Action 22 honorees include two from the Valley

PUEBLO — Approximately 125 people attended the Action 22 State of the State Summit and Dinner with Legislators last Friday at the Center for American Values and The Waterfront restaurant in historic downtown Pueblo.

Among the dozen or so presenters were Former Governor Bill Ritter, Secretary of State, Wayne Williams and Congressman Scott Tipton. 

Also in attendance were Representatives Kimmie Lewis, Donald Valdez, Daneya Esgar, Polly Lawrence, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, Pete Lee and Senators Larry Crowder and Lucia Guzman. Dinner with Legislators featured Lt. Governor Donna Lynne as keynote speaker, and Scott Tipton presented awards.

The purpose of the Committee Summit was to determine Action 22 Issue Strategies for the 2018 Colorado Legislative Session. The five committees focused on the biggest obstacles in the 22 counties Action 22 serves. The committees determined strategies in education, healthcare, economic development, natural resources and rural government affairs.

During the Dinner with Legislators keynote remarks were delivered by Lt. Governor Donna Lynne who discussed growth, healthcare and broadband before she took questions from the audience. Congressman Scott Tipton presented four awards in two categories: Innovative Solutions and Excellence in Rural Economic Development. Two awardees were from the San Luis Valley.

For Excellence in Rural Economic Development:

- Three Barrels Brewery in Del Norte has helped give the community a “face lift” and has become a major economic driver for the area providing 26 jobs is a community of 1500. Three Barrels has partnered with the Del Norte Trails Organization, The Rio Grande River Restoration Project, Trout Unlimited, The Windsor Hotel, High Valley Community Youth Center, the Town of Del Norte and many other organizations to help build the community.

For Innovative Solutions

- In 2002, newly elected Costilla County Commissioner Joe Gallegos was searching for ways to cut costs for his county and create jobs. He began researching biodiesel and with the support of the other county commissioners built a biodiesel plant that now produces fuel for the county’s trucks and equipment with the leftover seed material used to make feed meal which is sold to local ranchers. Gallegos passed away in December 2016, a little more than a month after being elected to his fourth term as county commissioner.

“The Summit was a tremendous success,” said Action 22 President, Sara Blackhurst. “The slate of presenters was impressive and the community leaders who attended worked very hard in collaborating on workable solutions to their communities’ most pressing problems. We were especially grateful to the legislators who attended and we look forward to working with them during the 2018 Legislative Session to address rural Colorado needs.”