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Gerou’s apocalyptic riff turns heads at town hall

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State legislator reassures audience, discusses Capitol goings-on

By Stephanie DeCamp

In state Rep. Cheri Gerou's mind, District 25 has seen an apocalypse — or, to be more precise, four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Gerou spoke of pestilence, flood, fire and famine at last Thursday's town hall meeting, sponsored by the Evergreen Pathfinders at the Evergreen Lake House. The last of seven speakers, her statement caught the audience's attention, and she proceeded to elaborate.

Pestilence, she said, came in the form of the destructive pine beetles that the Front Range has been trying so hard to thwart.

Famine was represented by the recession across the country and the record numbers of those in need. Fire was painfully endured last year, only to cede to floods this year.

It's been a tough time, she said, but things are getting better.

At the Capitol

Gerou and her colleagues in the legislature have been busy, she told the audience. When it came to the issue of marijuana, she supported legalizing the medicinal use of the drug, saying, "I held my nose, turned my head, and voted yes (on the measure)." But, she said, she opposed Amendment 64, which voters approved last November to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Regarding Amendment 66, which would raise $1.1 billion for K-12 education by raising the state income tax, she warned that the process of allocating that additional revenue would be highly competitive. For example, $120 million was just pulled from public education, she said, to help rebuild the roads and bridges destroyed by the flooding.

Gerou also opposes a 1-to-10 fire-protection grading system some are proposing, a position that brought enthusiastic applause.

"I never will (support it) …," she said.

The measure would score individual areas on a scale of 1 to 10 to assess risk and the level of fire protection planned, she explained, and would possibly even limit those who can get fire insurance for their homes.

Gerou also warned of a coming effort to enact water-saving plumbing codes — a prospect that elicited grumbles from the crowd — that would proscribe how much water could be used in a toilet or flow from a faucet.

"I will fight it," she said grimly, "but it's coming."

Finally, Gerou, a Republican who has been representing Evergreen in the state House since 2008, urged those assembled to contact her with any complaints.

"(Call us) whenever you're not happy. We get so much smoke blown up our skirts about what's happening outside the Capitol," she said, adding that she wants to stay in constant touch with her constituents — and by so doing stay in touch with reality.