Irvine: Why I’m running for Senate District 8 |

Irvine: Why I’m running for Senate District 8

Debra Irvine is running for Senate District 8.
Courtesy Photo / Debra Irvine

Why am I running for Senate District 8? I would like to serve.

My family has been dedicated to service. My late father served in 3 wars. My mother was honored nationally for her work with Wounded Warrior amputees, until she was 92. My late husband was a retired Air Force Colonel and diplomat. My son is an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran.  I worked for the defense industry and held a top secret clearance.

My experience complements our district. As an 11-year active member of Club 20, I follow legislation affecting our Western Slope. My volunteer work as a suicide hotline counselor is valuable as we address mental health issues. As a professional ski instructor, I understand our ski industry.   I have testified for our fossil fuel industry, for gun rights and against single-payer healthcare, to name a few. I also served an appointment to the Judicial Performance Review Commission.

Senate District 8 is demographically diverse, represented by Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties. There is tourism, coal mining, oil and gas industry, agriculture and ranching. I announced my candidacy in December 2018 and have been actively engaged since.

In March, I participated in “Just Transition from Coal” meetings in Craig and Hayden. At the Hayden round table discussions, I addressed my deep concerns about closing coal mining and our coal-fired power plants. I noted the only way many of my Summit County residents could have the slightest sense of the impact coal industry closure would have on Moffat and Routt counties, would be if our ski industry would shut down.

I stated this before the COVID19 pandemic took effect and our ski slopes closed, forcing a surrounding negative financial impact. Now, every county is facing financial hardship and long-lasting ramifications.

Adding to the crisis, our state overspent our money by $1-2 Billion BEFORE the pandemic shutdown and consequent unemployment, revenue loss, school closures, etc.

If this pandemic made anything transparent, Colorado has a spending problem. Because Colorado is required to balance their budget, the Joint Budget Committee recommended suspending tax exemptions, suspending PERA direct deposits and to decrease funding for a myriad of programs.

My opponent, Sen. Bob Rankin, spoke about the arduous task of addressing the budget and said, “We’ve always had extra money and argued about how to spend it.” This attitude exemplifies a spending problem and a disregard for Coloradans.

That “extra money” should have been returned to taxpayers as TABOR requires. Businesses, individuals and families affected by this shutdown, could have benefited from surplus returns. Instead, according to my opponent, legislators fought over ways to spend our money.

One way Colorado can get back on track is to completely open back up and by returning to the basics. Simply, we need to review what government is obligated to fund.

When we Coloradans are faced with financial strain and, in the event of a crisis, we first look at what HAS to be paid. We make adjustments and government should be expected to do the same. When government indulges in pet projects and the like, Coloradans are further burdened by being forced to pay the price with increased taxes, suspension of tax exemptions, etc. Burdens also hinder our ability to be charitable. Since my husband’s death, I have presented 4 personal scholarships to Summit HS students.

We are better able to promote a free market, economic opportunity/development, entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency by removing government’s heavy hand of burdening regulations and taxation.

As a proponent of sound principles, I will be a strong voice for our seven unique counties. My focus will include promoting transparency, protecting our industries, promoting quality education, school choice, defending life, mental health priorities, gun rights and honor my oath to our U.S. and Colorado Constitutions.

It will be an honor to serve you and I am asking for your vote.

Please learn more about me at

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