Economy is our No. 1 focus

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We’re proud to represent our communities and Jefferson County in the state House of Representatives, which reconvened on Jan. 9. During the 120-day legislative session we will be working hard to protect families and businesses in Jeffco and across Colorado.

As in years past, jobs and the economy are our No. 1 focus.

Though Colorado’s economy is recovering from the Great Recession, we all want to see a faster, stronger recovery with more robust job creation.

We can’t rely on the federal government to safeguard and accelerate our recent gains. Colorado’s recovery needs to be a Colorado solution emphasizing our unique strengths and needs. Fortunately, in 2013 we have majorities in both houses of the state Legislature that believe Colorado’s government can help improve the climate for job creation and turn a fragile recovery into one that’s strong and sustained.

The House Democrats have introduced a package of common-sense proposals to connect more Coloradans to good jobs. We will support measures to develop the bioscience, aerospace, electronics, information technology and other advanced industries in Colorado, creating high-paying skilled jobs. Our goal is to ensure that Colorado is a player in the industries of the 21st century.

We’ll shift the state’s economic development investments into programs that work, like the Small Business Development Centers, which target Colorado startups and produce more jobs per dollar than any other state program, and “economic gardening” programs that will help nurture and grow established Colorado businesses that are ready to take the next big step forward. And we’ll shift taxpayer dollars away from programs that produce lower return on investment.

We’ll also make sure our state spending prioritizes the hiring of Colorado workers making Colorado products and supporting Colorado families.But of all the economic development programs, none brings stronger, longer-lasting benefits than education.

An undereducated workforce will relegate our state and its citizens to the back burner.

We are committed to strengthening our excellent Jeffco K-12 School District, Warren Career and Technical High School, Red Rocks Community College and the Colorado School of Mines.

But right now we’re about $1 billion behind, statewide, in funding for K-12 education, and we’re on a path that could force us to defund our public colleges and universities.

We must commit to future generations that we will give them an education that will allow them to succeed.

It’s shaping up as an unusually busy session, with debate on marijuana regulation, gun safety, health care, oil and gas exploration and civil unions. And as we do every year, we will pass a balanced state budget.

On all these issues, and on any others that are of concern to you, we welcome your input. Our job in the state Capitol is to represent you.

Max Tyler (303-866-2951) represents House District 23 in Lakewood, Sue Schafer (303-866-5522) represents District 24 in Wheat Ridge and Golden, Tracy Kraft-Tharp (303-866-2950) represents District 29 in Arvada and Westminster, and Brittany Pettersen (303-866-2939) represents District 28 in Lakewood. For more information, go to cohousedems.com

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