MATTHEW MARTINEZ

Campaign website: martinezhd62.com

Biography

  • My name is Matthew Martinez and I am a 7th generation Colorado native, born and raised in Monte Vista. I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2005 and was assigned to the infantry unit 2nd Battalion 1st Marines where I completed three deployments, the last of which was a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. I returned home and graduated from Adams State University in 2013 and was the first 2 term student body president in school history. I was elected to the Monte Vista City Council in 2014 and served a term. I am currently the Director for the Adams State University Prison College Program and I currently sit on the Valley Wide Health Systems and Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley board of directors. My wife and I currently reside in Monte Vista with our rescue dog Chico.  

Why do you want this job?

  • I am running for Colorado House District 62 because I want to fight and advocate for the issues that Southern Colorado holds dear. I want to protect the district's water against any outside entity that wishes to take or damage it. I want to improve the economics in this district by passing the Rural Colorado Economic Incentive Package that will provide resources to our area so that each county and city can invest in what they feel is most necessary. I also want to bring in renewable energy industries that will not only diversify our economy but give our residents a living wage, union jobs and get our economy back on track. I will advocate for access to healthcare and support community health centers and hospitals in rural Colorado. I will also fight for Colorado Veterans to improve mental health services and implement a program to combat the 22 Veterans that die every day from suicide. Southern Colorado needs a voice and a fighter at the capitol to ensure that our stories, our success and struggles are voiced and I have proven that I can fight for what is right and just. I want to ensure that Southern Colorado is taken care of, just as much as those in the urban areas. 

Budgeting in tough times 

(Choose one to answer)

> What is one bill you plan to sponsor that won't cost taxpayers anything?

> What new ideas do you bring in a time of budget cuts?

  • One bill that I would sponsor to reduce the deficit and would be a zero cost to the taxpayers is a proportionate cut across the board to all areas with the exceptions of healthcare and education should be done in order to balance the budget. The current crisis has shown the need for healthcare funding in order to adequately combat the pandemic and we cannot risk failing our children when education has been suffering in this state.  This approach is fair and equitable to all of Colorado and ensures that no one area is disproportionately affected by the fiscal crisis. Next, TABOR has directly caused the budget crisis that we are currently in and must be repealed.  Next, we have to ensure that these budget cuts do not come on the backs of the lower and middle class citizens. We also must allocate funds for economic development with an emphasis on the rural areas to assist with the recovery from this crisis.

Perennial budget issues

(Choose one to answer)

> How do we pay for education?

> How do we pay for transportation?

  • I will start with education. Currently, Colorado ranks 40th in the nation in K-12 spending in the nation and we must invest in our future now! While mill levies help increase funding, it disproportionately affects those in rural and impoverished areas. Additionally, this also disproportionately affects Hispanic and African American children and we must do better. To do this, I feel we need to reduce the money we spend on incarceration; specifically the money spent on private prisons and invest that money into education.  This can be used for better pay for our teachers, more supplies for classrooms and hiring of more teachers to lower the student to teacher ratio and enhance the learning environment. In regards to transportation, for far too long, the southern part of the state has been forgotten in regards to transportation.  This includes reliable public transportation, crumbling roads and bridges and maintenance equipment for municipalities and counties. While I understand that there are needs in the urban areas, I feel that it has been a substantial amount of time since a major project occurred in Southern Colorado. Until our part of the state is prioritized in the areas of public transportation and road and bridge repair, I will vote against any increase in this budget. Our communities do not have the money to do this on their own and the investment in rural Colorado is long overdue and would be extremely impactful.

Issues of the pandemic

(Choose one to answer) 

> Is the state reopening too quickly or too slowly?
> Are health care reforms an immediate priority?
> What are the best steps to rebuilding the economy? 

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating both for the health and safety of our citizens but also our economy.  As a state, we have an obligation to do what we can to prevent the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives.  We also have an obligation to help those who are suffering financially due to the pandemic as well. The reopening was adequate and I would push for more tests, especially for the rural areas to ensure we are keeping people safe while allowing businesses to reopen and start their recovery. In regards to health care reform, this pandemic has exposed holes in the health care system that must be addressed. First, since many insurance plans are tied to employment and many lost their jobs, they also lost their health insurance and added another problem to a growing crisis. I support Representative Roberts and Senator Donovan’s proposal HB19-1004 Proposal For Affordable Health Coverage Option. Additionally, rural Colorado saw far fewer tests than in the urban areas and while improving, it is still not where it should be to adequately combat the pandemic. Also shortages of PPE for medical providers are unacceptable. There is no easy button when it comes to rebuilding the economy. The state should invest in support for businesses that have weathered the storm and provide opportunities for small businesses to open and thrive. I want to propose a Rural Colorado Economic Incentive Package to help revitalize the economics in our part of the state. This would be run through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and have resources and money available for municipalities, counties and economic development groups through grants.  These resources would be for business recruitment, retention and infrastructure repair to help the rural areas recover. This allows for local control and an emphasis on mom and pop businesses that have defined Southern Colorado.

