There is still much work to be done. That’s the essence of Holly Williams’ announcement speech on July 24th. She has accomplished a great deal in the 2-1/2 years of her first term as commissioner. Among those successes are fighting the overreaching government control throughout the COVID pandemic; ensuring a fair distribution of “rescue” funding from the federal government; ensuring an efficient and transparent county government by doing more with less; working with local community leaders and other stakeholders to improve our road and transportation infrastructure. Her passion is talking to the folks, listening and hearing their concerns, and advocating for solutions. It is not done yet. Holly asks for your support and vote next year so she can continue working for you, our community, and our county.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO — It is an honor to serve the citizens of El Paso County Commissioner District 1. Today, I formally announce my candidacy for reelection as the Commissioner representing District 1.
In doing so, I would like to speak about accomplishments and looking towards our future. I never expected to deal with a 100-year pandemic and a Governor who was willing to use executive powers to shut down our freedoms and our economy. Each week, the Governor issued new rules and frequently surprised us. We worked on variances, then under a mask order, then with a Dial, and finally with vaccine distribution. We have seen a dangerous shift away from the principles of freedom and liberty that our founding fathers worked so hard to ensure.
Now we watch the Democrats at the federal level on a spending spree, endangering the future of our children and grandchildren. As the County receives $140 million in “rescue” funding from the federal government, I am committed to improvements in water infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, but most importantly, to direct as much funding as we are legally allowed into our aging roads.
I want to continue to ensure an efficient and transparent government. For more than ten years, El Paso County has been a statewide leader in budget efficiency. In 2005, the ten counties from Pueblo to Weld County (excluding Denver) and including Mesa formed a group to compare budgets, staffing levels, and overall efficiency.
Year after year, El Paso County ranks first in efficiency, Arapahoe is typically second, both counties are the two remaining counties that have not de-Tabored in any significant way. El Paso County runs its services at $276 per citizen, per year. This includes everything from state-funded programs that are passed down to El Paso County for which we have a responsibility to administer – child welfare, assistance for needy families, Medicaid, and adult protective services – to other programs and ideas that they do not fund including restrictions on our Sheriff.
I am thankful for my fellow Commissioners and past Commissioners for wise decision-making in the past 20 years about the finances of this county. I am also impressed and thankful to managers, department heads, supervisors, and employees who keep a careful eye on county finances to ensure that the county remains financially secure. We perform our services more efficiently with fewer dollars.
I love fighting for our region’s transportation needs. At the state level, we frequently wait ten to twenty years for a project to rise to the top of the list. Last December, I received a late Christmas present when I received a phone call that the intersection at Powers and Research had finally received the funding. Last year we also worked with regional partners to fund improvements around our military bases. We have regional needs with I-25, Powers, Highway 83, Highway 24, and even Highway 115 on the west side of Fort Carson.
As a board member on the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, we continue to hold fast to the “promises made, promises kept” philosophy as we fight to hold true to the ballot language of proposed projects to be done in our region. I look forward in the next two years to the starting of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105.
We still struggle with a large backlog of county road issues. We only dedicate 1/3 mill to our roads. I would like to see that amount increase. We have many roads that have failed – Jessie Drive near Antelope Trails and others and we are experiencing significant growth in the Tri-Lakes area adding pressure to Highway 83, Baptist Road, Highway 105, Shoup, Milam, Black Forest, and Vollmer Roads.
Right now, our biggest crisis is a shortage of asphalt – so learn how to avoid those potholes for a few months.
We need to increase the amount we can put into roads by increasing our roads budget, specific legislation at the state legislature, or even asking the voters for a local or public improvement district for a few years. I look forward to exploring some of these options in future years if I am re-elected.
Finally, I must tell you how much I enjoy the personal conversations I have with the citizens of this district. Recently, we had a group of local neighbors form a Road Safety coalition. It is so enjoyable to visit with constituents and walk the roads in their neighborhoods. We are trying to make significant improvements to Fox Run Regional Park, including a Northern Nature Center. Most importantly, I love to see the initiative from our local citizens and leaders – the Town of Monument, the Chamber of Commerce, local non-profits, the Black Forest Community Club, the Northern El Paso County Homeowner’s Associations, the Black Forest citizens involved in land use and trail developments, water districts and fire districts. It is a humbling experience to see so many leaders in this northern region of the county. Citizens are well represented in northern El Paso County.
I hope that you will support me in this re-election. I want to maintain our budget efficiency and transparency and fight for our transportation needs. But, most importantly, I want to continue working with and serving the dedicated citizens of our Commissioner District so that together we can maintain this area as a family-friendly and thriving community. Thank you for your support today and in the future!