Contributed by Colorado Sen. Larry Crowder
Dear Senator Gardner:
Thank you for your leadership on COVID Relief and so many other issues. I know of no one who has more consistently and effectively stood up for Southern Colorado. Time after time you are always there for us.
In these truly perilous times, you have consistently and effectively reached across the aisle to come up with solutions.
Senator, going forward many of my colleagues and I urge you to continue to push for critical and flexible assistance to State and Local Governments. Without that critical assistance communities across Colorado will face major cuts to vital services. To quote from the letter you and Senator Bennet authored: "We strongly support funding mechanisms for states that assist with a glide path back to prosperity until the economy returns to pre-crisis conditions." This is an excellent analysis of the assistance state and local communities need along with the flexibility to do the job.
To me what is most worrisome are the cuts that law enforcement, rural schools, and local counties will face. Those cannot be sugarcoated. Many schools will require hundreds of thousands of dollars just in physical renovations needed to protect the health and safety of returning students. And as you well know, rural schools get hit the hardest. And even in smaller communities, law enforcement has taken a hit between COVID-related budget cuts and the demands caused by recent riots and unrest.
Law enforcement and rural schools will face cuts whether the local governing body is headed by Democrats, Republicans or Independents. These cuts will be faced in every corner of the State in communities large and small.
The Senate also needs to move quickly to appropriate this assistance. Delays until after the Fourth of July or later will only exacerbate a bad situation. The Administration and the Senate leadership should know just how critical the needs are in Colorado. I would urge those funds be sent directly to our towns, counties, and school districts as they know best how to spend those dollars wisely, effectively and efficiently and without needless delays, bureaucratic red tape, and political gamesmanship.
Thank you again for your tremendous work on this, and know that you have my full support. I am happy to discuss this with you and your staff at any time. I look forward to seeing you in the very near future.
Senator Larry Crowder