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People, the district’s greatest resource

Reapportionment, or the redrawing of Colorado’s House and Senate District boundaries, has been a contentious issue for the past year.

I was elected by and will continue to represent my current district through 2012. I enjoy representing Mancos, Cortez and Montezuma County and am disappointed that they have been drawn out of the 59th House District. Senator Ellen Roberts and I have a town hall scheduled for Feb. 25 in Cortez.

Although I disagreed with the decision of the Reapportionment Commission, I am very excited about the new district that I hope to represent. My wife, Debbie, and I announced our run for re-election by making a 460-mile tour and a stop in every county in the new 59th House District on Saturday, Jan. 7.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most beautiful district in the state of Colorado. We were encouraged by the folks who made the effort to be at each stop. Our journey began in Durango where we were welcomed by an excited group of supporters. Beautiful and productive, La Plata County is where my grandparents came in 1947 and has since been home for our family.

We proceeded to Pagosa Springs where we were encouraged by an impressive gathering of supporters. Archuleta County is like home; it’s where I helped my grandfather move cattle to the high country when I was 14 years old. Truly, it is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado.

We then traveled over Wolf Creek Pass, through South Fork and Creede, and over Slumgullion Pass to Lake City, the County Seat of Hinsdale County, and were thrilled at the turnout of supporters. My first encounter with Hinsdale County was when I was 17 years old and moved sheep camps for my Dad using the Continental Divide trail. What?beautiful country.

Our trip then led us to Gunnison where we were welcomed at Western State College by an energetic group which included Rep. Don Corum and his wife, Dianna. I want to personally thank College President Jay Helman for his hospitality. The southern portion of Gunnison County, including the town of Gunnison, is in our new district. What a wonderful area.

Next, we traveled through Montrose and on to Ouray County, the Switzerland of America, and rightfully so. We had encountered some snow and were a little late, but were very encouraged by an enthusiastic group of well wishers. What huge potential exists in Ouray County.

We then proceeded over a snowpacked Red Mountain Pass to magnificent Silverton and San Juan County to be welcomed by a surprisingly large group of well wishers. What a great community, with so much going for it.

We concluded our trip by returning home to Ignacio. It was a wonderful day, and we couldn’t help but be thankful for the abundant beauty but, more importantly, for the wonderful people whom we have met and will continue to meet. They are the greatest resource of the 59th District.

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