By Emily Tracy
Special to the Herald Times
RBC I Who are the people of northwest Colorado? We are motivated, working to keep our rural and small town economies healthy, and striving to make it possible for our children and grandchildren to stay in our communities. We are small business owners, ranchers and farmers, employed in the tourism industry, teachers, doctors, truck drivers, and workers in the energy industry. We know that for our part of the state to thrive, we must receive well-deserved attention from state government, to maintain and grow the infrastructure upon which our rural economy depends. As a candidate for Senate District 8, seven counties in northwest Colorado, I have been talking to voters all over the District. I have walked in neighborhoods in more than a dozen towns and cities, and have heard some very consistent themes: People are concerned that the Western Slope will continue to lose water to the Front Range; the high cost of health care and highest-in-the-nation health insurance is driving families out of northwest Colorado; people value the outdoor recreation opportunities our clean air, clean water, and public lands provide; residents struggle in many communities to find affordable housing; rural schools are losing vital funding; and people recognize that high-speed internet must be fully available in rural Colorado so that we can compete in the 21st century economy. I am running for Senate District 8 to provide a strong voice for northwest Colorado in the state Senate. For too long rural Coloradans have taken a back seat to the political power of the population-dense Front Range, leaving rural communities sometimes struggling to survive. Also, I know from my own experience with an outrageous emergency room bill a few years ago that we are losing ground in the fight to achieve affordable and accessible rural health care. If elected, I will work from day one to find solutions for the intolerable disparity of health care between the Front Range and northwest Colorado. I have a long background of public service, as an elected official and as a citizen advocate. I have lived in Colorado since 1965, and in rural Colorado since 1977, so I’m well-acquainted with the struggles our part of the state faces every day. My longest career was in child protection. I have also worked for the courts, for nonprofits, for a chamber of commerce serving the business community, and for a police department. I have years of experience in conflict resolution. I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge. I was elected to two four-year terms on the City Council of Cañon City, and worked to build partnerships with business and community leaders to promote economic development. I have served on land use planning commissions in two jurisdictions for more than 16 years. I was appointed by Governor Romer to the original Great Outdoors Colorado committee which laid the foundation for funding for open space, trails, and other recreational improvements around the state. I am a Summit County Alternate to the Board of Club 20, an advocacy organization for the Western Slope. I am a 12-year resident of Breckenridge, where I live with my husband Del Bush, a businessman and a Republican. I have two children and two grandchildren. Rural residents struggle daily with issues of fairness and balance. They want a level playing field so their communities can succeed just as the cities and suburbs on the Front Range succeed. So, how can rural Colorado achieve the political power we need to ensure a vital future? Because of our limited numbers, rural Western Slope legislators must work across the aisle with Representatives and Senators of both political parties, not follow the orders of party bosses, to solve problems we all face. I have a history of working with diverse groups of people. Plus, I’m a Democrat, and my husband is a Republican, so I work across the aisle every day at home! I have been endorsed in this race by former Republican state Senators Al and Jean White because they know I am a hard working, common sense leader who will work for bipartisan solutions. The Senate District 8 race this year is critically important. Residents of the district deserve full representation. If I am elected, my commitment to you is this: I will visit the district regularly; I will respond to calls, email messages, and letters; I will respond to requests from local governments from all corners of the district; I will actively participate in legislative committees of which I’m a member; and I will vote for the best interests of northwest Colorado. Emily Tracy is the Democratic Candidate for Senate District 8 which includes Garfield, Summit, Routt, Grand, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties.