Denver, CO – Today, Walker Stapleton is meeting with rural Coloradans in Greeley, Fort Morgan, and Sterling to discuss his priorities for rural Colorado. As Governor, Walker will expand rural broadband, institute policies that will help farmers and ranchers, and make sure government is more in-touch with rural Colorado.
“As Governor, I will be a voice for rural Colorado,” said Walker. “I will pursue policies that promote rural economic development and ensure there is abundant economic opportunity for our children. Colorado succeeds when communities along the Front Range, Western Slope, and Eastern Plains have vibrant economies, and I will make sure rural Colorado is never forgotten.”
Access to high speed broadband is necessary to keep Colorado competitive in the 21st century. Unfortunately, Colorado continues to struggle with a deep urban-rural digital divide. A strong statewide telecommunications network will benefit students in our classrooms, entrepreneurs working in global markets, and citizens with needs for crucial health and safety services.
Walker continued: “As Governor, I have will have a three-pronged approach to get Coloradans connected: launching a Rural Broadband Task Force, mobilizing state government to streamline permitting, and maintaining our state’s high-cost fund. Coloradans deserves access to quality broadband no matter where they live.”
- Launching a Rural Broadband Task Force: Building out broadband infrastructure cannot be a top down, one-size-fits-all approach. As Governor, Walker will launch a Rural Broadband Task Force composed of community leaders from across the State, broadband companies, and key state officials to identify service gaps and provide recommendations on what policies we should adopt to maximize rural broadband expansion and increase speeds for Coloradans.
- Mobilizing State Government: State government can help accelerate broadband deployment through streamlining the permitting process and redirecting existing funds towards projects. Walker was supportive of the initial steps taken in SB18-02 to get dollars into the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to support development grants for rural communities, and he strongly supports our state’s move to streamline the siting process for wireless service. Walker will also direct our state agencies to keep implementing “dig-once” policies and coordinate projects to reduce costs and inconveniences.
- Maintaining our High-Cost Fund: Walker will work with the legislature to maintain our state’s High Cost Support Mechanism to support rural telecommunications service. He will also work to improve oversight to ensure that these dollars are spent appropriately and that telecommunications companies remain accountable to Colorado taxpayers.
Supporting Colorado Agriculture
Farming and ranching are critical parts of Colorado’s economy and our shared Western legacy. Agriculture contributes more than $40 billion to the state’s economy each year and supports over 173,000 Colorado jobs. In addition, anchored by our world-class universities and agribusiness, Colorado is the Silicon Valley of Agriculture. The innovative potential in the sector stands to improve the quality of living for all Coloradans.
“As Governor, I will be an unwavering ally of our farmers and ranchers,” said Walker. “I will defend our agricultural sector by supporting fair trade and continue Colorado’s all-of-the-above energy approach so our agricutlture community has access to cheap, reliable energy.”
- Promoting Colorado to Global Markets: Walker will promote Colorado abroad and develop relationships with our allies in Asia to open up new markets. Working with the federal government and our allies abroad, he will aim to welcome new consulates to Colorado and build stronger relationships with our trading partners.
- Comprehensive Energy Strategy. Our agricultural community is keenly aware of the importance of energy both as producers and consumers. Many farmers and ranchers use their property or mineral rights to produce energy and this provides these Coloradans a diversified revenue stream. Affordable energy is essential for heating facilities, shipping feed, and moving products to market. As Governor, Walker will not impose unrealistic energy standards that stand to bankrupt rural Colorado business operations.
Bringing Government to the People:
Walker will open up regional offices across Colorado to better connect Coloradans with their state government. Senators Gardner and Bennet have several regional offices in different parts of the state and there is no reason why the state government should not also have a presence in different communities.
“Too often, our state government operates in the Denver bubble but our state is expansive and diverse. I will staff field offices across the state to create a resource for Coloradans and provide all constituents a direct line to the Governor’s Office. It’s time to bring state government closer to the people.”FacebookTwitterGoogle +