled by law and cannot be cut.
Hamner, a Democrat, also talked about the bills she plans to carry during the 2011 session, which include a service dog protection measure and a bill requiring businesses in unincorporated county areas to register.
Hamner said her priorities at the capitol in the coming term will be forest health, transportation and education.
Hamner has been assigned to the transportation and education committees in the state House.
Hamner was appointed to the HD 56 seat in late November, after Scanlan, an incumbent who was reelected to the seat in November’s election, was tapped to join new Gov. John Hickenlooper’s team.
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