Senator Ellen Roberts (R) explains that 88 percent of Colorado’s population is in the “Front Range” area that stretches from Fort Collins to Pueblo. As a result, Senate districts like hers in the rural, remote area of the state that reaches to the Four Corners where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona all connect, may face extra hurdles in dealings with state government. In particular, business owners can be frustrated working with state agency officials and employees who may have little understanding of the challenges in their part of the state.
Roberts and her Senate Republican Caucus colleagues have established the roundtable discussion approach to promote better communication and problem solving for the business owners and the state officials. Leading the roundtable in Durango on Sept. 20, 2012, jointly with Assistant Minority Leader Mark Scheffel (R), the two senators described the value of knowing the practical impact of laws and regulations on business. Scheffel indicated this was not a case of all regulations being bad—some are important for health, safety and other reasons. The key is to determine what is unfairly or unproductively hindering business. Nor was this a strongly partisan appeal, as “we have to do much of our work in cooperation with the other party.” They encouraged the attendees to speak about real life experiences—what was working well and what needs to be improved. Roberts told them that “when we are debating these business issues, it is your stories that come back to me and I can share them with my colleagues, showing what the real impact is on the ground.”
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