Local GOP chair Debra Irvine looks to challenge Scanlan for House seat | SummitDaily.com

Local GOP chair Debra Irvine looks to challenge Scanlan for House seat

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – State Rep. Christine Scanlan will face a challenge for her Colorado House seat from Debra Irvine, who announced Sunday she will seek election in House District 56, covering Eagle, Lake and Summit counties.

“I am very excited to be running,” said Irvine, who chairs the Republican Party in Summit County. “The main issues of concern that I will focus on for our House District are jobs, natural resources and health care and emergency preparedness.”

Irvine said she’d like to broaden the base of the local economy to make it less dependent on resort tourism.

“I grew up in a ski resort and I know the resort industry well,” said Irvine, who has worked as a professional ski instructor. “We have to concentrate on bringing back and building upon revenue in our communities … to include a year-round recreation industry, real estate and construction. That said, we need to look for opportunities to broaden our revenue resources. We must keep our sights high and be open to additional industry to enhance what we already have,” Irvine said.

The pine-beetle epidemic is another area of focus for Irvine.

“The ramifications of beetle kill must be addressed because of its impact on many aspects of our natural resources. Erosion is one example and the way watersheds will be impacted. Our water quality and quantity will be an issue,” Irvine said.

She also wants to zero in on the energy sector during the campaign.

“Our focus on energy should be on conservation and new technology … We need to be smart about it. The elimination of energy that is tried and true would not be in our best interest. When one technology fails, or is not available, we must be prudent with a backup plan of action to ensure services are not halted.”

Finally, Irvine said she would take a close look at how a revamped national health care system might affect the local community.

“We need to be proactive regarding the health care services available to the people of our counties,” she said. “For example, why do some medical tests cost more … here than in Denver? Rural health care should not be inferior to the care … in urban areas. Looking at the Grand Junction model, we need to address what can we learn and implement in our counties,” she said, referring to a community-based system that has garnered national attention.

Scanlan has been asked to consider running for the Colorado Senate seat that Dan Gibbs will be leaving in 2010 in his bid for a county commissioner spot. But she said Monday that, for now, her plan is to run for re-election to the House.

Scanlan defeated Republican candidate Ali Hasan in 2008 by winning 53 percent of the vote. She easily won Summit and Lake counties by a wide margin, but Hasan won 51 percent of the vote in Eagle County.

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