Tracy: Rural Colorado deserves a seat at the table (column) |

Tracy: Rural Colorado deserves a seat at the table (column)

The people of northwest Colorado know that for our area to thrive, we must receive well-deserved attention from state government to maintain and grow the infrastructure upon which our rural economy depends. For too long rural Coloradans have taken a back seat to the political power of the population-dense Front Range, leaving rural communities sometimes struggling to survive.

As a candidate for Senate District 8, I have walked in neighborhoods in more than a dozen towns and cities, and have heard a lot: People do not want to lose more water to the Front Range; the highest-in-the-nation health insurance is driving families out of the region; people value outdoor recreation opportunities our public lands provide; residents struggle in many communities to find affordable housing; rural schools are losing vital funding; and we know that high-speed internet must be fully available in rural Colorado so we can compete in the 21st century economy.

I have a long background of public service. I have lived in Colorado since 1965, and in rural Colorado since 1977. My longest career was in child protection. I have also worked for the courts, for nonprofits, for a chamber of commerce serving the business community, in the conflict resolution field, and for a police department. I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Colorado Mountain College.

I served eight years on the city council of Cañon City, and worked to build partnerships with business leaders to promote economic development. I was appointed by Governor Romer to the original Great Outdoors Colorado committee which laid the foundation for funding for open space, trails, and other recreational improvements around the state. I am an alternate to the Board of Club 20, the Western Slope’s advocacy organization, and a 12-year resident of Breckenridge where I live with my husband Del Bush, a businessman and a Republican.

So, how can rural Colorado achieve the political power and level playing field we need? Rural Western Slope legislators must work across the aisle with leaders of both political parties, not follow the orders of party bosses, to solve problems we all face. I have a history of working with diverse groups of people. Plus, I’m a Democrat, and my husband is a Republican, so I work across the aisle every day at home! I have been endorsed in this race by former Republican state Senators Al and Jean White because they know I am a hard working, common sense leader who will work for bipartisan solutions.

The Senate District 8 race this year is critically important. Residents of the district deserve full representation. If I am elected, my commitment to you is this: I will visit the district regularly; I will respond to calls, email messages, and letters; I will respond to requests from local governments from all corners of the district; I will actively participate in legislative committees of which I’m a member; and I will vote for the best interests of northwest Colorado.

Emily Tracy is the Democratic Candidate for Senate District 8 which includes Garfield, Summit, Routt, Grand, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties. She is available at or 970-389-4574.

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