Eagle County woman Nicki Mills running to represent Eagle, Routt counties in Colorado House of Representatives
July 3, 2018
EAGLE — Nicki Mills has been helping others since she was old enough to lift canned goods in her grandmother's charitable food pantry.
"I have this strong sense of service, and I think that is what politicians should be doing," she said.
Mills, a Republican, is running to represent Eagle and Routt counties, House District 26, in the Colorado House of Representatives. Her opponent is Democrat Dylan Roberts.
Mills' mom is a nurse and led local civic clubs. Her dad was a volunteer fire chief and just retired after 30 years. Mills was raised in Emily, Minnesota, the oldest of six kids.
"I have always been active in the communities where I've lived. I care deeply about this district and the people who live in it. This seems like a natural thing to do" Mills said.
She said you'll see her in parades and at events throughout the summer and fall, generally in the company of friends and supporters from across the political spectrum — Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliateds.
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"We're all the same. I'll be a walking example of that," Mills said. "We want to stay overwhelmingly positive. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."
Mills is learning people's issues because she asks them. She said they're happy to tell her.
Many concerns keep coming back to the oh-my-stars high cost of living in the resorts of Eagle and Routt counties.
Health insurance and housing are in that bullseye.
Business owners and developers are taking matters into their own hands, creating their own workforce housing, she said.
"People are doing it for themselves," Mills said.
The private sector has been stepping up. There's a 440-unit project and another 52-unit project in downtown Eagle. There's building in Gypsum and Avon. There's a project in Edwards and others throughout the area. In Routt County, they have some large potential developments working through local governments to address this issue, she said.
Addressing health care and health insurance costs can be complex, but not if you have to choose between making the rent and buying health insurance.
"It is a big concern. I have close friends who cannot afford health insurance right now. If something happened, it would ruin them," Mills said.
She moved to the area in 2009 with her two sons Travis, 14, and Christian, 12, after visiting for 20 years.
Mills spent Saturday, June 30, in Dotsero helping dozens of other volunteers build a new playground in a trailer park.
It brought back memories of mission trips to Argentina, where she worked with doctors and other medical professionals in some of that country's most rural and impoverished areas.
As patients were examined, she helped teach people ways to better care for themselves and their families. Before long, some of the women and girls asked for a few basic makeup lessons.
"We just showed we care and we love them," Mills said.
When those Argentines asked what her favorite part of the trip was, she realized it was helping people who need it.
"Being in the most remote area, the poorest area. That was my favorite part," she said.
They asked Mills, "Don't you have poor people in your community in Colorado? Why don't you do something to help them?"
So she is, she said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935.