Opinion | Linda Harmon: Dylan Roberts a needed change for Summit County and Colorado | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Linda Harmon: Dylan Roberts a needed change for Summit County and Colorado

Linda Harmon
Positive Progressive Thinking

The Colorado Supreme Court’s approval of the new state House and Senate districts means Summit County residents can vote for an exceptional candidate for Colorado Senate: Democrat Dylan Roberts is an experienced Colorado legislator, representing Routt and Eagle counties since 2018.

He is a third-generation Coloradan from Routt County and resides in Eagle County, so he thoroughly understands mountain communities.

This is a wonderful change for Summit County since our world revolves around tourism. Our current state Sen. Bob Rankin grew up in Mississippi, attended college in Mississippi, never worked in the tourism industry and has lived in the Aspen area only since 1995.

Why does this matter? When you look at Roberts’ focus as a state representative, as well as his priorities for the new state Senate District 8, it is easy to see the influence of where he has lived and worked as a public servant.

When listing his top priorities, he said, “First is the cost of living in our communities. This includes affordable housing, child care and health care costs. Second, is protecting our nature resources such as water and our forests from wildfires. It is vital that we protect the beautiful environment and the outdoor lifestyle that fuels our local economy and provides jobs to our residents.”

Besides being a huge fan of his work with these areas, Roberts quickly won me over when we talked about the child care issue in our county and state. Being the grandmother of a small child who resides in Breckenridge, I know there are very few child care facilities in our county. Providing tax credits to assist with the cost of child care is irrelevant if there is no place to put your child. Roberts completely agrees with this assessment and will be introducing legislation in the next session.

Roberts explained, “This bill would give landowners a property tax exception when their land is used by a tenant or subtenant who operates a child care center. Currently, this property tax exception is only given for charitable purposes.”

This brilliant new legislation would incentivize property owners to rent space to child care tenants, hopefully at a reduced rent.

Since affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing business owners trying to hire employees in mountain and rural communities, it’s great that Roberts has expertise in this area, as well. He sits with Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue on the Colorado General Assembly Affordable Housing Transformational Task force.

This task force provides recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor on how to creatively transform housing using the federal coronavirus recovery money, and they are doing excellent work.

Roberts is also a change maker for better health care in Colorado. In June, Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Option health Insurance bill sponsored by Roberts. This legislation created a first-of-its-kind health insurance plan for Coloradans, and it requires private insurance companies to reduce premiums by 15% by 2025.

Working so closely on health care, affordable housing and child care issues has given Roberts huge insight into three of the biggest challenges facing Summit County. This type of knowledge and experience will provide our county with a great advocate in the state senate, something we have not had for a while.

Finally, but certainly not least important, is Roberts’ passion for the environment and water issues. Since Summit County plays an important role in providing water for the state.

“As a member of the Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee, I am a tireless fighter for Colorado’s water and agriculture industry,” Roberts said. “I have written and passed legislation to protect our precious water resources and will continue to be a strong voice for Western Slope water. You can also count on me to be a vigorous defender of our public lands, and I will do everything possible to preserve and protect our state’s most beautiful environments.”

This is not just political hyperbole. Roberts’ legislative record speaks volumes about his dedication.

The Democrats need to hold on to the majority in the state Senate if we want to continue fighting the good fight on these very important issues. Roberts will be a welcome change for Summit County and the perfect solution for the Colorado Senate.

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