To the editor:
Jo Ann Baxter of Craig, retired secondary school teacher and dean and former president of the Moffat County School Board, is campaigning for the Colorado House District 57 seat that would represent Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
Jo Ann received public attention in 2005 and 2006 when, as school board leader, she was able to represent consensus and trust to Moffat County voters who passed a school bond initiative in November 2006. Jo Ann, a Democrat in a Republican-dominated county, was wonderful in that important request for public support, listening to citizen group, even individual citizens, answering their questions of whether increased public money (bonds) would be spent wisely and used to bolster students' safety and learning.
The passage of the bond issue was a victory for all the county's people.
JoAnn showed she was more than just a collaborator. She was what a public representative should be in a democracy — someone who, faces with a public legislative issue, searched out facts, then other facts that might inform the first or second set of facts, listened to varied citizen positions, refrained from choosing any one position that required denying crucial facts, and finally settled on a balanced solution that would serve the general public, the people seen as a community reliant upon board legislative decisions that guided them to safety and thriving.
I recently asked Jo Ann three questions: 1. What does "choice" mean to you, other than just having a second name on the ballot position? 2. What does the Democrat Party represent? 3. Why, after decades of life as a private citizen, do you wish to be in publicly elected government? Here were her answers:
Her first answer: " Voters in the district deserve a choice to hear/discuss various views on issues. I hope that voters, hearing different views, will realize that value of having to make a choice."
Her second answer: "The values of the party are that all people matter, all should have role in our society, and those without a productive role must be supported and offered opportunity to succeed to whatever level they choose. The Democratic Party believes in a bottom-up structure, hoping to get everyone on board. If not, we can't continue to be the egalitarian society we espouse to be."
Her third answer: "I'm really hoping my candidacy demonstrates to former students and grandchildren that participating in government is important. I also now have the energy, time and expertise to participate - it's like being ready. Our government is our way of life, in a republic, and we've contracted to be a part of it as citizens, and we should each participate at whatever levels we choose"