Rippy: Legislature needs people skills |

Rippy: Legislature needs people skills

Allyn Harvey

Becky Rippy likes to make it perfectly clear that she has no political ambitions beyond the state House of Representatives.Rippy, a New Castle Republican, said she’s running for the seat being vacated by Gregg Rippy, her husband’s cousin, to bring a unique, human services perspective to state government.”The state has a huge impact on what we do here on the Western Slope,” said Rippy, a social worker and guardian.She works for Thomas D. Silverman, P.C. and represents children in dependency and neglect cases. She is the special advocate for children in the 9th Judicial District.Her work history includes program director for Gateway Youth and Family Services, owner/operator of the New Castle General Store and the New Castle Cafe, crisis worker for the Garfield County Department of Social Services, mental health evaluator for Colorado West Mental Health, and treatment counselor for Western Academy Residential Treatment Center. “I never had a plan to be a politician,” she said. “There’s not a lot of people in the state Legislature with my background and interests.”Rippy reckons her problem-solving experience will make her an effective representative for people living throughout the district, regardless of their political leanings. “We all have similar things in common – small town and rural lifestyles, the environment, ski resorts nearby.”In Rippy’s mind, the most important issue facing this district is the budget crisis. “All problems flow from it.”Like her opponents, Rippy would work toward amending the state constitution to reduce the most negative effects of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Amendment, or TABOR. At the forum in Glenwood Springs earlier this month, Rippy said she would work to undo the “racheting down effect” of TABOR, the constitutional limit on spending that in recent years has forced the state to radically cut spending on everything from education to health care.Although she doesn’t have any direct experience with the complexities of water law and the politics of diversion, Rippy said she recognizes that it is a critical issue for the 61st District. She said her people skills will be crucial toward reaching the kind of compromises that protect the district’s watersheds.”We have to fight transbasin diversion,” she said, “but we also need to find solutions that work for both sides.”Rippy also believes the Legislature should do more to assist small businesses by lowering commercial property taxes, which are collected at a higher rate than residential property taxes.Rippy is a Colorado native. She has lived in Garfield County for 25 years, the last 17 in New Castle. She is married to Steve Rippy, the New Castle town administrator. They have two children, Steven, 23, and Casey, 20.Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is