Meet Marsha Porter-Norton, Democratic Candidate for District 2

10/09/2020

We asked the four La Plata County Commissioner candidates to tell us what their priorities will be if they win their seats. Meet Marsha Porter-Norton. (The views expressed are those of the county commissioner candidates and are presented as a public service of the Local NEWS Network.)

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MY NAME IS MARSHA PORTER-NORTON.  MY GOAL IN RUNNING FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER IS TO CREATE HEALTHY COMMUNITIES AND A STRONG ECONOMY. WORKING TOGETHER ISN’T JUST A CAMPAIGN PROMISE  ----  IT'S WHO I AM AS A PERSON AND A PROFESSIONAL.     MY PROFESSION -  AND I HAVE MY OWN BUSINESS DOING IT – IS BEING A PROFESSIONAL MEETING FACILITATOR WHO MEDIATES STICKY ISSUES.  I HELP PEOPLE AND GROUPS – WHO DON’T ALWAYS SEE THINGS THE SAME WAY -- FIND COMMON GROUND AND COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS. WE NEED THIS NOW BECAUSE WE ARE SO DIVIDED AND POLARIZED. AND, WE HAVE BIG CHALLENGES: GROWTH, THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING, A RAPIDLY-CHANGING CLIMATE, AND MORE.  LA PLATA COUNTY IS SPECIAL BUT WE NEED A LEADER WHO WILL WORK FOR EVERYONE   --   TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. MY ROOTS RUN DEEP HERE IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO. MY GRANDFATHER WAS A MINER IN SILVERTON. HE AND MY GREAT GRANDMA CARRIE EARNED JUST ENOUGH MONEY IN SILVERTON TO SETTLE A RANCH IN LEWIS, NORTH OF CORTEZ – AND,   THAT’S THE PLACE I GREW UP ON.  THIS RURAL UPBRINGING TAUGHT ME TO LOVE LAND AND WATER, WORK FOR MY COMMUNITY AND TO CARE ABOUT EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF THEIR POLITICAL STRIPES.  BECAUSE  --  AFTER ALL  -- WE ALL LIVE HERE AND WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER.  I TRULY BELIEVE THAT YOU CANNOT FIX A PROBLEM YOU CANNOT SEE. I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AND 2-3 ENDEAVORS TO MAKE IT.   MY HUSBAND AND I MOVED HERE 26 YEARS AGO AND WE BOTH STARTED BUSINESSES FROM SCRATCH. WHEN WE GOT HERE, WE WERE 30 YEARS OLD AND HAD A SMALL BANK ACCOUNT WHICH WENT INTO BUYING A MODEST HOME IN DURANGO. I KNOW LIVING HERE ISN’T EASY.    AND, I’M NOT GOING TO SUGAR COAT IT. THIS IS A TIME OF CRISIS, LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY.  FAR TOO MANY RESIDENTS ARE WORRIED ABOUT BASIC SAFETY, PAYING MONTHLY BILLS, KEEPING  SMALL BUSINESS OPEN, OR EDUCATING CHILDREN. THERE IS A LOT ON OUR PLATES.  THAT IS WHY WE NEED PROVEN LEADERSHIP -- WHICH SETS ME APART IN THIS RACE.  FOR 26 YEARS,  I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE TRENCHES SOLVING COMMUNITY PROBLEMS WHETHER IT WAS HELPING SECURE MORE HEALTH CARE FOR SENIORS AND WORKERS,  PROTECTING THE ENTIRE HERMOSA CREEK WATERSHED   --   A PROJECT I WORKED ON FOR 5 YEARS WITH MANY OTHERS - ADVOCATING FOR HIGHWAY AND EDUCATION FUNDING   --  AND  HELPING RESIDENTS BE SAFER FROM WILDFIRES.  I’M VERY PROUD OF THE FACT I SERVED AS A VOLUNTEER ON 10 NONPROFIT BOARDS AND APPOINTED COMMISSIONS.  I HAVE WON AWARDS FOR MY WORK FROM LEADERSHIP LA PLATA PLATA, THE COLORADO STATE FOREST SERVICE AND THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB.  EACH OF THOSE AWARDS WAS GIVEN TO ME BECAUSE I CAN WORK WITH OTHER PEOPLE AND BE A TEAM PLAYER.  I WILL WORK TO ENSURE THE COUNTY CONTINUES TO HELP YOU DURING COVID-19. COUNTY GOVERNMENT IS CENTRAL IN THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE.  I WILL ENSURE THAT THE NEW LAND CODE WORKS, FOR THOSE WHO ARE BRINGING PROJECTS THROUGH, FOR NEIGHBORHOODS AND THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT KEEPING OUR RURAL  CHARACTER.  A HUGE PRIORITY IN MY PLATFORM IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING. ALMOST 50% OF RESIDENTS LIVING HERE CANNOT QUALIFY TO BUY A HOME. SO, ICALL FOR THE COUNTY TO DO AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLAN THAT FOCUSES ON FORGING PARTNERSHIPS AND GETTING RESULTS.  WE NEED TO WORK FOR GOOD JOBS.  WHAT IS A GOOD JOB? IT'S ONE THAT ALLOWS YOU TO PAY YOUR BILLS AND HAVE A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE. IF YOU’RE 19 YEARS OLD, A GOOD JOB MIGHT BE BEING A RIVER RAFTER OR WORKING IN ANOTHER SEASONABLE JOB. BUT, IF YOU’RE TRYING TO RAISE A FAMILY HERE, YOU NEED HIGHER PAYING JOBS. I WILL WORK FOR THAT.  WE CAN DO THIS WITH JOBS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY…BY EXPANDING OUR LOCAL FOOD AND SUSTAINABLE TIMBER PRODUCTS INDUSTRIES…BY MAKING LIGHT CLEAN MANUFACTURING AREAS A PRIORITY. WE MUST GET MORE BROADBAND INTERNET AND -- KEEP OUR TRANSPORTATIONS SYSTEMS AND AIRPORT -- MODERN AND STRONG.  WE ALSO NEED TO PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS. I WILL STAND UP FOR CLEAN AIR AND WATER. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE.  OUR COUNTY WILL SEE MORE WILDFIRES AND DROUGHT, LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW ALL OVER THE WEST.  I WILL LOOKS FOR MORE ROLES THE COUNTY CAN PLAY TO ADDRESS THE SERIOUS IMPACTS OF A CLIMATE THAT IS CHANGING TOO QUICKLY.  WE’VE GOT A LOT OF CHALLENGES AHEAD OF US. BUT, I AM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT OUR SHARED FUTURE.  I ASK YOU TO VOTE YOUR VALUES AND VOTE FOR ME, MARSHA PORTER-NORTON FOR COMMISSIONER.

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