Thomas Crisofulli: Giving back to the valley he calls home
Republican candidate believes his background would benefit county's heath care effort
When the Crisofulli family — Thomas, Anastasia and their three children — left southern California 22 years ago, they found refuge and put down roots in Eagle County.
Now Dr. Thomas Crisofulli D.C. wants to serve the county his family has called home since 1998.
“This valley has been amazing for us,” Crisofulli said. “’I have been in practice here for 30 years and now I have an assistant and I have time to give back to this valley.”
To wit, he has launched a campaign as the Republican challenger for the District 2 Eagle County Commissioner race.
Crisofulli, a resident of Edwards, is the owner of Avon Chiropractic and Wellness. He now works two days a week at his clinic and believes his background could benefit Eagle County.
“The No. 1 thing I want to bring in is the health care issue in this valley. We are suffering in this valley. The options we have aren’t enough,” he said.
Crisofulli said many county residents believe they are adequately covered simply because they have an insurance card. The truth, he said, is very different and the county needs more options for health care coverage.
“I feel I have some expertise in that area and I would work with the county heath department to see what we could make happen,” Crisofulli said.
Affordable health care has been identified as one of the county’s four biggest issues, along with housing, child care and transportation. Crisofulli supports the recent valley-wide effort to expand mental health services, noting that these needs and the local suicide rate have long been a concern. He said these issues have taken on even greater importance as the county grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 in the county
COVID-19 has been a flashpoint issue in state and national politics, but Crisofulli applauded the county’s pandemic response.
“Our numbers have stayed pretty level,” he said. He noted that the county has managed to reopen businesses, schools and services. At this point, Crisofulli said he would like to seek additional movement to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Crisofulli believes the county, and the country, could learn something from Canada as it looks at economic effects of the pandemic. He cited a Canadian program that is working with landlords to provide incentives to lower or forgive rent payments. Under this program, Crisofulli said the people who own property can remain whole while the businesses that rent space can stay open. “If we get the landlords involved, the tenants can catch up,” he said.
“I was walking behind Village Market recently and there were multiple empty spaces. That is sad to see and I am afraid we will see many more,” he said. “This valley runs on small business and if we can’t keep them around, I am concerned about what will happen.”
Another business issue that Crisofulli wants to address relates to complaints he has heard from architects in the valley. He said people involved in the construction industry have told him it takes between three and five years, along with several thousands of dollars, to get a new project launched through the county review process. Oftentimes, he said, the money behind a deal pulls out because of the cost and length of that review.
“We need to come up with a better process,” he said.
And, he noted, that process will likely be tested in the near future. One of the lessons from COVID-19 is that businesses don’t have to operate expensive headquarters buildings. Companies have found that their workers can be officed anywhere, Crisofulli noted, and if people can work where they live, they will live where they want. He believes Eagle County will see a growth wave in the months and years ahead and that means more residential development on the horizon.
Crisofulli questioned whether places such as Edwards can handle much more density, pointing to the western part of the county as a more likely locale. Regardless of where the county’s next growth wave hits, Crisofulli pledged to work with local residents.
“I want to know what the people want. I always want to know what the public needs. I am supposed to be working for you guys,” he said.
As noted on his website, healthy school lunches are an important issue for Crisofulli. He wants to “put together a meal program to keep our children healthy.”
While operations of Eagle County Schools and Roaring Fork School District don’t fall under the direct purview of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners, Crisofulli believes he can help with the issue.
“I want to get in there and see what I can do to correct the diet in the schools,” he said. “There is too much sugar going down the hallways.”
Crisofulli noted organizations often believe a higher price point for organic produce means using organics can’t be cost-effective. But he argued that perception is incorrect and he would work to help schools make better nutritional choices.
Politically, Crisofulli said he is “A middle guy. I think I am right in the center.” One of his neighbors persuaded him to register as a Republican about a decade ago.
“As a businessman, I think to you get a lot more help from that party,” he said.
As a chiropractor and as a potential public servant, Crisofulli said he acts from the heart. “I am straight up and honest,” he said.
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