Conversation with Don Ytterberg … candidate for Colorado Senate District 16 |

Conversation with Don Ytterberg … candidate for Colorado Senate District 16

Republican Don Ytterberg is challenging Democratic incumbent Dan Gibbs for the Colorado Senate District 16 seat.

Ytterberg was approached about running for the district in January and says his family agreed it was a great opportunity.

“I am running to help Colorado’s economy and to restore fiscal responsibility to state government,” he said. “An expanding economy will provide more tax revenue, without increasing individual tax rates, allowing the state to better provide expected services.”

After working for IBM as an engineer and manager, in 1990 Ytterberg became of the owner of Swiss Lenox, a metal finishing company in Arvada. In 2000, Swiss Lenox was merged to form Advanced Surface Technologies (AST) which Ytterberg was president of until 2002. He is still a partner in the firm and is also president of Kalman Floor Co., which has been in his family since 1940 and is owned by his brother Carl. “We now have international sales and have substantially improved our profitability,” Ytterberg added.

What improvements and differences would you like to make in the Senate?

As senator, I would like to improve access to public land to permit environmentally responsible expansion of basic industries such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing. These industries typically pay higher than average wages and provide the underpinning for strong service and tourism industries.

What do you think should be done to make Interstate 70 safer and less congested?

I-70 congestion will best be solved by a combination of traditional highway construction and rail. A public-private initiative will be the best method to fund the rail system development and I support putting a proposition before the voters so that they can help direct how the state should proceed.

As a businessman do you think you could recruit more businesses into District 16 to boost the economy?

I have owed and operated several businesses and I understand the challenges faced by Colorado companies. I can help recruit businesses by improving public-private cooperation, by encouraging environmentally responsible access to public lands, by working to eliminate the business personal property tax and by protecting water use for all our industries.

What steps do you plan to take to protect the district from fire danger?

I support tax incentives for reducing fire potential by clearing around structures, spraying and removing infected pines. To re-forest with other species. I will work with the government agencies, emergency responders, business and community groups to create a statewide Emergency Preparedness Plan that includes: funding and resource allocation, routine controlled burn and cutting practices, and a state inventory of equipment to assist firefighting efforts (like bulldozers from private partner construction companies) so that tools will be available for quick response. Finally, I will seek state and federal participation to permit timber operations, including forestation practices on public lands.

What role do you plan to have on education and making sure no child is left behind?

The CSAP measures the performance of schools but is less effective as a longitudinal tool for evaluating an individual student’s learning. I would prefer to adopt a standard like the Iowa Basic Skills Test for grades K-8. This would allow us to compare our students to others across the country while also providing an insight into the effectiveness of the educational system. For high school I believe students should be evaluated on their demonstrated proficiency on final exams in all academic classes especially math, science and English classes.

Do you have any ideas on how to make health care more affordable?

I support income tax credits for individuals who purchase health insurance and for businesses that provide health care benefits. I support reducing the number of benefits mandated by Colorado insurance regulations so consumers can purchase only what they choose. I support educational programs and encourage doctors and nurses to work in rural areas and I support tort reform to reduce the cost of providing medical malpractice insurance, which drives up the cost of health care.

Do you support the Windy Gap or Moffat Firming projects? How do you feel about the possibility of more water being diverted to Denver?

The Western Slope must preserve its senior water rights to protect the agriculture and tourism industries, the general water needs of residents and the health (of) our rivers. While growth on the Front Range is certain, future planning must include a plan that balances the needs of all stakeholders. Until that balance is achieved, I do not support the Windy Gap or Moffat firming projects.

How will you lower energy costs or support energy development?

I support local drilling for natural gas, coal and oil shale and the expanded use of renewable energy alternatives such as nuclear, solar, wind and geo-thermal. I also support using pine beetle infested timber to make cellulosic ethanol and wood pellets. Cellulosic ethanol can replace corn-based ethanol, which has driven up food prices, while wood pellets provide another local source of clean fuel.

Do you think there is more room for businesses like the Confluence Energy power plant and Colorado Blue Logs in Grand County?

I enthusiastically support these businesses and others like them. With 1.5 million acres of beetle-infested wood, there are many responsibilities for responsible, partnership-based timber harvest. In addition to pellets and blue-stain wood products, I would support manufacturing of cellulosic ethanol to replace corn-based ethanol, which has driven up food prices. We need to improve access to land so we can create jobs while turning thousands of acres of extreme fire hazard into products that benefit everyone.

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