Dylan Roberts makes his Colorado Senate run official | VailDaily.com

Dylan Roberts makes his Colorado Senate run official

And he’s doing it in a district where newly drawn boundaries is the least of the changes coming

Rep. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat from Avon, has represented the state’s 26th District, which includes all of Routt and Eagle counties, since 2017.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Colorado’s newly redrawn state senate districts have created an opportunity for Rep. Dylan Roberts to try to represent a larger area.

And as utilities phase out fossil fuels, impacting towns in Northwest Colorado where energy resource extraction jobs support whole economies, Roberts thinks he can be of most use in the newly drawn Senate District 8.

“I definitely could have stayed in the state house or gone and done something else, but I came to the conclusion that a lot of the communities in Senate District 8 are at a real tipping point when it comes to the next few years, and I want to use my experience and everything I’ve learned in my first two terms,” said Roberts, a Democrat who lives in Avon.

Senate District 8 is currently represented by Bob Rankin, a Republican from Carbondale, but the newly redrawn Colorado Senate District Map puts Rankin’s hometown of Carbondale in Senate District 5. Eagle County, where Roberts lives, and Routt County, where he grew up, will both be in Senate District 8 according to the new map.

In January 2023, when the new map takes effect, Rankin will move to Senate District 5, and the winner of the race Roberts just entered will represent Senate District 8 for the next four years. While state senators earn four-year terms, Rankin will have to run again in 2024 to maintain his seat in Senate District 5, because he began his current term of service in 2024.

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Roberts filed his paperwork Wednesday; no other candidates have yet announced intention to run for Senate District 8.

District 8 “includes other areas that have a lot in common, other ski communities like Summit County, Clear Creek County and Grand County, and then other communities like Moffat County, Rio Blanco County and Jackson County that face challenges with diversifying their economy and promoting economic development in those areas,” Roberts said.

Coal plants closing

Roberts said his work on House Bill 21-1324, a bill to “Promote Innovate And Clean Energy Technologies,” helped him imagine what those economic diversification efforts could look like.

Craig Station, a coal-fired power plant in Moffat County that is within the new Senate District 8 boundaries, is expected to go offline by the end of the decade, and with it, the nearby coal mines which supply the raw material to the generating station.

Xcel Energy in January also announced it will close the Hayden Generating Station by 2027, another coal plant that is currently in Roberts’ house district and will be in Senate District 8, as well. In a statement, Xcel said the closure of the coal plant is part of the company’s plan to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2030 and ultimately deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050.

“They’re going to start using renewable energy to generate their power, and we hope that they’ll do the renewable energy development in the communities where they’re currently doing coal mining, because that’s a way to keep those energy jobs in the communities where they are now,” Roberts said.

Roberts said HB21-1324 will incentivize energy companies to do so.

“I was really proud of passing that bill this last year that will really help towns like Hayden and Craig keep energy jobs in their communities during this transition,” Roberts said. “Ever since I’ve been a state rep, I’ve represented the town of Hayden, and so the issue of a transition economy as fossil fuels are being phased out has been on the top of my mind ever since I’ve been a legislator, but Hayden’s not the only town that’s going to be facing this, and a lot of the towns that are going to be facing this are now in this new senate district.”

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