RANGELY | Colorado State Senator Randy Baumgardner held a meet and greet in Rangely in October where residents could ask questions that are foremost on their mind this election season. The questions posed to the senator varied from energy issues, the Wolf Creek Reservoir project, to gun control and education.
The senator expressed views that are consistent with conservative view points that serve as the foundation for Republican politics. Though he did state that the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds views he did not necessarily agree with, he still supports Trump over Hillary Clinton. He feels that it is important for those with conservative values to support their own party. I attended the meet and greet and then the next day Senator Baumgardner agreed to a one-on-one interview. He answered a few questions that are important to those living in Rangely and the surrounding area. One of the most important issues to many residents of western Colorado is the issue of land and water conservancy. As a rancher, Sen. Baumgardner says he understands the issue and keenly feels the concerns of residents in and around Rangely. His efforts to conserve water even on the Front Range will help residents on the Western Slope keep and utilize our water and avoid diverting it to other areas of the state. Another concern that Senator Baumgardner raised was economic development in Western Colorado. He feels that more needs to be done to preserve our small town way of life while helping the economy. The Wolf Creek Reservoir may be able to play an important part in the economy of Rangely. It’s important to bring people into the area for fun and recreation, which will help area businesses. Another issue that Senator Baumgardner was eager to discuss was recent legislation that he signed raising the salaries of many government workers, many of whom had not seen a pay raise since 1998. Senator Baumgardner will never see one dime of that pay raise because it is not set to take effect until 2019. This is after Senator Baumgardner will no longer be in office. “It’s just a lie,” the senator said of negative ads that state he gave himself a pay raise, adding that these lies serve to distract the residents of Western Colorado from the more pressing issues that face the future of the Western Slope. The senator visited Rangely several times in the past two weeks, attending a special work session for the reservoir project.