RBC I Colorado State Sen. Kerry Donovan of Wolcott will be the special guest at the meeting of the Rio Blanco County Democrats meeting Sunday in Meeker.
The Democrats will meet at 1 p.m. at Kilowatt Korner, Sixth and Market streets, in Meeker. Donovan is expected to talk about rural Colorado legislative issues as well as her experiences as a freshman, barely minority, senator at the state capital.
Donovan was elected to the Colorado State Senate in November to represent Senate District 5, which includes seven counties on the Western Slope (Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Pitkin) and the upper Arkansas Valley (Chaffee and Lake).
As a senator, Donovan has tackled a wide variety of issues to help build a Colorado that works for everyone, including economic development in rural areas, access to quality public education, renewable energy, conservation of Colorado’s wildlife and landscape and access to public lands. She currently serves on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee.
Prior to being elected, Donovan served on the Vail Town Council for four years and on a number of other town commissions. She also worked for several community-focused nonprofits, and served as the director of academics for the Vail Ski and Snowboard Club.
She also runs her small family ranch, where she raises cattle and grows vegetables for local restaurants.
In July, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three of the 2015 bills Donovan sponsored into law. Her ASCENT bill, which stands for Accelerating Students through Concurrent ENrollmenT, expands a program that provides money to local school districts for high school students earning college credit, either while they’re still in high school or in their first year after graduation. The program allows the school district to keep the selected graduates on their student rolls for up to another year while receiving the state’s per-pupil funding (currently $7,542 for the Meeker district). This money is then allocated to the student’s college tuition.
Her other two bills the governor signed in July were a mobile learning labs bill that provides consistent funding for rolling classrooms from places like Colorado Mountain College and a federal lands coordination bill. The latter gives local governments the ability to create land use plans that are comprehensive enough to include federal land and help those plans fit with federal planning.
On the greater sage grouse issue, Donovan recently stated that, “(The) incredibly important decision made by the U.S. Department of Interior (not to list the grouse on the endangered species list) speaks volumes about the tremendous work being done by locals in Colorado to save the greater sage grouse. While this is by no means the end of our efforts to protect our beautiful lands and wildlife, this is a milestone that shows we are making great progress. As a resident of the high country, where protecting our public lands and native wildlife are a top priority for everyone, I am very pleased by this decision.”
Paula Davis of Rangely, chairwoman of the Rio Blanco County Democrats, said, “All county residents are welcome to come meet with Sen. Donovan.
However, anyone not registered as a Democrat, unless accompanied by a registered Democrat, will be expected to donate $10 at the door.
The event is planned as a pot luck, so the food should be local and home-cooked,” Davis said.