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Ytterberg touts business experience in Senate race

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By Vicky Gits

As a longtime businessman in Colorado, Don Ytterberg identifies with the economic problems faced by the state in terms of maintaining the transportation network and creating jobs.

A 21-year resident of Hiwan in Evergreen, Ytterberg is challenging Democrat Dan Gibbs in state Senate District 16.

Ytterberg has raised five children, now ages 17 to 31, in the area and has been a participant in numerous community groups. All of his children went to Evergreen schools. He.

He has been an elder at the Bergen Park Church since 2002 and is a member of the Evergreen Kiwanis. He was a director of the Northwest Metro Chamber of Commerce from 1996 to 1997 and past president of the Colorado Association of Metal Finishers.

A Republican and fiscal conservative, Ytterberg believes his strengths are his experience and leadership abilities.

“My message of economic growth and energy development is timely. I have been a demonstrated and effective leader,” he said.

He promises to employ his financial discipline to cut spending.

“Legislators seem to believe that they can simply raise taxes to meet all new demands. They seem to forget the government’s money comes out of our pocket,” Ytterberg’s website states. I have created jobs, met payrolls and profitably executed business plans to grow my companies ee and I have made profitable use of limited financial resources.”

Ytterberg had been thinking about running for office for years but decided to wait until most of his children were grown. Originally he planned to run for Rob Witwer’s seat in House District 25 but was persuaded to try for the Senate instead.

Retired Jeffco teacher Howard Smith, a Republican, was one of the persuaders.

“He was a breath of fresh air, as far as I was concerned,” Smith said. “He was a businessman and not a politician. He knows the problems of running a small business. Some people you meet, and right away you are convinced they are the real thing, and he’s the real thing.

“He knows the real world, and Gibbs doesn’t. Gibbs has never had a real job or run a real company.”

Former state representative John Witwer, a Republican from Evergreen,

Said: “Colorado needs his sound fiscal judgment, depth of experience and strong character. These are not just words, these are the truth.”

Ytterberg has launched himself into a big arena for a newcomer. The 15th District encompasses 4,000 square miles, parts of Jefferson and Boulder counties, as well as Gilpin, Clear Creek, Summit and Grand counties.

To campaign properly, he had to take a hiatus from traveling but he still works full-time as the owner of a national concrete floor contracting company, Kalman Floor Co., with headquarters in the Bergen Park Business Plaza.

His strategy is to leave no stone unturned in his quest to become a legislator.

“We are going door to door, using mailings, phone-banking and visiting people.” He conducts an interview in Evergreen by cell phone from his car in the parking lot of a Starbucks in Frisco.

“The thing I like the best is the wonderful people I’ve met,” Ytterberg said. “I have been to places I would never have been invited to. I’ve met folks in every kind of trade. I’ve heard a lot of difficult stories. I’ve met many who are worried about energy costs and whether they can keep their jobs.”

The hard part is putting up with hostile people with extreme views.

“I have been spit upon by people of the opposite party. But that was extremely unique. Normally people of opposing views are quite cordial. Opponents generally give me a lot of respect.”

Ytterberg was educated as an engineer and earned an MBA. He always envisioned being an entrepreneur. Being a politician grew out of his interest in entrepreneurship and an experience he had while owning a metal-finishing company, Swiss Lenox, in Arvada in 1990.

“The Monday after Thanksgiving, the city of Arvada forced me to stop discharging water, which essentially meant closing down. I thought that was extreme. They could have called and asked me for the $100 license reapplication first. I thought that was a heavy-handed approach. So I became very sensitive to the workings of government and business.”

He likes the writings of Newt Gingrich. He admires Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln.

An avid golfer, Ytterberg has been testing clubs for Golf magazine for about 10 years. (He doesn’t get to keep them.) His great-grandfather was the famous golf club designer A.W. Tillinghast.

Ytterberg also likes to sail his sailing canoe on Evergreen Lake. It has two outboard dagger boards for stabilization and can be used for sailing, paddling and even motoring and fishing.

If he becomes a state senator, he wants to do more to encourage primary industry in Colorado and help business gain more access to federal lands to increase mining, oil-drilling and manufacturing jobs to underpin the tourism and service jobs.

“We need to work with the Division of Wildlife and the Forest Service to create jobs for the residents of our state.”

He envisions a public-private partnership to help fund improvements to I-70, as opposed to raising taxes.

“We saw that done with E-470. That type of model would be very effective. It shifts the capital burden to the private sector instead of generating more tax.”

Ytterberg’s friend Bob Male of Kittredge has known Ytterberg for 10 years through his church.

“I’ve watched him in action. He’s knowledgeable, a quick study, his emphasis is on family. He has a successful business here and is a good skier and fisherman. He’s just an honest guy who has natural leadership ability.”