Gov. John Hickenlooper has been promising for nearly a year that his administration will work collaboratively with county governments, which are considered an arm of state government.
From the executive order he signed on his first day in office in January, agreeing to not impose “unfunded mandates” – laws that cost money but that don’t include additional funding – to his “Bottom-Up Economic Development Plan that included input from Colorado’s 64 counties, Hickenlooper says he’s different than previous governors. And, he said Tuesday, Colorado is becoming a state to model because of the difference in his leadership style.
What do county commissioners from around the state think? Here’s what a few said at this week’s winter conference of Colorado Counties Inc. The conference is being held in Colorado Springs and ends Wednesday.
“Right now, I think he’s doing a tremendous job. I’ve seen not only the lip service but the walk and the talk. He hit the ground running to not discount the local views, hence his Bottom-Up Economic Development Plan. His administration is responsive and engaged, and they care about local input. But our approach is: ‘We trust but verify.’ So we’ll be watching for the accountability factor.”
– La Plata County Commissioner Kellie Hotter
“I think he’s doing a fantastic job. It’s impressive how he’s reached out to counties and the issues that affect citizens. He’s taken four years of going backward and is bringing us forward. He’s accessible. He’ll listen. He’ll do what he can. DouglasCountyis a Republication bastion and my constituents all say the Governor is doing a great job.”
– Douglas County Commissioner Jack Hilbert, Commissioner
“He’s a brilliant man. He has a fantastic team that has expertise, as well as the heart to truly work with local government. It’s results that really matter, and the Governor and his team have provided those results. I’ll give him an A.”
– Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson
“I think the Governor gets the message from the counties – that state government can’t continue to send their problems down to the counties on a number of projects. I think he understands that, and the counties understand the state is under a lot of stress. There are still long-range concerns and long-term issues, and people tend to pay the price at the county level.”
– Fremont County Commissioner Ed Norden