This letter is to inform the voters of Rio Blanco County of my intention to seek re-election.
So far this term has never been boring. It has been eventful, exciting, and frustrating at the same time. It has been eventful with our coal mines and power plants existence being held hostage to lawsuits against federal agencies brought on by outside parties. By hundreds, possibly thousands of regulations proposed by federal and state agencies. By a multitude of endangered species proposals, resource plans, and land use planning at all levels, including Rio Blanco County’s. It has been exciting working to simplify our Land Use Regulations to help create a better business environment, and helping to insure a better future for our citizens with our projects such as broadband and the Justice Center. While the meetings on the State Water Plan, Sage Grouse and oil, gas and coal regulations can be tense, my only frustrations are in balancing county business, our family business and family life without letting any one aspect go slack. There is no way I would have been able to fulfill this job without the support of my wife, Fran and my entire family.
It makes a huge difference that I have the good fortune to be a member of a board that thinks quite a bit alike and we all have the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. We have divided the county duties amongst us based on our expertise and we have come to know each other well enough to trust that each one will speak for Rio Blanco County in a manner that we can not only agree with but also back up.
Aside from day to day county business, my field is natural resources. This is important as very few if any citizens of Rio Blanco County are not dependent on federal or state land for their living. Ranchers, oil and gas producers, recreation, town business, doctors and school teachers are all are direct beneficiaries of access to federal and state land. Broadband should give opportunity for people to have a job that is not dependent on it. However, the county’s broadband delivery system is and will be dependent on access over and through federal land. Any decision made by agencies directly affect all of our livelihoods.
I have a hope and believe that we can attract new types of business to the county. We have had a large amount of construction the past few years. The hospitals, town projects and county projects are good things to have in a down economy as they create short-term jobs, some long-term jobs and will give us a better future. The broadband project has already brought in new business and employment related to Internet services. However, for the long term, projects sponsored by taxing entities are like pulling money out of one pocket and putting in the other, they are not sustainable. Let us keep our eyes to the future. Broadband is a good start, but we also need to work with the state to improve the highways in and out of the county. Who knows what may be the turnover event that encourages a whole new series of new business startups. Maybe, the Wolf Creek Dam, a new class at CNCC, a data center or a packing plant could be the catalyst that begins a process of diversification for Rio Blanco County while improving the business climate for our existing businesses.
I foresee a great future for Rio Blanco County and would respectfully ask for your vote in 2016.
Thank you for your support,
Jon D. Hill