Gov. John Hickenlooper is coming to Craig on Monday.
As part of a tour of western Colorado, the governor will be stopping at Colorado Northwestern Community College for a town hall meeting. He will provide a short presentation on some pressing issues and then will turn it back to Moffat County, said Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs Reeves Brown.
Hickenlooper’s trip to was spurred by “more than one request for the governor to visit Moffat County,” Eric Brown, director of communications for the governor, said in an email.
Community members hope that his visit will have a positive outcome.
“This is an opportunity for our community to hear the views of our governor, respectfully present their views and inform the governor of our local issues that require his attention,” said Audrey Danner, interim director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership.
Moffat County Commissioners joined other counties Oct. 31 in officially requesting Hickenlooper take part in conversations about sage grouse habitats and the Bureau of Land Management's Environmental Impact Statement that would limit the use of certain habitats, according to a statement put out by Scott McInnis, executive director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado.
Frank Moe, owner of the Best Western Inn and Suites, also put together a petition asking the governor to come to Craig. This came on the heels of Moffat County jumping on board with the secession movement.
This is the governor’s chance to ease some of that tension, Moe said.
“Now is the time to mend the damage that came of that and get the state into one whole unity,” he said.
But, he said, it can just be for show.
“Colorado is made up of all the counties and all the communities and they are all equally important and they all have their diverse needs,” Moe said.
It’s a great opportunity for the community and Hickenlooper, he said.
“It’s exciting, and we’re hoping a lot of people show up,” Moe said. “If we have a big crowd there that’s positive and welcoming but asking tough intuitive questions, then there’s been a major breakthrough and accomplishment.”
Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe also is looking forward to the governor’s visit.
“I’m really pleased that he’s coming to the area and wants to talk to us,” Grobe said.
Grobe said he wants to have a discussion with Hickenlooper about how the BLM is presenting their environmental impact study regarding sage grouse habitats.
The study that’s currently on the table doesn’t allow much wiggle room for private property owners and companies like TransWest, which wants to build transmission lines through Moffat County.
Grobe, along with the other commissioners and officials, will have a separate meeting with Hickenlooper after the public town hall meeting.
The meeting will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday at Colorado Northwestern Community College. People who wish to attend should register with Danner at 970-620-4370.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.