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Webb: Standing up for small businesses, education

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Republicans took a pretty hard beating in last November’s election, especially in Jefferson County. However, we actually did elect a new Republican officeholder last November.

Rep. Colin Larson is one of Jefferson County’s new representatives in the Colorado General Assembly. He represents House District 22, which is in South Jeffco and the Ken Caryl area. He grew up in South Jeffco and graduated from Colorado College.

After working several years out of state, he returned to Colorado and opened up Atlas Coffee, a small locally owned coffeehouse, located on Ken Caryl Avenue in South Jeffco. His background as a small businessman who started his company from the ground up makes him a perfect advocate for small businesses, which need to be free and unfettered from government regulation to help them grow.

Education is where Larson hopes to have his largest impact because if you impact education you assist in reaching a good future for Colorado. He is attempting to do this in a bipartisan manner because since Republicans are a minority in the state legislature, you need to cooperate with Democrats to accomplish anything.

His first bill is to retrofit and refurbish schools for career and vocational programs. To learn and excel, students need facilities where they can prepare for their future in their chosen fields of study.

He also has sponsored a bill to permit withdrawals from Colorado’s 529 programs for K-12 education. Education is a lifetime endeavor, and permitting money to be used for a student at all points in life is something on which everyone across the political spectrum ought to be able to agree.

Pursuing education excellence ought to be encouraged mostly by removing restrictions and barriers that may exist anywhere. I feel fortunate to have Colin Larson as my representative in the legislature because he is responsive, courteous, and wants to make our community and state a better place.

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On a personal note, I will not be seeking re-election as the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party but will instead run for vice chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

What I have learned over these past two years is that citizens need to feel empowered. They wish to have their voices heard by politicians at the state and local level.

Parties play an important role in facilitating those voices despite the disparagement that is often heard about their role in the process. If you have a local party anywhere that preselects candidates and tells people who can run and who cannot, that is not a political party but a political machine.

The Jeffco GOP was not like that while I was chairman and hopefully never will be.

Joe Webb is the chairman of the Jeffco Republican party.