Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Candidate For Jefferson County Commissioner
1. Jefferson County voters did not support 1A, leading to budget reductions.
- How will you prioritize where cuts must occur in this or similar situations?
- What are your thoughts about how to deal with this situation to best meet the future needs of Jefferson County?
- Would you support a full repeal of TABOR? If yes, how would you propose achieving success at the ballot?
Tough budget decisions are being made and will need to be made in the future. This will require careful real balancing among a number of competing and important needs. On one hand, we want to keep the Jeffco culture and charm, yet we need to be able to afford those services. Each Department has managers and directors, including elected officials, who know the Departments and the budgets. County Commissioners need to work closely with, and support, those managers and directors and help set priorities based on needs not wants.
I supported 1A and would support a debrucing initiative in the county-because we need to. However, many Coloradans don’t even know what TABOR is, and many Coloradans do support TABOR. I do not believe that a full repeal of TABOR could be successful. In order to be successful at a debrucing effort, I think that we need robust education efforts on what TABOR actually is and the effects of TABOR. This education effort needs to be a truly grassroots neighbor-to-neighbor effort.
2. What do you see as the county commission’s role in pushing for 100% renewable energy by 2035? What will you do, beyond a 100% renewable energy goal, to help combat climate change?
The County has a robust Sustainability Commission that is represented by a variety of community members and has developed 6 goals. The Commission has been successful in working with XCEL Energy “Partners in Energy” initiative, supporting communities to identify their future goals and to “develop their future goals and develop strategic plans to drive activity.” As a County Commissioner, I would work with these community members and local communities to help combat climate change at the community level.
3. How will you address affordable housing, attainable housing, and housing for the homeless?
There are many strategies being developed to address affordable housing, attainable housing, and housing for the homeless at the local levels. For example, Arvada has conducted focus groups to develop a City Plan. An interesting approach is to pair up the seniors that are still within their homes with students and younger citizens who need housing. The City of Arvada is also utilizing co-responder services pairing up police officers with mental health professionals to work to provide housing and other services with our homeless population. I would support such innovative and creative approaches.
4. What do you see as the county commission’s role in addressing the needs of urban, rural, and mountain communities and how do you see them differing?
The primary role of the County Commissioners in addressing the needs of urban, rural, and mountain communities-as well as suburban and individual cities- is to first listen to their needs, then make policy. Certainly, growth is an issue that is a common theme throughout the county and its diverse population.
5. What do you see as the county commission’s role in addressing growth issues facing the county? What are your views on growth limits?
Growth issues facing the counties include comprehensive approaches that include affordable housing, homeless, mental health, and transportation needs. County Commissioners need to develop a strategic view on growth matched well with individual communities.
I do not believe that “one size fits all” growth limits are beneficial for our communities.
6. Tell us your thoughts on the health impacts of disturbing soil at Rocky Flats. How do you feel about the Jefferson Parkway? Will you commit to opposing any development on or near Rocky Flats, including the Jefferson Parkway?
Transportation is the number one issue identified by Jeffco residents, yet we need to balance transportation efforts such as the Parkway with public safety. While the particle testing this last summer was very disturbing, tests have been unable to replicate the disturbing results. Additional tests are being conducted and we need to objectively review those results. The County Commissioners need to continue to work closely with the Jefferson Parkway Authority to ensure that any approach prioritizes public safety and sustainability of the project.
7. What do you see as the county commission’s role in partnering with Jefferson County Schools?
Jefferson County and Jefferson County Schools are natural and vital partners. Our economic development is dependent on a strong and vibrant workforce. I’ve served as a leader in statewide workforce development efforts that have resulted in such successful ventures as the Pilatus jet expansion at the Rocky Mountain airport.
My commitment to economic development has been recognized by the Economic Development Commission with a Lifetime Achievement award.
8. What do you see as the county commission’s role in bringing about municipal collaboration across all Jefferson county communities?
I see the County Commissioner’s role as the facilitator and convener to bring about effective municipal collaboration across all Jefferson county communities. We need to recognize the constitutional rights of our municipalities as home rule cities while balancing with a comprehensive Jeffco-wide approach.
9. What do you see as the county commission’s role in health care in the county?
The county needs to work in partnership with our healthcare experts in the county.
10. If elected, what are your plans to engage your constituents?
Accessibility and engagement are demonstrated strengths in my career including in my 8 years as a State Representative. I currently host monthly bipartisan town meetings, monthly community coffees, newsletters, participate in community coalitions, social media. I’m around.