Gibbs for state House |

Gibbs for state House

Matt Zalaznick

In a race with two worthy candidates, we think Dan Gibbs is the better choice to represent Eagle County in the Colorado House of Representatives. While Leadville Republican Ken Chlouber, 67, has more experience – nearly two decades in the state Legislature – Gibbs, a former aide to Democrat Congressman Mark Udall, has the edge in ideas and energy.Gibbs, 30, may not have the years in the Legislature, but he does not lack relevant experience serving as an aide to Udall for over six years, in Washington and in Minturn. He’s well known in Summit and Eagle counties in particular, and already earned a lot trust. On affordable housing, both candidates see the looming crisis and realize it will take partnerships between private business and public agencies to provide shelter for the middle class and for service workers. They also seem to see the importance of the High Country holding on to its water both for the use of residents and the conservation of wildlife. But for two key issues – transportation and pine beetles – Gibbs has both enthusiasm and goals that aren’t as apparent in his opponent. Gibbs is a member of the I-70 Coalition of mountain towns hoping to sway the state toward making mass transit, such as a monorail or light rail, part of upcoming interstate improvements aimed at reducing traffic congestion. Though Chlouber has voiced support for mass transit, he has not done it with the same zeal as Gibbs and seems more willing to accept more lanes as the ultimate solution. Gibbs also sounds determined to see that the group has a real influence on the state, which so far itself only seems determined to widen the road. Gibbs understands that the pine beetle epidemic is among the most pressing environmental problems in the region. And while Gibbs has not actually been out in the forest sawing down beetle-infested pines, he has worked hard helping mobilize resources, as well as encouraging other leaders in the region to attack the problem.He has lobbied Congress to pass laws that would give the U.S. Forest Service, local governments and timber companies more tools and incentives to thin troubled forests and do something with the lumber. He even envisions a line of products made from beetle-killed wood. Chlouber, perhaps dulled by his experience of having dealt with beetles for decades, doesn’t seem as eager to tackle the problem about which he has said there is not much that can be done. But we believe Gibbs’ ideas are more in line with the increasingly progressive populous of Eagle and Summit counties and will be a more dynamic representative and creator of solutions for the voters in Eagle County. Vail, Colorado

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