Jared Polis, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, visits Grand County | SkyHiNews.com

Jared Polis, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, visits Grand County

Jared Polis, a democratic candidate running for Colorado governor, speaks to a crowd Friday at Casa Mexico in Winter Park.
Tyler Tomasello / For Sky-Hi News |

With such a crowded group of candidates in the 2018 Colorado gubernatorial election, every vote counts. Grand County, however, makes up about .23 percent of the voters in Colorado, with around 13,000 eligible voters and 7,852 participating in the 2016 presidential election, which means the county has a small impact on the state but, at the same time, a very large voice.

Colorado native and long-time democratic congressman, Jared Polis, visited Grand County on Friday — stopping at Casa Mexico in Winter Park then heading to Kremmling — meeting with local residents to introduce himself, his policies and engage in conversations about issues that impact the area.

Polis, of Boulder, is Grand County’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Polis, who grew up on the Front Range, has spent nine years as a state representative and another six on the Colorado State Board of Education. His time in government, philanthropy and business has led him to realize that there is much more opportunity to make a difference on the state level, and has guided many of his policies, according to his remarks during the meet-and-greet.

As he explained, three items serve as the main focus of his campaign: Education, economy and the environment.

“Education is my passion,” he said.

His ideas of building physical and technological infrastructure would help build bridges to rural communities and help create educational opportunities that would not be available as they are elsewhere, as he explained. Most of his priority would be to create universal, full-day pre-school and kindergarten programs across the state. Such a policy would allow parents to return to work sooner, which would help create more financial opportunity for their family and also would help children learn and develop to become more prepared for the future, he said.

With the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, Polis said he believes that now is the most important time to start working towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and create a plan over the next 4­8 years to make that happen.

The resources available in Colorado, such as solar, wind and hydro, allows state and local governments a better opportunity to create “green” jobs, stimulate the economy and become more sustainable.

Many of the community members who joined for the meeting voiced their concerns of population growth, and the increased cost of living. While unemployment is low in the state, “we have not kept up with the cost of living,” Polis said.

Leveling the playing field for all workers in Colorado through employee ownership, stock options and profit sharing would become his focus, but how to entice employers to do this is unclear, he said, but he would institute policies to help assist employers. But through reducing red-tape and establishing technical support centers to help businesses, saving money on legal and accounting fees would create more opportunity for a company to reach that point.

With the gubernatorial election about one year away, a long road lies in front of all the candidates in the field.

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