Our View: Donovan for Senate | VailDaily.com

Our View: Donovan for Senate

the Vail Daily Editorial Board

If this seems like a hometown endorsement, then it is, but only to a degree. After a long talk recently, we’re wholeheartedly endorsing Vail’s Kerry Donovan for a position in the Colorado Senate.

We were initially a bit ambivalent about this endorsement, for reasons beyond our usually parochial interests. Republican Don Suppes, currently the mayor of Orchard City in Delta County, is qualified for the job. Beyond that, a change in party of one seat could mean a switch in partisan control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican.

We don’t like one-party government. Given that the Colorado House of Representatives is likely to maintain its Democratic majority, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Democrat John Hickenlooper or Republican Bob Beauprez will be the next governor, the best chance for a divided government is flipping the majority party in the Senate.

Then we had a long talk with Donovan — as we did with Suppes — and the Vail native is, hands-down, the best candidate for this job, regardless of party affiliation.

The fact that so many of the Democrats’ traditional supporters — from trial lawyers to unions to environmental groups — have funneled so much money to Donovan is something of a concern. But we’re confident her first loyalty will be to the interests of her sprawling, seven-county Senate district. Those seven counties, by the way, are Eagle, Lake, Pitkin, Gunnison, Delta, Hinsdale and Chaffee.

Growing up in Vail, and after one term on the Vail Town Council, Donovan knows the resort business, and should be able to well represent the interests of nine ski areas in the district. She also seems to understand that the smooth function of Interstate 70 is important beyond that highway’s immediate reach. She’s also realistic about the scant chances of creating a rail line between Denver and Eagle, although she holds out some hope for it.

Between the Vail Town Council and managing her family’s ranch, Donovan has a good working knowledge of our state’s Byzantine water laws. Beyond that, it’s obvious she’s done her homework about the crop-growing and livestock-raising parts of the agriculture industry, as well as mining and the other economic drivers in the district.

In a recent interview, Donovan was able to speak at length about the coal mine closures near Paonia that have cost the area 300 well-paying jobs, and the prospects for helping the economy recover in that area.

Suppes would be a strong advocate for agriculture and mining, and has a strong understanding of state water law. But he doesn’t seem to grasp the needs of the resort industry very well. Again, there are nine ski areas in this district. That’s important.

Finally, it’s long past time for Eagle County to have one of its own in the state Legislature. The last time a county resident represented us in Denver was 1992, when then-Rep. Danny Williams served in his final session.

The county has been ably represented (for the most part) during the past two decades, but it’s going to be a good day when we have the local phone number of the person representing us in Denver. We’re confident Donovan will be an enthusiastic, hard-working representative for people in all seven counties of this district.

The vote for a new Senate majority will simply have to come from somewhere else.

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