Millie Hamner was appointed to House District 56 for Summit, Lake and Eagle counties two years ago. With the 10-year census came the re-drawing of districts.
This is done to have about the same number of people in each district. So, Rep. Hamner is running in her first election as an incumbent and with new counties to serve in District 61. This district now includes the North Fork Valley and Surface Creek in Delta County, Summit County where she lives, Lake County, Pitkin County and northern Gunnison County. "It's a huge geographic area," Rep. Hamner said.
Her service as superintendant of schools in Summit County led to her appointment to the legislature. Rep. Hamner says public education has been her life.
She began as an elementary teacher in Eagle County. She moved to Summit County in 2001 to become the assistant superintendent and then was asked to be superintendent to complete the 2003-2004 school year.
"I have this history of being asked to step up into new positions, and I have done that my whole life," Rep. Hamner said. "When this opportunity came available to serve in the state legislature it was no different."
In the two years she has served in the minority party in the legislature she has had success. Gov. Hickenlooper asked her to sponsor pieces of legislation. She tackled the length of time teachers were spending in renewing their teacher licenses. It was hurting substitute and longtime teachers.
Last year, the governor and the Republican chair of the education committee asked Hamner to be involved in revising the basic literacy act. Hamner is proud that the legislature was able to stop the annual cutting of school budgets last year. If re-elected, she wants to "seriously look at how we fund our schools."
Rep. Hamner is impressed with the way the coal industry here works well with agriculture and local environmentalists. "I want to learn more about the coal industry. I certainly want to support all of my constituents. I've met with the Colorado Mining Association to develop understanding of more of their issues and concerns . . . What I have heard is that the major concern is around federal regulations being put in place to make sure our coal is clean. Over the next couple of decades the weather is expected to be hot, dry, windy. The over arching concern is what can we do to make sure that we are dealing with the affects in our climate whether we agree that there is global warming or not."
The coal industry, she said, is afraid they won't meet new regulations in the time period provided. She can't control regulations at the federal level. "What I can do as a state legislator is try to deal with issues and concerns the industry is facing and continue to bring people to the table to reach agreements that work for everyone in Delta County," Rep. Hamner said.
In her first term, Rep. Hamner has worked on protecting forest health and watersheds. The governor signed her bill to help create forest restoration jobs. She has worked on the governor's tourism board. Tourism brings in revenue without raising taxes, she said.
While in Paonia, Rep. Hamner had a "meet and greet" at The Living Cafe last Wednesday.blog comments powered by Disqus