Republican Terri Carver is the incumbent representative for Colorado's House District 20. Carver is a lawyer who was with the Judge Advocate General corps for the US Air Force Reserve until 2014. Part of her district includes the Air Force Academy.
What is your top issue for the next legislative session, and how do you plan to fix it?
Carver: The top priority for me is to help our state recover from covered in 2020. I supported legislation that provided grants to small businesses with 25 employees or less, those that had not received any prior assistance. I also supported a small business loan recovery, as well as alcohol to-go sales from restaurants or bars for the next two years. These were practical pieces of legislation to help our struggling business community get through COVID.
I also have helped many individuals in El Paso County with their unemployment insurance claims that have gotten caught up in the bureaucracy as well as virtual town halls to help small businesses and independent contractors such as massage therapists and those that operate hair and nail salons, do compliance with the public health orders, as well as be aware of any assistance programs that were available to them. So we know we have a journey to recover from COVID, and I am committed to helping our businesses in El Paso County recover and thrive.
How can the legislature address the state's housing and cost of living issues?
Affordable housing is a serious issue here in El Paso County, as well as statewide up in the state legislature. We've tried to address this issue in numerous ways. First, we found that there was a loophole in Colorado law that abusive and frivolous lawsuits were acting as a barrier to construction of new housing units such as multifamily condo and townhomes. And in a bipartisan legislation, we close that loophole and the Governor signed that bill. And we have seen more construction take place, particularly in multifamily housing.
However, we know with a growing population here in Colorado and people moving to Colorado that this is an ongoing issue to have a sufficient supply of affordable housing stock locally and statewide. So the initiatives for tiny homes, provisions in our tax code to encourage developers to build affordable housing, particularly housing for our low-income population, remain very important to solving this problem. And I will continue to work with our local community leaders to address affordable housing here in El Paso County.
Should COVID-19 be handled more at a local level or from a top-level approach in the state?
There's been much discussion in Colorado during this COVID crisis on the best approach in addressing public health guidance and restrictions, whether it should be at a county level or a state level. We have 64 counties in Colorado. We are a very diverse state from highly populated counties along the Front Range to sparsely populated rural areas of our state. And certainly, during this terrible COVID crisis, we have seen high numbers in some counties, but some of the rural areas have had no to few cases, both in positive numbers of cases as well as hospitalizations in El Paso County are excellent.
El Paso County Public Health has worked closely with our county commissioners in opening up our business community with county variances. We also had a county variance to allow for high school graduations, and our El Paso County Public Health is working closely with our local school districts as we reopen schools in El Paso. And so I believe there is a lot of benefit to a county led approach. And certainly, our experience in El Paso, working on variances that best fit the situation in El Paso, has been a benefit to our community.