What’s next after the election?
Let’s be clear (and I cannot believe this needs to be emphasized): Colorado’s elections are secure. Everyone can be confident that their vote is counted accurately, and that the results reflect the will of eligible Coloradans who took the time to cast a ballot. Eagle County’s clerk & recorder’s office does an admirable job of communicating the process & results promptly. Our system is among the best in the entire country, and everyone can rest easy knowing that our elections in Colorado are safe, secure, and accurate.
Regardless of your affiliation or how you cast your ballots, we can all breathe easy. No more campaign emails, text messages, mailers, and advertisements in the Vail Daily or your social media feed. No more (well, let’s be realistic – a bit less) political bickering about this issue or that candidate. We have a brief respite before the next election season is upon us, and we should enjoy the relative quiet and calm.
As for an election recap, it has been amazing to be part of the process to bring forth an effort to develop a new regional transportation authority to the Eagle River Valley. It’s been a long road, dating back to 2019, with plenty of community engagement and stakeholder group feedback to listen to our community needs and build a plan.
Friends, thank you. We did it; we passed a regional transportation authority that is the single most collaborative and impactful community effort dating back to the creation of Miller Ranch. I have every confidence we will look back on this in 10 or 20 years and wonder why we didn’t initiate it even earlier.
Thank you to the voters for creating a new Eagle Valley Transportation Authority. Thank you to everyone who supported this collaborative effort and to the dozens of locals who served on the formation committee, stakeholder committee, and technical committee. Thank you to the business leaders who initiated the RTA effort in late 2019, and the elected officials who put it on the ballot years later. You’ve helped make our community more accessible.
Let’s look at a few other election results from the eyes of a radical centrist and explore what impact the passage or failure of these ballot initiatives means to Eagle County.
Eagle County Ballot Issue 1A: Lodging tax to support local workforce. While we need to be cautious to put the burden of funding solely on our largest industry sector (tourism and hospitality), this provides a much-needed funding source. Not surprisingly, voters supported this measure, and Eagle County now has a dedicated funding source for key community issues including housing and early childhood.
Prop 121: Reduce state income tax. There should be no surprise that this passed, and the joint budget committee will need to sharpen their pencils to ensure we continue to fund education, higher education, and other items that come from the general fund.
Prop 123: dedicated state income tax revenue for affordable housing programs. This one is coming down to the wire, which is somewhat surprising given it tackles one of Colorado – and certainly Eagle County’s – biggest issues.
My key takeaway from the election? I continue to be inspired and lifted every day by the passion, grit, and integrity of our community. Our ability to identify an issue, build a coalition, and make plans to address it is unrivaled across the Rocky Mountain region. Our community strength manifests in our ability to work together, collaboratively, to find ways to address community issues. I hope you enjoy the relative quiet until the next election cycle.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com