State Senate candidate Debra Irvine wants to open the economy and rethink the state budget |

State Senate candidate Debra Irvine wants to open the economy and rethink the state budget

Debra Irvine is running for Colorado Senate District 8 in the Republican primary
Courtesy photo

BRECKENRIDGE — Debra Irvine, a Breckenridge resident, is running for Colorado Senate District 8 in the Republican primary. Irvine advocates for opening up the economy, rethinking the state budget and continuing to use coal-powered energy for as long as possible.

Irvine explained that her reasons for running go back to 2018. 

“I announced in December of 2018 that I was running for this seat,” Irvine said. “Then Sen. (Randy) Baumgardner resigned, and there was a vacancy committee meeting, and Sen. (Bob) Rankin was appointed. So I was asked, even from individuals that were at that meeting, that I continue the race and that was not something they really had to ask me to do because it was my intention from the very beginning,”

Irvine said she does not believe Rankin’s voting record reflects the Republican platform. She spoke about the importance of severance taxes in the counties of District 8 that have a coal-mining based economy. She said communities need time to prepare to offset the effect of severance tax revenue loss as they push for renewable energy. Irvine also said she believes coal to be a more affordable and reliable source of energy than some renewables.

In bringing back the tourism economy to District 8 communities like Summit County, as well as the overall state economy, Irvine said Colorado needs to open up as quickly as possible. She said that while the virus is something to be taken seriously, keeping any industry closed is “very economically dangerous.”  

“Small businesses are shutting down, and they’re the backbone of our neighborhoods; they’re the backbone of our town,” Irvine said.

Irvine also brought up the negative mental health impacts of the shutdown. As a former suicide hotline counselor, Irvine said she would like to work with each community on mental health using an individualized approach for the different needs of each county. She said reflective listening, or reflecting what a person is feeling, can be done at many levels in a community.

When it comes to the state’s budget, Irvine says things need to be rethought.

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“I truly believe that we need to look back, we need to find out what is it that government is responsible for funding,” Irvine said. “Just like anybody at home when we’re faced with a financial crisis and we have to cut back on our expenses, the first thing that we do is, ‘What are our essentials?’ And that’s where we need to start even at the state level. … We’re entrusting them with our money, and we want to make sure that our money is being used wisely.”

While Irvine has been involved in Summit County as a professional artist, a membership chairman for the Rotary Club of Summit County and as a current appointee to the Fifth Judicial District Judicial Performance Review Commission, she said that “without question” the thing she is most proud of is having started a personal scholarship for Summit High School students. She explained that the scholarship, called the Robert B. Irvine Jr. Memorial Scholarship, is in memory of her husband that died in 2016 and that she has now presented four scholarships. 

Overall, Irvine said her motivation in politics comes from her love for the U.S., which she said stems from her mother’s patriotic passion as an immigrant and her time spent overseas.

“That love of our country has always been instilled in me,” Irvine said. “… We were taught that … we are so blessed and so lucky to be born American that the least we can do is give back.”

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