Taylor, Fetcher square off for state Senate seat | AspenTimes.com

Taylor, Fetcher square off for state Senate seat

Greg Masse
Glenwood Springs Correspondent

Jack Taylor says he has experience where it counts ” serving in the state Legislature.

After serving eight years as a state representative and the last four as a state senator, the 35-year Steamboat Springs resident is seeking another term to serve Senate District 8, which includes Garfield County. His opponent is Jay Fetcher, a rancher from Clark.

“I’ve passed over 80 percent of all the legislation I’ve carried,” the 68-year-old Taylor said, adding that is no easy task.

That means more than 80 percent of bills on which Taylor was the prime sponsor ” 189 in all, according to the Colorado Legislative Council Staff ” became law.

“If you look at the broad spectrum of categories, that comes from experience,” he said.

“People know I can pass legislation, so they want to get me as their Senate sponsor on a house bill.”

Taylor said his affinity for getting bills passed comes not only from experience, but also from the trust he’s earned from his colleagues during these past 12 years in the Legislature.

“You have to gain the respect and confidence of the other legislators, and that doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “That came over several years.”

Raised on a farm in Iowa, Taylor has a colorful past that includes traveling to both the Arctic and Antarctic circles on an icebreaker ship, as well as the islands of the western Pacific Ocean, while serving in the U.S. Navy. He worked on the Apollo Moon Landing Project while employed with Boeing Aerospace in New Orleans and helped build and staff the first oil refinery in Kuwait.

At some point during his travels, Taylor learned to ski, and he moved to Steamboat Springs in 1969. Since then, he’s been heavily involved with the community, serving on several elected boards and commissions before finally running for state representative in 1992.

“When I first campaigned I campaigned on common sense and business experience,” he said.

Now he’s campaigning on those two ideas plus touting his 12 years of experience as a lawmaker, making him the Western Slope’s senior legislator.

“I have walked the walk successfully for 12 years,” Taylor said. “Jay’s talking the talk, but he hasn’t walked the walk ” the legislative walk.”

Taylor said the state’s budget crunch is the biggest issue facing the district right now. He wants to see some kind of a compromise that would loosen restrictions instilled by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, and Amendment 23.

Taylor said another important issue is fighting for Western Slope water.

“We must protect our water,” he said. “I’ll fight to my dying breath to protect water rights and property rights.”

Jay Fetcher thinks it’s time for Colorado’s leaders to plan not just for the immediate future, but for the long haul.

Fetcher, 57, is taking that notion to Colorado Senate District 8 and challenging incumbent Jack Taylor for the district’s Senate seat.

“Our current leadership is leaving our children a future filled with debt, a crumbling public education system, skyrocketing health-care costs and a habit of looking five years down the road instead of 50,” Fetcher said. “I think that we can do better than this. I will fight for local control of school, quality health care and to protect and preserve our water.”

Although Fetcher has never held a seat in the state Legislature, the lifelong cattle rancher touts more than 35 years of community and government experience in District 8.

He has served for nine years on the Steamboat Springs Board of Education, four of those as president, and he’s the founder of the Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust.

Fetcher has also served on the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, the Soil Conservation Board, the North Routt Fire District Board, Governor’s Agricultural Lands Conversion Task Force, the Nature Conservancy Advisory Board and the Colorado Water Trust.

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