State representative candidates discuss priorities
Carwile to fight for farms, mining, recreation
The bulk of Terry Carwile’s post-military life has been spent building, moving, planning or mining things.
The Craig Democrat sticks close to those roots when speaking of his candidacy for the 57th House District seat. Carwile, an equipment operator at Trapper Mine and operating engineers’ union member, said local concerns and fights would be his if elected.
“For a long time I’ve felt that we have not had the representation that reflects this part of the country in terms of agriculture, mining and outdoor recreation,” Carwile said.
Northwest Colorado’s under-representation covers several industries, he argued.
“I just don’t see the sensitivity to the plight of ranchers and farmers,” he said. “With the mining industry, there’s a fairly significant effort in the state to curtail mining.”
Carwile cited past failed attempts at banning so-called heat-bleach mining, which is a process in which cyanide is used to extract gold from gold ore. Various air-quality mandates also hinder the area’s power plant operations, he said.
Carwile, in fact, was among a collection of area mine operators who testified before Denver air quality boards and a commission appointed by former Gov. Roy Romer in the 1990s, as the power industry was nudged toward gas-fired plants away from coal.
“We were going about the business of trying to protect what we do,” he said. “Seemingly small decisions down there turn fairly significant when they get out to the rural part of the state.”
Carwile has called Northwest Colorado home for 28 years. He enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 1966, and served in Vietnam at a small base roughly 50 miles south of Danang. After a year there, he finished out his service aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Bon Homme Rachard.
After he was discharged, he returned to Colorado and worked various heavy-equipment jobs; from dam construction, to moving dirt for under-construction subdivisions, before landing his position with Trapper Mine in 1978.
Carwile is board chairman at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, and works with Bears Ears Sportsman’s Club. Carwile also sits on the board for the Yampa River Basin Partnership, which works with numerous parties promoting reintroduction of endangered species on the river.
Carwile is pro-choice on the abortion question, and supports the death penalty, but added, “it’s not that I don’t go around with some ambivalence about it.”
“I was somewhat relieved that Timothy McVeigh wasn’t around to see jets fly into the World Trade Center towers,” he said.
Carwile has consistently listed water and water storage issues at the top of his priorities for Colorado.
“I understand their (dams) behavior,” he said. “I have something significant to offer in terms of structural planning and storage planning.”
But new dams should come after assessments of current capacity for existing ones, plus how waters are used downstream, he said.
“That needs to be compared to design capacity … I’m sure we’ve lost capacity over time because of siltation. Once we have that whole picture, we can start to prioritize a little bit.”
Still, Carwile said more dam construction is likely needed.
“I wouldn’t support any construction in the main channels, such as damming the Yampa or Colorado.”
Health care also ranks high for Carwile, who noted his support for state Referendum B, creating public-private partnerships for insurance groups.
“For the rural parts of the state that’s probably a good idea,” he said. “We need to do something to enlarge that pool, and make it more attractive.”
Colorado’s most recent round of budget cuts has hit rural areas disproportionately hard, he argued.
“I would like to see us get back to where we could restore some Medicaid funding, and I hate to see us hitting higher education anymore than we have,” Carwile said. “I’d try to reverse that as much as I can.”
Legislators should look to cut Front Range road construction projects, for starters, he said.
“We can reduce the prison budget by diverting some people to other programs, such as drug treatment, electronic surveillance and diversion projects,” he said.
Carwile said he takes a wait-and-see approach to the state’s efforts on chronic wasting disease. He noted two bills that didn’t pass the state Legislature in recent years that he’d revive, including legislation ensuring the privacy of patients’ medical records, and failed attempts from 2001 providing consumers “country of origin” labels on sold foods.
Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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