Candidate for Colorado Senate District 8 on the campaign trail, including a stop in Grand County on Sept. 19
The Colorado Senate District 8 race is heating up between Republican candidate Matt Solomon and Democratic candidate Dylan Roberts, ahead of the November elections. As Solomon prepares to visit Grand County next week, he spoke about his goals for the office, experiences campaigning and meeting community members across the vast district.
If elected to represent Senate District 8, Solomon will represent 10 counties in Northwest Colorado: Grand, Summit, Routt, Jackson, Moffat, Eagle, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Rio Blanco and the northern half of Garfield.
Solomon is an Eagle County resident, who has experience working locally and in the armed services. Now hitting the campaign trail, he explained he’s spoken to residents throughout the district who have voiced concerns he plans to tackle in office.
“These issues include inflation, the cost of energy, education and public safety,” said Solomon. “Other high-priority issues for me on behalf of Senate District 8 are wolf introduction, short-term rentals, housing availability and affordability.”
The concerns that affect community members are as broad and multifaceted as the district itself is. Farmers, ranchers, resort employees, small business owners, outdoor enthusiasts and educators all call the district home.
“I want to ensure Senate District 8 is fully represented and in on the decision-making process, and works in a way that allows the urban-rural divide to be bridged,” he said.
Solomon has a long history of both private and public service in Colorado and the nation at large. He has over 20 years of experience in emergency services as a paramedic and deputy coroner, which he feels gave him skills he can bring to the senate.
“Having a background as a first responder allows me to see the cause and effect of a situation through a unique lens that offers a perspective for better decision-making,” Solomon said. “My experience has also provided me with the ability to ask the right questions and understand what is being asked. That way, I can better understand and diagnose a situation to ensure the best possible outcome.”
Solomon used his experience as a first responder when he worked for the U.S. military as a medic and an instructor on pre-deployment training operations for all military branches. He also worked for his family’s small business, and had launched companies of his own, including two in the outdoor industry. In Eagle County, he started two companies, including the long-standing gun shop, Alpine Arms.
“Having a background in business has allowed me to understand the impact of government regulations on the operations of a business and the ways in which government can help, not hinder, business owners in Colorado,” said Solomon.
Solomon has been engaged in local politics for nearly six years. He was twice elected to serve as a councilmember for the Town of Eagle. He believes his role in representing his fellow community members prepared him for the state arena.
“There is no better way to learn the demands and the effects of representation than at the local level. There is a direct line of contact between a council member and the public, so feedback is immediate,” Solomon said. “Being on town council helped shape my belief that we can get anything done together — if we’re willing to listen and have discussions about issues with a common goal of reaching a solution.”
Solomon explained he plans to not only talk about “reaching across the aisle,” but actually take action to reach bipartisan agreements at the state level. He added that he’s not running with a pre-planned or party-driven agenda.
“What I am offering is better representation of our district and to bring balance to our state legislature,” he said. “I look forward to working collaboratively, having full discussions and better policy. Discussions with everyone, no matter their political affiliation or belief system, is imperative.”
Solomon’s experience on the town council encouraged others to ask him to run for state office for years. It wasn’t until this election season that he felt ready to take on a role representing community members across northwest Colorado.
“When I was asked to run this year, I found myself in a position with the right experience and the right opportunity to expand my public service in a way that can positively impact our district and our state,” he said. “It really all comes down to my love for the areas in Senate District 8 and the different opportunities, people and communities that make the district so unique and such a wonderful place to live, work, and recreate in.”
While traveling through District 8 to meet constituents, Solomon became even more inspired to serve on the state level. In Grand County, Solomon, who is a professional whitewater kayaker, took part in a meet and greet that wasn’t in a building, but on the waters of Colorado River during a rafting trip. Most recently, he spoke with community members at the Meet the GOP Candidates event in Granby’s Polhamus Park on Sept. 11.
“There have been so many memorable experiences (on the campaign trail) thus far. I think my most cherished highlight has been getting to know the people in Senate District 8 better,” Solomon said. “We live in a beautiful region and are surrounded by such kind and great people.”
Solomon’s next trip to meet Grand County residents will be on Monday, Sept. 19. Along with Grand County locals David Buckley, running for House District 13, and Jolene Linke, running for County Clerk and Recorder, Solomon will speak with community members at Strip & Tail in Winter Park from 6-8 p.m. He stated he’s looking forward to meeting residents, answering their questions and listening to concerns unique to Grand County.
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