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MEEKER | Colorado’s 7th Congressional District Congressman Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Arvada) visited Meeker Sunday. A meet and greet for him was held at the Elk Mountain Inn Café. Perlmutter announced early last month that he would be a candidate for Colorado governor in the 2018 race to succeed term-limited John Hickenlooper.
Perlmutter has listed several priority issues he would like to address as governor. These include continuing strong leadership at the state level to ensure that economic recovery reaches all four corners of Colorado; bringing his unique blend of business and private sector, state and federal experience to the governorship; using his pragmatic and bipartisan approach with a record of listening to people and a willingness to work hard to get things done; and attempting to ensure Coloradans have good jobs, can afford to send their kids to college, and have enough left for retirement.
Rio Blanco County Farm Bureau board member Diana Watson urged Perlmutter not to forget the value and importance of agriculture in the state, and expressed her concern that water for agriculture not be lost to big, thirsty Front Range urbanization. Perlmutter agreed that the State Water Roundtable effort needed to be kept functioning to prevent inappropriate movement of water from current uses. He also suggested the state needs to do more to require proof of water availability before new developments are approved.
Asked what his number one priority as governor might be, Perlmutter responded that he would really like to tackle and untangle the budget quagmire the state is in given the TABOR limitations and other requirements in the state constitution which are now slowly strangling the state, especially with regard to transportation, healthcare and education spending.
County budget office employee Kris Hicken strongly suggested to Perlmutter that he look to county budget directors across the state regarding what the constitutional limitations mean to them in terms of having the freedom to create county budgets that work.
Watson spoke for the assembled group in expressing appreciation to Perlmutter for coming to Meeker so early in his campaign. He responded that listening to people across the state is very important to him at this point. He strongly believes, he said, that working across the aisle to find common ground is critical for democracy and helps to better represent individuals and families. In 2015, the Lugar Center/McCourt School Bipartisan Index ranked Perlmutter as the 23rd most bipartisan out of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Perlmutter is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, practiced business law in Denver for many years, served in the State Senate for two terms, 1996 to 2004, and was elected to Congress in 2006. For many years, Perlmutter was a law partner with 1968 Meeker High School alumnus Chuck Bewley. Perlmutter has his degrees from Jefferson High, University of Colorado undergraduate and CU law schools.