Legislative trip 'very productive,' Club 20 says


Western Slope political organization Club 20 capped off what club members described as a "very successful and productive" legislative trip to the state Capitol on Friday.

The trip, an annual occurrence, included a 30-minute session Thursday morning with new Gov. Bill Ritter.

"The governor was right on target with his message and understands the tenets in the Colorado Promise pertinent to the West," Club 20 executive director Reeves Brown said. "It's clear to me that the Colorado Promise, in the governor's vision, includes all corners of Colorado."

The Colorado Promise was Ritter's campaign pledge to work on behalf of all state residents.

Club 20 is a non-partisan coalition of officials, residents and business owners from 22 Western Slope counties.

Issues such as the integrity of the state's severance tax and energy impact funds were among the topics discussed with Ritter. Brown said he came away from the meeting reassured that Western Slope issues remain a top priority in the Ritter administration.

The two sides also briefly discussed a point of contention in recent weeks --Western Slope representation on Ritter's cabinet. None of his 13 appointments so far are from the Western Slope, and Club 20 has been critical of the lack of geographic diversity.

Ritter told Club 20 that he tried but couldn't find qualified applicants from the Western Slope who were willing to commute to, or live in Denver, according to the Associated Press.

"If I lived on the Western Slope, I'm not sure I'd come to Denver either," the AP reported Ritter telling Club 20.

"It's not over yet. We have four years and cabinet jobs change."

The Ritter meeting was only a small portion of the two-day trip. Club 20 leaders also met with legislative and Denver-area business leaders.

Brown said discussions centered on providing the Western Slope with affordable and accessible health care, higher education and energy development.

"We talked about the importance of addressing (these issues) to the Western Slope," Brown said. "I think we were able to get our point across. The discussions we had were very productive. ... As a whole the trip was very productive."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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