Update from Summit state rep | SummitDaily.com

Update from Summit state rep

Millie Hamner
Guest column

Last month, I was honored to be re-elected as the state representative for House District 61 in the Colorado House of Representatives. This victory would not have been possible without the incredible support that I received and I want to thank the people throughout the district who supported me. Representing this district is truly an honor and I look forward to continuing to work hard for all of you during my final two years as your state representative.

I am already back to work with my colleagues on the Joint Budget Committee in Denver, where we are beginning the process of crafting the 2017 state budget. Governor Hickenlooper's initial budget proposal indicated that it is going to be another challenging budget year for Colorado. There is currently a $500 million shortfall between general fund revenues and critical state priorities. The governor's proposal includes budget-balancing cuts that will be the subject of considerable debate, and the JBC will have to work hard to strike the right balance in developing this year's budget. I am committed to exploring all options to adequately fund the priorities identified by people in my district and around our state.

Two of my primary goals for this year's budget are continuing funding for rural health services and hospitals and finding a way to fund transportation adequately without impinging on education funds. In Colorado, we operate under some of the strictest constitutional budgeting constraints in the country. With the state's population growing at a rate of approximately 100,000 people per year, we are struggling to keep up with funding needed to support critical transportation projects that CDOT that has prioritized. These projects include a series of improvements to the sections of Interstate 70 that serve most of the Western Slope. The importance of keeping I-70 moving is vital to our economy and the way of life in our mountain communities, underpinning the need to find funding for these projects.

In addition to working on the budget committee, I have been developing my priorities for the legislative session that begins on Jan. 11. In 2017, I will continue to focus on reducing health insurance costs in the western region of Colorado, increasing equity and adequacy in the way we fund our public schools, protecting our environment and ensuring that the state can continue to balance the budget in years to come.

Being an effective representative requires collaboration with my colleagues in both chambers and being responsive to you, my constituents. I encourage and welcome your input regarding what matters most to you. You can reach me at millie.hamner.house@state.co.us or at (303) 866-2952. Better yet, come visit with me at the Capitol or attend one or more of the meetings I'll be scheduling throughout HD61 in late winter/early spring. I look forward to continuing our work together!

Millie Hamner is the state presentative for Colorado House District 61