Under the Dome: Candidates for office warrant respect | CraigDailyPress.com

Under the Dome: Candidates for office warrant respect

Bob Rankin/For Craig Press

State Rep. Bob Rankin

We just got home after a weekend in Grand Junction at the Club 20 annual Steak Fry and Debates, famous this year because one of the candidates for governor declined to attend. Plenty of other aspirants to public office filled the space in an all-day marathon of speechifying and trying hard to disagree. Pretty amazing variety of styles and political positions. Some of the debates (not mine) got superheated when the candidates got the chance to question each other.

After being there, I have a renewed respect for everyone who runs for public office. It's a unique experience to stand in front of supporters and detractors — some very strongly so on both sides — dig deeply into your backyard, expose your personality, and stand up for your beliefs.

And, my respect extends to the county, school board, and local level. Thanks to every candidate standing up this year and to the many volunteers for boards and commissions.

My read of the early history of our country is that we started out with a stronger interest in local politics and less focus on the national level. With the ubiquitous presence of news about the blood politics of Washington, maybe we've lost sight of important issues and dedicated candidates in our own backyard. I quit yelling at the television when I got involved in county and state matters and ran for office. Get to know and support your local sheriff, mayor, clerk, commissioner, assessor, etc. (and your state representative).

I'm helping write the five bills that will come from our "Alternative to the Gallagher Amendment Interim Committee." I’ll report more next month about the details, but we have to fix the drastic negative impact this constitutional mandate will have on our fire districts, counties, schools, and every other special taxing district.

My other summer recreational activity, the Education Leadership Council, is entering a new phase, as four subcommittees report the results of work during the past several months. More than 100 volunteers have helped shape a vision and strategy for the future of education in Colorado, from early childhood to adult retraining.

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With the help of several advocacy groups, we're working on a plan, including several next-session bills to contain health care costs. We'll see our ballots in the mail soon.

I don't get very political in this column. I try to focus on western Colorado's issues and what's going on in Denver that affects us. But, I'm seeing maybe 13 ballot measures, in addition to voting for candidates. I like the solution to redistricting in Y and Z, but I'm concerned that several measures put more constitutional mandates and restrictions on the state's budget process. I'm spending most of my summer working on and trying to unravel conflicting amendments from 1982 and 1992.

The legislature should be allowed to do its job, otherwise we should elect someone else.

Let me know what's important to you.

State Rep. Bob Rankin represents Colorado's House District 57 in the state legislature. He writes the monthly column “Under the Dome,” hoping to inform and engage the constituents in his district. He serves on the Joint Budget Committee and represents Garfield, Rio Blanco, and Moffat counties.