Opinion: Why am I running for Senate District 8?
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
My family has been dedicated to service. My late father served in three wars. My mother was honored for her work with Wounded Warrior amputees. My late husband was a retired Air Force colonel and diplomat. My son is an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran. I worked in the defense industry, holding a top secret clearance.
My experience complements our district. As an 11-year active member of Club 20, I follow legislation affecting our Western Slope. As a professional ski instructor and having grown up in a ski resort, I understand and value the industry. My volunteer work as a suicide hotline counselor is valuable as we address mental health issues. I have testified for our fossil fuel industry, for gun rights and against single-payer healthcare, to name a few. I also served an appointment to the Judicial Performance Review Commission.
Senate District 8 is demographically diverse, represented by Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties. There is tourism, coal mining, oil and gas industry, agriculture and ranching. I announced my candidacy in December 2018 and have been actively engaged since.
In March, I participated in “Just Transition from Coal” meetings in Craig and Hayden. At the Hayden round table discussions, I addressed my deep concerns about closing our coal-fired power plants. I noted the only way many of my Summit County residents could have the slightest sense of the impact coal industry closure would have on Moffat and Routt counties would be if our ski industry shut down.
I stated this before the COVID-19 pandemic took effect. Ski slopes closed, forcing a surrounding negative financial impact. Every county suffered.
Please note, our state overspent our money by $1 billion to $2 billion before the pandemic shutdown and consequent unemployment, revenue loss, school closures, etc.
This pandemic showed us Colorado has a spending problem. Because of a required balanced budget, funding for a myriad of programs is being cut.
My opponent, Sen. Bob Rankin, spoke about the arduous task of addressing the budget saying, “We’ve always had extra money and argued about how to spend it.” This attitude exemplifies a spending problem and a disregard for Coloradans.
That “extra money” should have been returned to taxpayers as TABOR requires. Businesses, individuals and families affected by this shutdown could have benefited from surplus returns. Instead, according to my opponent, legislators fought over ways to spend our money.
One way Colorado can get back on track is to completely open back up and return to the basics. We need to review what government is obligated to fund.
When Coloradans are faced with financial strain, we first determine what has to be paid. We make adjustments, and government should be expected to do the same. When government indulges in pet projects and the like, Coloradans are further burdened by being forced to pay the price with increased taxes, suspension of tax exemptions, etc. Burdens hinder our ability to be charitable. Since my husband’s death, I have presented four personal scholarships to Summit High School students.
We are better able to promote a free market, economic opportunity/development, entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency by removing government’s heavy hand of burdening regulations and taxation.
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As a proponent of sound principles, I will be a strong voice for our seven unique counties. My focus will include promoting transparency, protecting our industries, promoting quality education, mental health priorities and, above all, honor my oath to our U.S. and Colorado Constitutions.
It will be an honor to serve you, and I am asking for your vote.
Learn more at IrvineForColorado.com.
Debra Irvine, a Republican, is running for State Senate, District 8 in the June 30 primary.
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