Robinson in District 55
It’s difficult to overstate Dan Robinson’s experience and understanding of issues facing youngsters in Colorado and the variety of ways we deal with them.
Robinson founded Mesa County Partners and served as its first executive director. He later spent 19 years as director of the Division of Youth Services juvenile detention center in Grand Junction. He served eight years on the District 51 school board, and has been a member of the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees for three years.
The Grand Junction attorney, now in private practice, also spent several years dealing with youth issues as a prosecutor working for former District Attorney Steve ErkenBrack.
That impressive breadth of experience and Robinson’s commitment to the youth of this region for nearly four decades are why we endorse Democrat Robinson over incumbent Republican Rep. Ray Scott in the newly redrawn House Distrct 55.
Scott has been an unabashed voice for business in general and the oil and gas industry in particular during his time in the Legislature, and we applaud him for that. And, while business issues and those related to oil and gas remain critical for western Colorado, we believe the most crucial issues of the next few years will involve education and education funding.
There is expected to be a much-needed effort to rewrite the Colorado School Finance Act, which is decades old and perpetually leaves District 51 near the bottom of the funding ladder.
There is a lawsuit over the state’s system of funding schools that could radically revamp the way we provide and distribute money for our schools.
There is a big question about whether Colorado is going to eliminate state funding for higher education and force our public colleges and universities to become private institutions.
On all these issues, Robinson has much greater knowledge than Scott. But it’s not as if Robinson is reflexively arguing for higher taxes to deal with them. He recognizes that Coloradans have little enthusiasm for raising taxes now.
“But if we don’t have new money, let’s distribute what we have more equitably,” he said. One way to do that, he suggested, is to change the way school enrollment is counted — and funding distributed — based on a single day’s attendance in October. That doesn’t account for changes as the year progresses.
As someone who was long involved with the state’s corrections system, Robinson also believes there are budget gains to be found in that system.
“It costs $50,000 a year to lock a kid up,” he said. “If we could shave $5,000 off that, it would add up to a lot.”
Robinson hasn’t ignored business or oil and gas issues. He wants the state to offer more incentives to promote natural gas fuels for vehicles and improve the market for our local gas. He thinks the state should restore some of the money it once spent on tourism promotion to help tourism throughout the state.
Additionally, Robinson has pledged to work with members of both parties on these issues, not hew to a strict party line.
We urge a vote for Dan Robinson in House District 55.