Dear Governor Polis,

The state of Colorado is a very diverse community and a one-size-fits-all isn’t the answer for this state to move forward during these challenging times. We have seen firsthand that when the state Government makes top-down decisions for Colorado business that doesn’t meet the need of a community in crisis, everybody suffers. In the rural areas of Colorado, the vast majority of businesses are small family-owned enterprises that have been forced to close while large box stores continue to be open.

During your campaign for governor, you stumped on local control and it is now when we need that local control most. We want to partner with you to make that local control happen.

As rural elected officials across this state, it is important to allow local jurisdictions to decide how best to protect the communities that they live and work in. We have a plan to move forward to defend our citizens from COVID-19 while putting our Colorado people and businesses safely back to work to provide the services people need.

Our Partnership with Rural Colorado:

          The Governor’s office should facilitate and interact directly with county commissioners, mayors and city councils to meet the unique needs of each community. Let’s take those needs to the legislature so that funding and decision making can be directed down to the 64 counties and their towns in Colorado.
          Our goal should be to help the local and county governments help themselves. We need to re-establish and maintain a healthy social environment and business climate in each county moving forward.
          There needs to be an extra emphasis on the front lines of this pandemic. Medical relief and economic support provided to medical facilities and hospitals running into budget and financial issues during a health care shortage needs to be addressed now. There needs to be a transparent stimulus program for our clinics and hospitals that leverage medical relief funds and keeps our medical facilities financially re-supplied on the front lines.
          We need to develop a comprehensive small business relief plan to help small businesses recover from the loss of revenue. State SBA loans, additional grants, expedited permitting processes, tax deferments or write-offs of state obligations, the forgiveness of fines or other indebtedness to help recover and revive these business entities should all be considered as potential options.

We need a better partnership with the Governor while the executive branch provides guidelines and recommendations to these communities as we all learn how to win the battle with this virus. The models continue to evolve and our approach should continue to evolve as well. The state and federal government can provide data and expertise to our local elected officials so that they can make educated decisions on what works best for their own communities. There are tough financial times ahead for local governments as well as the state. The budget of all entities will suffer because of the impacts of COVID-19 and enacted policies that have depressed our severance and property taxes. It is important that the majority of the CARES Act funding be directed to these local governments to cover necessary expenditures incurred due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 public health crisis. We should work together to educate and secure the support of the Legislature on the importance of financial recovery policies that fit each of our 64 counties.

Many of our local governments and businesses are ready to put “open for business” signs back up in their areas and have done the work to figure out if this works while keeping their community safe. With your partnership, Rural Colorado can continue to encourage statewide medical guidelines including social distancing, safe workplace policies, and protective masks while taking the necessary steps for local governments to govern. This great state has some very smart people – people capable of making great decisions – in each of our 64 counties and they need to have the ability to govern in waters that are quickly changing. They can do this and we are confident that they can do it better than bureaucrats. They will seek the best advice and council to do what is best for their neighbors and loved ones who live in the same community.

Let’s support our local governments and let them govern. Sincerely,

Richard Holtorf House District 64
Marc Catlin House District 58
Perry Will House District 57
Janice Rich House District 55
Local Governments
/s/ Byron Pelton Logan County Commissioner
/s/ Dave Appelhans Mayor, City of Sterling
/s/ Edward Vela La Junta City Council
/s/ Susan Thompson Hinsdale County Commissioner
/s/ James DePue Wray City Manager
/s/ Don Schneider Sedgwick County Commissioner
/s/ Tony N. Wells Washington County Commissioner
Jerry Sonnenberg
Lori Saine House District 63
Rod Pelton House District 65
Matt Soper House District 54

Senate District
Don Coram Senate District
Bob Rankin Senate District

Larry Crowder Senate District 35
/s/ Richard Cimino Grand County Commissioner
/s/ Joe McBride Logan County Commissioner
/s/ Todd Workman
Mayor, Town of Haxtun
/s/ Cory Wall Kit Carson County Commissioner
/s/ Jon Becker Morgan County Commissioner
/s/ Gail Watson
Gilpin County Commissioner
/s/ A.J. Krieger
Firestone Town Manager
/s/ Hilary Cooper San Miguel County Commissioner
/s/ Chris Richardson Elbert County Commissioner
/s/ Tim Payne Fremont County Commissioner
/s/ Jean Sykes Bent County Commissioner
/s/ Chuck Netherton Bent County Commissioner
/s/ Terry Hofmeister Phillips County Commissioner
/s/ Mark Arndt  Morgan County Commissioner
/s/ Rick Pettitt Elbert County Commissioner
/s/ Tim Norton Elbert County Sheriff
/s/ Susan Murphy Elbert County Assessor
/s/ Jane E. Bauder Logan County Commissioner
/s/ Steve Garchar Dolores County Commissioner
/s/ Ryan Stevens Canon City Administrator
/s/ Dave Hornung Kit Carson County Commissioner