Last updated 8:14PM ET
December 12, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Sen. Salazar Unveils Regional Plan
(2008-02-21)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Colorado U.S. Senator Ken Salazar is criss crossing the state this week, releasing a series of ten regional plans to address issues he's identified that must be addressed.
He came to Durango Wednesday to detail his Southwest Colorado plan.
And took feedback from about 60-people in attendance.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: The Democratic freshman senator's regional plans are the fruit of months of meetings with local officials, voters and more, held over the last year during listening sessions.
Wednesday, a standing room only crowd of sixty or so people in the Durango School Board meeting room listened as Salazar detailed his plan for the Four Corners region, comprised of LaPlata, Archuleta, Montezuma, San Juan and Dolores Counties.
Salazar's plan prioritizes 7 areas of concern.
SALAZAR: THE FIRST IS JUST MAKING SURE THAT OUR AGRICULTURE HERITAGE IS JUST KEPT ALIVE AND WELL, AND SO I PUT THAT AS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE.
Salazar lists fighting for land and water as second, including monitoring the Desert Rock Power plant in New Mexico.
His third priority is protecting tourism, hunting, fishing and recreation in Southwest Colorado.
Fourth includes pushing for renewable energy, followed by insuring the region receives its fair share of federal dollars, in fifth.
His sixth priority calls for helping law enforcement insure communities are safe and secure.
The last and seventh priority, making health care affordable.
SALAZAR: THERE'S A LOT IN HERE THAT WE'VE IDENTIFIED FOR SOUTHWEST COLORADO.
Those in attendance added to the list.
One of those, Ute Mountain Ute Vice Chairman Gary Hayes cited proposed federal budget cuts for native american housing, health and education, not mentioned in Salazar's plan.
HAYES: THOSE TYPE OF PROGRAMS ARE NEEDED NOT ONLY FOR THE UTE MOUNTAIN TRIBE BUT THROUGHOUT INDIAN COUNTRY, AND WE JUST WANT HIM TO UNDERSTAND THAT ISSUE BECAUSE HE'S BEEN A SUPPORTER FOR US IN CONTINUING THAT FUNDING.
Others asked Salazar to be more specific in his plan, such as outright opposing Desert Rock, better address economic challenges facing the region, provide resources to address civil rights issues unique to Southwest Colorado, looking into mass transit funding for the region, and more.
Marsha Porter Norton, active in addressing local health issues, didn't find it disturbing Salazar listed health care affordability as his seventh and final priority.
NORTON: I BELIEVE THE FACT IT'S IN HIS PLAN WITH SPECIFIC POINTS IS WHAT WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON. I THINK AS, IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS AS HEALTH CARE GETS MORE SERIOUS FOR PEOPLE, AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE CAN'T PAY THEIR PREMIUMS AND BECOME UNINSURED, IT WILL RISE TO EVERYBODY'S TOP AGENDA, AS HE SAID.
Salazar also won plaudits from many for his efforts.
One of those was San Juan County Commissioner Peter McKay.
MCKAY: OH TOTALLY OPTIMISTIC. I LIKE THE REGIONAL PLAN IN GENERAL BUT WHEN I LOOKED AT SPECIFIC POINTS, THE SENATOR IS AWARE OF OUR FIBER OPTIC SITUATION, IT'S A LACK OF FIBER OPTICS INTO SAN JUAN COUNTY.
Salazar says his regional plan will be the blueprint for his activities in Washington over the next two years of his first term.
SALAZAR: YOU KNOW, THERE ARE PIECES OF IT THAT ARE ALREADY BEING IMPLEMENTED IN LEGISLATION, THERE ARE PIECES OF IT WE ARE IMPLEMENTING THROUGH ASSISTANCE AT RESOLVING PROBLEMS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK ON THIS PLAN AND TRY TO MAKE IT A REALITY.
On a political note, Salazar says he has not yet decided who he'll back, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.
SALAZAR: IT'LL BE THE FIRST TIME WE'LL HAVE A U.S. SENATOR OF THE UNITED STATES, I'M PROUD OF THAT FACT, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WELL WITH THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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