Candidate says he knows county |

Candidate says he knows county

Steve LynnVail CO, Colorado
NWS Al White DT 1-2-07

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado State Representative Al White knows all about Eagle Countys problems he has dealt with them before, he said. White, a Hayden Republican, would bring experience and knowledge to Eagle County, which he represented in the state Legislature before Colorados congressional districts were changed in 2002, he said. Ive been doing the job for eight years, said White, who now represents six counties in House District 57, which borders Eagle County. I recognize what the issues are; I recognize what the political process is; I recognize what the legislative process is.White is now a candidate for Senate District 8, whose territory includes Eagle County, and hes running to fill the seat now occupied by Steamboat resident Jack Taylor. Taylor is term-limited.White likely will face Ken Brenner, a Steamboat Springs Democrat, in the November election. Brenner is considering a run for District 8 but has not committed. Jonnette Phillips, a former Republican Eagle County commissioner, said she has kept in contact with White since she left the commission in 2000. Hes always been willing to listen to what my questions are, and I felt secure in the answers that he always gave me, she said. Whites work for teachersWhite grew up in Illinois and attended the University of Colorado but did not graduate. He later moved to Winter Park, where for several years he owned two ski shops and a lodge. White now lives in Hayden and Winter Park and has a wife, Jean, a son, Devin, and a daughter, Jenna. Melinda Gladitsch, of Edwards, worked with White when she was a member of Citizens for Quality Education. The group asked White for help in increasing teachers salaries to keep up with the high cost of living in Eagle County.He was really instrumental in helping us to do that, Gladitsch said.White included language in the School Finance Act that let voters decide whether to pay school district employees more, he said. That was accomplished that first year (as a state representative), which I believe was a $2.5 (million) to $3 million annual additional benefit to Eagle County School District, he said. Gladitsch and White have talked since then, and she said White is still interested in Eagle Countys problems. Hes a great supporter of Eagle County, and I wish him all the best, she said. Whites work in ColoradoWhite passed a bill that lets housing authorities in towns and cities work together to get more funding for affordable-housing projects, he said.If theres any statute that needs to be tweaked to enable Eagle County to better pursue various housing projects, I think thats a place that I could play a part, White said.Another of Whites bills created Colorados no-call list, which protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls when they register their phone numbers with the state. I think it was a harassing era in our lives when we couldnt even enjoy a quiet evening at home with our family without the interruption of a telemarketing call, White said. The federal government later passed a bill similar to Whites, he said. White also helped increase Colorados tourism marketing budget, and now the Colorado Tourism Office gets $20 million each year, he said. Now tourism marketing helps bring more visitors to Colorado, and residents pay lower taxes, he said. The taxes that we receive as a result of the tourism industry supplant $600 worth of taxes for every family of four, he said. An experienced candidateWhite said his experience in the state Legislature makes him a better candidate than Ken Brenner.In any other profession, when youre hiring somebody, you look for experience, White said. When youre hiring an airplane pilot, you dont want a guy thats just finished reading the manuals for a 757 before you jump inside and take a ride with him.Brenner said his almost 10 years of experience in municipal and county government gives him a better idea of what state government can do to help local governments in Senate District 8. Local government is where we deliver services in Colorado, said Brenner, who was a Routt County planning commissioner and Steamboat Springs city councilman.Brenner has lived in Routt County for 50 years and has held positions in groups such as the Colorado Municipal League, which directly interacts with state legislators, he said. White has not yet had time to talk with Eagle County residents during his campaign, but having represented the county from 2000 to 2002, he understands the problems residents face here, he said. I will be doing a lot more meeting with people to find out what individual hot buttons are, he said.

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