Eagle County woman seeks seat in the state House | VailDaily.com

Eagle County woman seeks seat in the state House

Randy Wyrick
Special to the DailyHeather Lemon

But as great as we have it here, it could be better, and that’s why Lemon says she’s running for the Colorado House of Representatives.

Lemon, an Eagle County Republican, is one of those up-by-your-bootstraps success stories. She worked her way through Wheaton College and John Marshall Law School in Chicago, then launched a successful legal career. For the past several years she has been an attorney in Eagle County, practicing what she calls “positive law.” She now focuses on immigration.

“In immigration work, you’re helping people change their lives for the better,” says Lemon. “They’re trying to improve their lives by legally immigrating into this country. They’re getting jobs, paying taxes, getting married, becoming citizens and contributing to the area both economically and culturally.”

Like many of her clients, Lemon knows what it’s like to work tirelessly to hold everything together. She’s a mother of three – one in college and two in high school – all honor students. An automobile accident in July 2000 left her youngest daughter, Kelly, with a paralyzed right arm and the family with mountainous medical bills. But everyone’s fine, and Kelly is slowly recovering the use of her arm.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by the community’s support,” says Lemon. “Schools and churches are made up of people, and those wonderful people came from everywhere to help us. We would never have made it without them. I want to return some of the outpouring we received, and that’s why I’m running.”

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As they were digging out from under it all, Lemon was astounded by people’s willingness in this area to support one another.

“I’ve never lived anywhere that the community supported its people like they do here,” says Lemon. “I’m in a place in my life where I can give back and serve the community. That’s why I’m running. I’m going to the state Legislature to serve.”

The family lived in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia for a few years. When they headed back to the United States for good, they could have lived anywhere – they chose here.

“I’m from Eagle County. This is my home and I’ve made it permanent,” says Lemon.

Some of that service, she says, will mean fighting for local interests. Among them, she says, are water rights, land use, conservation and open space preservation, economic diversity, development and regional revenue-sharing that would help offset the cost of human services by richer counties, like Eagle and Summit, contributing to struggling counties, like Lake County.

“You have to look at it realistically,” she says. “Right now, the regional economy centers on construction and tourism, which operates hand-in-hand. The region should be attracting high-tech, low impact, non-polluting industry. It could become an economic center for the healthcare industry. We should be exploring ways for people to make a living without opening up another ski shop.”

Family values, she says, are a family matter.

“It’s the family’s responsibility to raise children to turn out like you want them to be,” she says.

All improvements, she says, are a step-by-step process.

“You’re not going to change the world in one fell swoop,” she says. “It takes energy applied over time. There’s no other way.”

Colorado House District 56 includes Eagle, Summit and Lake counties. Lemon’s opponent is Lake County Democrat Carl Miller.

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