We all do better when we all do better

Almost daily, we can find a news story about Colorado’s rapidly growing and changing economy, whether it’s the shift from coal to natural gas and renewable energy, or relentless pace of the online economy.

For rural Coloradans living and working in the plains and mountains— the very mining, farming and ranching communities that showcase our state’s stunning beauty— those changes often make it even harder for workers to support their families.

Colorado’s can-do spirit has always meant we pull together as a community to help our neighbors when they need a hand up. In this case that effort included such diverse voices as the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Mining Association, Rural Schools Alliance, Conservation Colorado, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Colorado, the Delta and Pitkin County Commissioners, and others.

These groups joined forces to on call us to invest in Colorado’s future by supporting the “Rural Economic Advancement of Colorado Towns Act,” or “REACT” bill. It would have created a position in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help with “non-monetary assistance” for eligible towns and counties, i.e. helping rural communities experiencing economic hardships find and apply for available assistance. This included helping help small businesses —the engine of Colorado’s economy— get micro-grants to help grow their operations and keep their neighbors working.

Unfortunately, despite all the support and a complete lack of opposition, the bill died on a party-line vote in the Senate Finance Committee.

When a hardworking Coloradan puts in an honest 40 hours of work a week and still struggles to put food on the table for their family or has trouble finding enough work in the first place, something isn’t right. We should all have a fair shot at success and a chance to get ahead, no matter how large or small our community may be.

Did your legislator vote to reward hardworking men, women and their families?

Sources

  • February 6, 2017- Letters of support from Delta & Pitkin County Commissioners

  • February 14, 2017- Testimony in support from Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Mining Association, Rural Schools Alliance, Conservation Colorado, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Colorado, and others.

  • February 14, 2017- Grand Junction Sentinel, "Aid for rural counties rejected for third time"

  • February 14, 2017- Durango Herald, “Bill supporting rural economic advancement dies in committee”