Irvine aims to unseat incumbent |

Irvine aims to unseat incumbent

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
Vail, CO Colorado
Debra Irvine

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – Debra Irvine has been knocking on “thousands of doors” to introduce herself and her campaign to the public in the lead-up to November’s election, she said.

She’s running on the Republican ticket as a representative for House District 56. Her platform has three main components: bringing business back to Colorado, preparing children for the future and encouraging communities to be prepared for emergencies.

Irvine, a proponent of small business, believes it necessary to create an environment of tax breaks and incentives, such as loans, that allow businesses to grow. She said small employers are more likely to take care of their employees, such as the case of a Colorado woman who cut her pay by $20,000 so she could keep employees.

“We need to keep that in mind and help them,” Irvine said, adding that she believes in small government. “People can do wonderful things if given the opportunity. Limited government makes that possible.”

Fluent in four languages (German, Italian, French and English), Irvine believes education is important. Children must be ready to go into the work force, she said, whether it’s immediately after high school or after trade school or college.

She said the state is ranked high in student confidence, but that confidence doesn’t translate to high scores in core subjects.

“We need to get back to that so they come away with a strong base,” she said.

Possible budget cuts in education could be back-filled by community involvement, Irvine said.

“We’re not taking advantage of a wonderful base of retirees and volunteers,” she said, explaining that children can learn about the global community from, say, an Air Force member or a diplomat – roles her husband filled during his life.

“A CEO who worked overseas has a wealth of information for kids,” Irvine said. “They’re out there, wanting to teach and inform people of their experiences. That doesn’t cost anything.”

In terms of the state’s thinning budget and the requirement to continually balance it, Irvine says “it’s not going to be easy,” but cuts will need to be made. It will require a hard look at programs and government employee positions to see which ones are still vacant or inactive and are not necessary.

Emergency planning is important, particularly in resort communities, because of the large tourist population. Irvine would make it a community effort to protect her representation areas and residents.

As for Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 – tax- and debt-limiting measures on the state ballot – Irvine said: “I see the merits” but also “see the anger that comes with the proposals” and that “there will be some ramifications that will be very hurtful.”

Irvine said her leadership style – one she hopes to bring into government – is one she learned as a reflective listener on a suicide hotline. The process is to listen to a problem and encourage stakeholders to reflect on that issue’s effect on day-to-day life. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the caller – or, in the case of government, the community – to create a solution. Part of Irvine’s method is encouraging the three counties in House District 56 (Eagle, Summit and Lake) to work together and share resources before appealing to government for intervention.

She also highlighted that she brings worldly experience and across-the-aisle experience to the table, after working in Brussels and the U.S. Department of Defense.

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