Governor makes Snowmass stop | AspenTimes.com

Governor makes Snowmass stop

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Gov. Bill Ritter addresses the Colorado Municipal League in Snowmass Village on Thursday. (Charles Agar/The Aspen Times)
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SNOWMASS VILLAGE Gov. Bill Ritter addressed members of the Colorado Municipal League in Snowmass Village on Thursday, highlighting his vision for the state and policies that affect municipalities.”While we might see things differently, we will always listen,” Ritter told a crowd of nearly 500 state municipal officials, who greeted him with a standing ovation.Ritter chimed in on renewable energy, conservation, transportation, health care, education, and water, summing up some recent legislation and the goals of his administration.And, on a day when an immigration bill failed in the U.S. Senate, Ritter spoke out in favor of Bush’s ideas.”I’m not promoting illegal immigration,” Ritter said, but he stressed the importance of acknowledging the number of illegal workers already in the U.S. and who “need to be brought out of the shadows.” Ritter said he is concerned about Colorado farmers forced to leave crops rotting in fields for want of legal workers to pick for them.The immigration measure would have allowed some illegal immigrants in the U.S. to become citizens, would have provided potential immigrants with a chance to become legal guest workers and strengthened the border. Senators rejected a motion to bring the bill to a final vote.The governor was outspoken on renewable energy and conservation, saying changes are important to economic development.”The conversation on climate change has itself changed,” Ritter said, citing recent science and consensus among Democrats and Republicans about the issue.”We’re in the game,” Ritter said of recent efforts to encourage renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. And he congratulated state Sen. Gail Schwartz of Snowmass Village for helping make Colorado unique among coal-producing states and lead the way with renewable energy.State officials installed solar panels on the governor’s mansion, and Ritter said it is an important step and a chance for government to lead by example.Ritter stressed that as traditional fuels become more expensive, alternative sources are becoming more affordable, and he called for 21st-century answers to state transit issues.During a short question-and-answer period, an official from Lyons asked if the governor knew of a recent road-widening that swallowed a critical shoulder popular with bicyclists, and Ritter joked that he and Russell George, director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, would personally bicycle there to see it themselves.Both Ritter and George will be in Meeker today for a meeting of the Colorado Transportation, Finance and Implementation Panel, the governor’s blue-ribbon panel focusing on solutions for the state. Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland is a panel member.Show me the money!Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy was in Aspen this week to fulfill a campaign promise of communicating with Colorado citizens.Kennedy recently released the State Taxpayer Accountability Report, a breakdown of state assets and spending she called “accessible.””We wrote it from the perspective of the taxpayer,” Kennedy said, and the report’s clear graphs and writing simplify traditional public finance reports Kennedy said only an accountant could comprehend.”Everything we do is public,” Kennedy said, and while Colorado is a low-tax state, it is important to communicate with citizens with an “objective annual report.””You wouldn’t want to invest in a company without having access to records,” Kennedy said, adding “We’re all shareholders in the state.”To download a copy of the STAR report, visit http://www.colorado.gov/treasury.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com


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