Ritter Appeases Western Slope Concerns

There may be no one from the Western Slope sitting on Gov. Ritter’s new cabinet right now, but that doesn’t mean the Western Slope will be slighted in Ritter’s administration.

Last week, director Reeves Brown of Club 20, a coalition of residents, business and elected officials, governments and organizations on the Western Slope, raised concerns about representation after Department of Natural Resources director, Russell George of Rifle, was not re-appointed.Brown stated in a letter to Gov. Ritter that “we hope you will also consider the value in having a geographically-diverse leadership team which represents the breadth of your statewide constituency.”

Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Gov. Bill Ritter, responded saying that even though Club 20 Director Reeves Brown raised “legitimate questions” about “geographical diversity,” he did not pass along any Western Slope applicants as co-chair of the transition advisory committee for economic development. Brown noted that the Western Slope applicants failed to meet department criteria.

In a teleconference call with the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial staff, Gov. Ritter said he would strive to make the cabinet more geographically diverse as his administration progresses. He expressed surprise that no Western Slope applicants made it through the candidate selection process in the transition committees.

“In the meantime, I will pay attention personally to the issues the Western Slope cares the most about,” Ritter told The Daily Sentinel.

Some of those issues are energy development, gas drilling in watershed areas, improving I-70–including looking at a new rail system and continuing to oppose transmountain water diversions from the Gunnison River.