Lindstrom: ‘I would hit the ground running’
Q: As the region’s drought persists, Front Range owners of Western Slope water rights will put increasing pressure on the area’s streams and reservoirs. What’s your plan to protect local interests while still honoring the legal rights of those who own the water? A: “For the most part communities in the mountains do not get water from lakes and reservoirs. Most of our water comes from deep wells. Our interest is normally not in using the water but preserving it for the environment and recreation. We want to keep our streams and reservoirs full to help our tourism economy. Every drop of water in Colorado is owned by someone. We should work very hard to keep the water here as long as possible before it flows downstream or to the Front Range. Small, high-altitude reservoirs are the very best way to accomplish this goal.”Q: As the Western Slope grows, so does its need for water. How can we meet that need, and what solutions are available at a state level to get the job done? A: “We need to always make sure that we have a seat at the table when the discussions happen. Through the Colorado River District and other water boards we need to use what resources we can muster to keep water on the west slope as long as possible. In the past we have used state laws to protect our interests and the state Legislature is critical to that process.”
Q: The state’s budget continues to be squeezed by the conflicting requirements of the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR), Amendment 23 and the Gallagher Amendment. Several efforts to craft a compromise solution failed earlier this year. What’s your favored solution, and how can a compromise be hammered out? A: “We need to stop the partisan behavior on the part of the senators and representatives. The only way we will find a solution is to work together. This is the fault of the Republicans and the Democrats. There is way too much turf protection going on in the state budget process. “I think that we need to amend TABOR to remove the limits on state revenues and to suspend Amendment 23 for a short period to recover our state budget. The effort to end Gallagher failed by a wide margin a couple of years ago. To encourage business we should work toward changing the way commercial property is taxed. We could also raise state income tax rates to increase revenue. Our income tax is very small compared to other states.”Q: With the state’s budget crunch has come postponement of several projects along Interstate 70. How crucial are any of these projects in the next 10 years? A: “They are all crucial. We are already in a crisis on I -70. We should be building a solution now instead of still talking about it. It has been studied to death. It is time to move. “If these projects are necessary, is it possible to get any of them started given the current budget? It is a matter of priorities. Five days a week the residents of Denver drive on the Front Range. Two days a week they drive in the mountains. The funding has been directed toward the seven-day-a-week issue to the detriment of the two days in the mountains. “If Governor Owens and Tom Norton decided to change their priorities we could get some relief in weeks and not years. It might take a change in governors in two years.”
Q: Finally, and using as little campaign rhetoric as possible, why do you want this job? A: “I feel that I am the best person for the job. I have worked in government for over 40 years and have been an elected official for 20 years. I would not have a learning curve and would hit the ground running in January. I first moved to the mountains in 1974, and I believe that I understand the needs and the wants of the people in our communities.”Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.Vail Colorado
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