Working together

(Choose one to answer)

> What is an idea or approach your primary opponent has proposed that you intend to take to the Capitol?

> Name a current or former legislator from the opposing party you admire, and why.

  • The stance that both of us have on protection of water rights in the San Luis Valley is what I will take to Denver. We both oppose the Renewable Water Resource plan to take water out of the San Luis Valley because we understand that water is life in the San Luis Valley. Lastly, we both agree that our water is not for sale! I will fight to ensure that the district’s water is protected and sustainable practices are recognized, rewarded and utilized. I will also work with local farmers/ranchers to implement a common sense water plan. I will support our county and municipal governments in replacing our aging infrastructure and making sure that our citizens always have clean and safe drinking water.
  • While I do not agree with him on some issues, I have appreciated Senator Larry Crowder’s advocacy and support for healthcare and Veterans related issues.  Senator Crowder has at times voted against his own party for the betterment of the district. He has been a fighter for improved Veterans services in rural areas and speaks from experience.  He always supports the Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake, the oldest Veterans home in Colorado. I have worked with Senator Crowder on various Veterans issues and I respect and admire him for what he has done for both of these areas.

DONALD E. VALDEZ (I)

Campaign website: valdezforco.com

Biography

  • As a fifth-generation native of the San Luis Valley where my family roots run deep and growing up on the family farm and dedicating my life to the natural resources of water, soil, crops, animals, and the energy of the sun is and will always be an amazing way of life, to grow your own food for your family and for many others. The culture and our unique way of life in the San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado make us who we are today. I cherish our way of life and I will continue to be that positive individual in many ways and advocate for our natural resources but also for the people that live in our communities. After graduating from Centauri High School and attended Adams State University where I received my degrees and continue to mentor others that education is a way of life towards opportunities that arise. With that I will always continue to build and develop working relationships with the community and many others in the communities in Southern Colorado and in the State.

Why do you want this job?

  • As I travel across this great district, I’m reminded why I started this work – and it is because of each and every one of you. It is truly an honor to serve and work on policy for rural Colorado, where so much is needed. In this position I have gained so much more appreciation for our communities that we live in, with the beauty of the mountains that surround us with outdoor life and where agriculture is one of the many productions along with small businesses that connect our communities together. As your State Representative over the past two terms, I have accomplished a lot with my colleagues and made sure that rural Colorado has a voice at the state capital to advocate for the important things such as our water, education, broadband, infrastructure, and small businesses. I have the experience and knowledge to continue to build working relationships with the community and the people in Rural Colorado which I call home. I humbly as for your support and vote to continue to advocate for Southern Colorado. Thank you.

Budgeting in tough times 

(Choose one to answer)

> What is one bill you plan to sponsor that won't cost taxpayers anything?

> What new ideas do you bring in a time of budget cuts?

  • Yes, we need to balance the budget and in tough times making cuts are hard to the balance the budget. One needs to prioritize the importance of the K-12 education sector and the needs of the state of Colorado with a funding formula for the sectors.

Perennial budget issues

(Choose one to answer)

> How do we pay for education?

> How do we pay for transportation?

  • Yes, the budget has made significant cuts this year, and next year it will be difficult to maintain funding due to declining revenues in the state. We will need to make manageable decisions as we arise from this pandemic statewide to fund education and transportation projects.

Issues of the pandemic

(Choose one to answer) 

> Is the state reopening too quickly or too slowly?
> Are health care reforms an immediate priority?
> What are the best steps to rebuilding the economy? 

  • After wrapping the general assembly session with precautions put in place at the state Capitol of wearing masks and guidelines for social distancing. I think we can continue the aspect of precautions for businesses and other events to utilize as we get clear of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are we totally out of the pandemic? No, we are not and we do need to make sure that we are healthy and not getting others sick. Do I think that there are different stages of COVID, yes I do. Be safe and stay healthy Colorado.

Working together

(Choose one to answer)

> What is an idea or approach your primary opponent has proposed that you intend to take to the Capitol?

> Name a current or former legislator from the opposing party you admire, and why.

  • In collaboration of working across the aisle in bipartisanship, I have built a genuine working relationship with Representative Jim Wilson, who has always brought forth ideas for development of education in mind. Education is key for opportunities that arise every day in our lives for advancement.

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