By Emily Hornback, Organizer
A record number of WCC members participated in our People’s Lobby Trip to Denver at the end of February – which was a triumph by many measures! While some of the 19 participants were experienced citizen lobbyists, 10 were first-timers from Mesa County.
WCC sponsors the annual excursion not only to advocate for specific bills, but also to shed light on the legislative process and help folks understand the important role they can play in government. WCC’s community organizers are there to lend support and training, and Sol Malick, our legislative liaison in Denver, is on hand to make introductions and provide current information.
Because our team was so large, we split into two groups in order to meet with as many legislators as possible. In the morning, one group went on the Senate floor at the invitation of Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-5), and the other went to the House floor as the guests of Reps. Millie Hamner (D-61) and Diane Mitsch Bush (D-26).
We also had individual meetings with Western Slope Representatives Mitsch Bush, Dan Thurlow (R-55), Marc Catlin (R-58), Barbara McLachlan (D-59) and Millie Hamner (D-61), as well as Senator Don Coram (R-6).
Leslie Robinson and Rodger Steen, members of WCC’s Oil & Gas Committee, also met with the Air Quality Control Division to discuss the implementation of the new 2013 air quality regulations for oil and gas development in Colorado.
Our lobbyists spoke at length with legislators about our priority bills. In addition, a recurring theme was economic development on the Western Slope – specifically, how we can support traditional industries like farming and ranching (via bills promoting industrial hemp) and new business opportunities (via broadband bills). We also discussed energy efficiency for low-income households.
A special thanks to Kathleen and Xenti Colucci for supporting the trip by offering us a place to spend our two nights in Denver. Much better than a motel!