Eagle-Vail woman running for Legislature | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail woman running for Legislature

Randy Wyrick Daily Staff Writer
Heather Lemon

Heather Lemon has lived all over the world, but Colorado’s central Rockies have been home for the last nine years and its residents are the people she says she wants to serve.”We need true representation in the state capital,” Lemon says. “I bring fresh leadership, a broad base of experience, and most of the people here are like me. We need a real voice in the State Legislature. That’s why I am announcing today my candidacy for state representative for House District 56, representing Summit, Lake, and Eagle counties.”Lemon will appear at 11:45 a.m. today at a gathering of Eagle County women over lunch at the Mustang Bar and Grill, part of a discussion of emerging democracies in Muslim nations.Lemon, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Carl Miller for the same seat in 2002, though she won a majority of the votes in Eagle County. On Wednesday, she outlined her vision for the future of Summit, Lake, and Eagle counties.”We have to be practical, recognize that our counties are among the fastest growing counties in the U.S. Yet, there are only 11 Western slope representatives,” she said. “We need solutions that will continue to preserve our beautiful environment, protect our forests, yet encourage tourism and jobs, and the basic services we need to maintain our mountain lifestyle transportation, water, quality education and health care are key issues for us.”Colorado has complicated, unresolved problems with conflicting interests to face in the near future,” she said.Lemon will oppose Summit County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom, a Democrat, in this November’s election. She said the district needs a representative that can “bridge the divide” – advocating for High Country needs, yet capable of forging solutions with the Front Range.”I am an experienced, professional businesswoman, I have lived and worked in major metropolitan areas, as well as here in the mountains,” said Lemon. “I have worked in major corporations, small businesses, not-for-profits, and hourly wage jobs. We need fresh leadership, someone sensitive to the real needs of the people having lived and worked with them, willing to persistently toil at solutions to the critical issues facing us.”Community debtLemon’s High Country roots run deep. From her early roots in Colorado and Summit County as a ski bum in Breckenridge in the 1970s, she worked her way through Wheaton College and John Marshall Law School in Chicago sandwiched around a year of graduate school as a teacher’s assistant in communications at Colorado State University.She said it was her time as a sales representative for Xerox in Chicago, a job she held while in law school, that taught her the discipline and persistence required to close deals while juggling a full time scholastic load.Now, as a small business attorney and real estate broker with Slifer, Smith & Frampton, Lemon said she knows what it’s like to work tirelessly to hold everything together. She is a mother of three with two children in college and one still in high school.An automobile accident in July 2000 left her youngest daughter, Kelly, with a paralyzed right arm and the family with mountainous medical bills. Lemon said everyone is now fine, and Kelly is slowly recovering the use of her arm.”We were absolutely overwhelmed by the community’s support,” said Lemon. “Schools and churches are made up of people, and those wonderful people came from everywhere, Summit, Eagle, Lake, and even Denver to help us. I am forever in the debt of this community.”Now,” she added, “I am at a place in my life where I can give back, and running for the House District 56 seat is another way I can serve this community.”Global relationshipsLemon said she has been involved in community service before. In Chicago, she said, she taught English to refugees in her spare time. In Hong Kong she volunteered in a battered women’s shelter and supported orphanages in Vietnam and China, she said.Lemon is a member of the board of the Summit Historical Society. She also advises a fledgling immigration aid clinic in Eagle-Vail and supports a legal services program in the Vietnamese community in Denver.Lemon is also a delegate of Club 20, a Western Slope lobbying group, and sits on the Legislative Lobby Committee for the Colorado Board of Realtors, which brings her into regular consultation with state legislators and Gov. Bill Owens.Lemon, her husband, Don, and Eric Goldman are founding members of the Mountain Foundation based in Avon. The Mountain Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose objective is to provide assistance, education and training to people in Southeast Asia and Africa. The first project is a water irrigation system for a drought stricken region of Ethiopia where more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation.A small manufacturing project in the mountains of Vietnam and Laos for the Hmong people is currently being developed as a job-creation program replacing poppy cultivation. And a handicraft sales and marketing program for the Karen people of Burma is also being implemented this fiscal year.”We are so blessed in this country, in this area, we need to forge relationships around the world, and give what we can,” said Lemon.”All three counties’State house majority whip Al White, state representative from Winter Park and former representative from the old District 56, said he supports Lemon’s bid.”As someone from a mountain resort community, I know the needs we have here in the mountains,” said White a Republican. “I also know Heather. Heather Lemon is an intelligent, talented woman, with an obvious desire to serve. She will be a great legislator, a true representative of the community, a great asset for Summit, Lake, and Eagle counties, and I look forward to working with her in Denver.””I am from this community, this is my home,” Lemon added. “I will continue to work in all three counties – Summit, Lake, and Eagle – to listen to the needs of this community, then use my experience and skills to work tirelessly to bring solutions in the Legislature for this District.”

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