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McLachlan and Buentello’s rural economic grant improvement bill passes House

Staff Writer
LA Junta Tribune
Barbara McLachlan

DENVER, CO-- The House today voted to pass Representative Barbara McLachlan and Representative Bri Buentello’s bill to strengthen the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Grant program. The REDI program provides grants that strengthen and diversify rural economies and create new jobs. The vote was 49-14.

“My district and other rural communities across Colorado need a lifeline, and that’s exactly what this program provides,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “Given the unique economic challenges presented by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to ensure that rural communities aren’t left out. Today we’re prioritizing rural economies by providing needed support to hardworking Coloradans and small businesses.”

"The REDI program has a proven track record of providing direct support for economic development in rural communities,” said Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo. “As a rural legislator, I know the impact that this investment has on the lives and economies of hardworking people in places like my Southern Colorado district. This bill is a big win for rural Colorado, and I’m proud to have played a part.”

SB20-002 would codify and strengthen a successful existing program, REDI, in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), to be administered in collaboration with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The bill will ensure that the program continues to work and that certain improvements are made in order to ensure that rural economies are more successfully bolstered.

In addition to formalizing the program in statute, SB20-002 would require that DOLA adopt rules for application procedures and timelines, criteria for a matching funds requirement, and performance and reporting requirements related to REDI. The bill would also require that DOLA report on the use of the REDI funds.

Brianna Buentello