Dylan Roberts in his words: The Democrat running for a seat in Senate District 8 promises to focus on living affordability, the environment and rural health care | SkyHiNews.com

Dylan Roberts in his words: The Democrat running for a seat in Senate District 8 promises to focus on living affordability, the environment and rural health care

Dylan Roberts
Dylan Roberts/Courtesy photo

Name: Dylan Roberts
Occupation: State representative and attorney
Place of residence: Avon
Length of residence in Eagle County: Six years

Why are you qualified to work with rural communities like Grand County?

Our rural, mountain and resort communities are at a tipping point: Our area experiences the effects of drought and wildfire most acutely, grapples with some of the steepest housing costs in the state, and faces the highest health insurance premiums in Colorado. Without a proven leader in the state Capitol, those who call this region home are at risk of falling behind when it comes to addressing these pressing challenges, among others.

I not only talk about serving rural Colorado, I have walked the walk having represented rural communities throughout my tenure at the legislature. During that time, I have prioritized tackling rural issues head-on: passing bold legislation addressing the threat of drought and wildfire, leading the largest single-year affordable housing investment in state history, and significantly lowering health insurance costs in western Colorado counties. 

It has also been a privilege to spend a significant amount of time in Grand County during the course of this campaign learning from local leaders, ranchers, small business owners, fire departments, educators and others about the challenges and opportunities for Grand County. I believe I am qualified to represent communities like Grand County because of my track record of always putting results over partisan politics paired with my passion and vision for our rural and mountain communities and what we can do to make sure our part of the state receives the support it deserves and has a strong voice in Denver to push back against Front Range-centered policies.

How will you make sure Grand County gets its fair share of money and attention for matters like mental health care, early childhood education, Colorado River water conservation and wildfire mitigation?

Since we are so outnumbered by Front Range legislators in both parties, it is vital that we all stick together and focus on advocating for the Western Slope’s interests. Often our region’s priorities and challenges aren’t partisan, but rather aren’t understood by our colleagues from the metro areas. Our job is to tell the story of why our legislation is important for the entire state, like protecting our water or promoting rural economic development, and to work together to pass those bills or stop other bills that are bad for the Western Slope.

I have a proven track record of putting my district over party. For example, as part of our historic investments into affordable housing this year, I partnered with my Western Slope colleagues to ensure that our rural, mountain and resort communities received their fair share of funding and support to spur affordable housing development. I worked with Western Slope Republicans and Democrats to secure an amendment to the housing funding bill that guaranteed at least 50% of the funds go to rural and rural resort counties — a guaranteed source of funding for our region that has never been secured before. As Grand County’s state Senator, you can count on me to always prioritize our region’s needs over any party or ideology. On water funding, conservation and protection, Grand County deserves someone who knows Colorado water law and has experience, like I do, having crafted bipartisan legislation that protects our water and those here who rely on it, because our future depends on it. The same is true for the very important priorities like mental health care, wildfire mitigation efforts and funding, and strengthening our rural schools and child care. 

Please name three issues at the top of your legislative to-do list.

Affordability. Making Colorado a more affordable place to live: too many families in our rural, resort, and mountain communities grapple with higher housing, health care and child care costs than the rest of the state. We have made great strides on these priorities but there is so much more to do and I will continue my relentless focus on saving Colorado families money. 

Water and environment. Preparing for and combating drought, wildfire, and climate change. Our economies depend on the snow falling in the winter and the rivers running in the summer, and the state legislature must do more to protect our environment and water for generations to come.

Strong communities. We must do more to ensure our mountain and rural communities remain a viable place for people to live, raise a family, start a business and retire. This includes better-funded public educationsupporting law enforcement and safe communities, and working with our small business and agriculture community to foster a strong economy in our region. 

Why should Grand County residents trust you?

Having had the privilege of growing up here in the mountains (in Routt County) and now living with my wife and newborn son on the Western Slope, the concerns, hopes and challenges we all face in this region are mine too. I am ready to work for our shared future in the Colorado Senate. Making progress on our shared challenges and opportunities requires a credible problem-solver who consistently delivers for their constituents and you can trust me because that is my track record and vision. I not only talk about focusing on results over politics, I have done it for my House district and it would be an honor to continue that same work for you as your state Senator. 

Please name a couple of issues that you will work particularly hard to cross party lines on, and how you plan to get support from your opposition.

I have always welcomed bipartisan collaboration throughout my legislative career. Our best policies are those gaining consensus from all sides.

For example, I’ve partnered with Western Slope legislators from both parties on initiatives pertaining to water conservation, affordable housing and workforce development, managing the reintroduction of wolves, and wildfire detection, mitigation, and prevention.

I plan to work with Republicans and Democrats on these issues important to Grand County: lessening the impact of wolf reintroduction and supporting our agriculture economy, crafting smart and effective water policy so Colorado can stand up to out-of-state demands on our water, and fighting for our fair share of education, housing, mental health and infrastructure funding. 

These issues are apolitical and are imperative to improving peoples’ lives and the wellbeing of our state. Not toeing a party line and putting results over politics has enabled me to work effectively with members from both parties — which I’ll continue to do if elected. Senate District 8 is politically, economically and culturally diverse, so it will be a priority of mine to find common ground and work with both parties to achieve results for our region. 

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