The race for the Legislature | AspenTimes.com

The race for the Legislature

Dear Editor:Last night in Glenwood Springs, Al White and I met again in a continuing series of public debates for who will represent us in the state Legislature. The conversation went pretty much as it’s always gone.Al speaks of his work so far: “If you like what I’ve done for the last six years, then re-elect me, and I’ll keep doing it for two more.” I offer proposals pointing to new directions. Al responds, “Great ideas Andy, but how are you going to pay for them?”That’s a good question, and here’s my answer:When you find yourself in a hole, sooner or later you have to stop digging deeper and begin the difficult process of clawing your way out.In education, Colorado stands 49th in the country in school funding and 48th in graduation rates. In health care, we have by far the most expensive system in the world paying $5,711 per person, per year. For this, according to the World Health Organization, we rank 72nd in overall quality between Costa Rica and Latvia. On our public lands, we have gotten far behind the curve in balancing the needs of industry with the needs of environment and the BLM mandate of “Lands of Many Uses.”Sooner or later we’ll have to realize that we’ve dug enough. It won’t be easier if we keep putting it off. The deeper the hole – the harder the climb.So, how are we going to pay? Quite simply by spending smarter.There are better ways to provide health care. There are better ways to balance the cost of education versus the cost of poverty. There are better ways to balance industry’s right to a reasonable profit with the community’s right to preserve its future.I am running for office because I want to help lead us from the hole. It won’t be easy. It will take time. There will be some early costs. However, there is a head start. Phasing out the ad-valorem tax credit which we now give back to the oil & gas industry gives us $100 to 200 million each year to start. Will this alone solve every problem? No. But it will cover one or two things. And in time, the benefits of those one or two things will cover one or two more things. It’s a start. How much faster we can move depends on how much more you are willing to invest. But remember, investments have payoffs, and in time your payoff will be a leaner cheaper society with fewer problems and greater opportunity for yourself and your children.Only if you agree with this premise do I ask for your vote. If not, if you are happy with our current direction, then please vote for Mr. White. I do not want this job if it does not include such a mandate.But if the mandate is there, I am willing and able to begin setting the rope. The top of our hole is a long way up, but it is in site. I am looking forward to the journey.Andy GoldDemocratic candidate, Colorado House District 57Tabernash, Colo.