I believe we need to focus on four key areas of economic development: Energy, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Tourism / Recreation.
I strongly support the responsible development of oil, gas and coal in Mesa and Delta counties. I will support all of these industries and I will fight hard for the renewal of robust energy development on the West Slope. I will work to get the federal government out of our business as much as possible; likewise, I will fight against any bans or set-backs or other unfair limitations, and also against a 'one size fits all' state regulatory scheme. We need to lessen the unreasonable regulatory burdens on western Colorado energy projects and give energy developers a reason to come here, not leave.
Tourism / Recreation
I fully support motorsports (road and off-road), cycling (road and off-road), trails/access, rafting, skiing, hunting, etc. This type of outdoor recreation is one of the many reasons it is so wonderful to live on the Western Slope. We can make it even better--but to do so, we need infusion of revenue and disposable income that come with the growth of our energy, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
I am very excited about what I see with our cattle operations, produce and other crops--from traditional to organic, or 'local'. I will do all I can to support a strong and traditional business climate for farm and ranch operations and will fight against any and all efforts from the Feds to intrude; without that, we risk so much, including sell-offs, 'buy and dry', etc.
Mesa County has demonstrated it has the infrastructure to support manufacturing. Companies such as Poma,Capco and others have proven they can build successful manufacturing companies and grow jobs in our community. We need to encourage others to do the same. In Delta, the tremendous farm and ranch sectors need expansion through the development of more traditional manufacturing and food processing plants and related concerns. I support the ongoing efforts to expand the high-tech infrastructure for the Delta area, without which new companies are difficult to attract. In both counties, we need to look carefully at some 'tax free' and/or expanded enterprise zones, DOLA and other funding and incentives designed to jump-start our lagging economic recovery.
As a fiscal conservative, I recognize that we must choose carefully what new projects to fund and what current programs should be increased or cut. I support spending on infrastructure and incentive-based programs if an economic generator is the likely outflow. Our roads and highways come to mind, as does technical and higher education. I favor the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights.
I am pro-life. While I am very much a limited government man, it seems to me that there are not many functions of government more at the core than the protection of the most vulnerable. While in favor of traditional family values, I recognize that some things are less the province of government than that of the home and church and, further, that we all must extend common grace and dignity to our neighbors. I also recognize that some issues are more controlled at the national level and that I will need to prioritize my efforts. More locally, the high suicide rate in Mesa County disturbs me greatly. We must continue to raise awareness and support for our at-risk populations.
I will not stand by as the Front Range attempts to take our water. Based on recent input, conservation appears to be developing as the common theme of the State Water Plan. I support conservation as well as new storage projects. I will vigorously oppose any change whatsoever to the Interstate Compact obligations of Colorado to the Lower Basin States.
I am in favor of choice, standards and accountability--competition is key for students, educators and schools. I strongly favor local and/or state standards and oppose Federal intrusion, particularly if that involves dictating what curricula is taught. I also believe that District 51 is unfairly ranked as it is underfunded, which needs to be addressed immediately.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is central to a free and democratic republic. I am in favor of maximum gun rights under the Constitution as interpreted by our Supreme Court. "Gun free" zones, with very few exceptions, are more dangerous than not. I will work to repeal the recent Colorado state legislation that unduly, unnecessarily and illogically imposed upon our rights.