For select Aspen locals, quality time with governor |

For select Aspen locals, quality time with governor

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Carolyn Sackariason/The Aspen TimesColorado Gov. Bill Ritter speaks to a small group of local Democrats at a private home early Thursday morning. He was in town as a featured speaker at the Aspen Environment Forum.

ASPEN, Colorado ” Gov. Ritter got up close and personal with a small group of valley residents on Thursday, fielding questions about the environment, health care and education.

Ritter made a special appearance at the home of Amy Margerum, executive vice president of the Aspen Institute, and her husband, Chuck Mclean.

The gathering of Democrats included three former Aspen mayors, current council members, Pitkin County commissioners and other involved residents like Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan.

Ritter kicked off the early-morning meet-and-greet in the living room of the West End home with some remarks before opening it up for questions. Ritter spoke for about 30 minutes before heading to the institute to speak as part of the Aspen Environment Forum.

He talked about the challenges of creating a new energy economy in an economic downturn, getting Democrats and Republicans to work together on the state budget, and health care and education reform.

Besides building a green-based economy, Ritter appeared most excited about the Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act, which would assess a provider fee on hospitals.

If passed, Colorado would generate an additional $600 million a year to provide coverage to the uninsured, and receive $600 million in federal matching funds. The combined $1.2 billion would cover more than 100,000 currently uninsured Coloradans through Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus.

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