As a state representative, I have the distinct responsibility to ensure that Colorado’s rural communities thrive. It is of the utmost importance to bolster rural communities’ resources and opportunities.

Too often, I have seen the consequences that rural Coloradans suffer as a result of very limited means, yet state resources seem to get vacuumed into the Metro Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder areas. Part of why I ran in the first place was to fight for our fair share of state dollars for our public services out here.

It’s no secret that law enforcement efforts require more support. A strong and capable law enforcement agency is, without a doubt, the backbone of local communities. Those who hope to join these agencies require training and education for qualification. In particular, to become a peace officer, you must pay over $1,000 to participate in the training program. For many, this is a huge barrier.

This is why I am sponsoring HB20-1229; it would authorize the Peace Officer Standard Training (POST) Board to establish a scholarship dedicated to alleviating the costs of Peace Officer training. These scholarships will help officer candidates in our rural communities receive training. In sponsoring this bill, it was my priority to specify that these efforts should be directed toward rural and smaller jurisdictions. In taking these steps, we ensure that these candidates have the opportunity to advance their careers as peace officers and protect our communities.

I also had the honor of hosting Sheriff Shawn Mobley of Otero County in committee as we worked together to pass this important bill. His support was paramount in communicating to the members of the committee just how critical this bill is for the protection of rural Colorado.

It is also crucial that we extend support for active or honorably discharged members of the armed services and their dependents. Military families brave so many obstacles and sacrifices in order to protect our nation. To honor their dedication and service, we must support military families in their pursuit of higher education. HB20 -1184 will allow members of the armed forces and their families to be eligible for an in-state tuition status with community college. After completing their duties, service members should feel taken care of by the country they’ve served. I have first-hand experience with the lessons and hardships that come with being a military family.

With this bill, it is my hope that service members and their families can gain the many benefits that are derived from higher education and find their place as they return back to their country.

And finally, a large portion of rural Colorado’s economy is dedicated to farming and agriculture.

With the Colorado Seed Act, all seeds are required to have accurate labels that include the seeds’ germination and purity. HB20-1184 will continue the Colorado Seed Act, with its new, additional amendments to continue promoting the needs of Coloradan Agriculture. In maintaining this act, we can assure that quality seeds will be sold appropriately. This bill will require detailed seed labeling to enhance crops while also discouraging the distribution of low-quality seeds. The sale of low-quality seeds with indiscriminate origins can result in harmful crops and plantations while undermining the market for good quality seeds, our farmers have worked hard to maintain.

This collection of bills and resolutions is one step toward ensuring that our rural communities have the means to flourish. I look forward to continuing my work here at the State Capitol and making sure rural Colorado is safe for our children and families.