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Time is running out on a new COVID-19 relief bill and local communities.  As a local elected official, my job is to work with all sides to improve the lives of our constituents in Adams County.  That means keeping my head down and working across the political divide to get stuff done.  Unfortunately, given the current impasse in Washington D.C., I feel compelled to change that approach and draw attention to the potential impacts the current situation may have on local communities in Colorado.  

While we continue to get hints of a possible deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, we are told that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems be reluctant in light of inconconsistent and continously changing statements of support for a deal from President Donald Trump.  Where is U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner? 

Why do I call out Sen. Gardner?  Because local governments are losing time and Sen. Gardner continues to claim he is standing up for us and fighting for local funding, but doesn't seem to be actually using his often-touted power and influence with the president and his colleagues in the Senate. 

Failure to provide adequate funding to local and state governments could have serious impacts on our local communities.  In addition to increases in lost jobs, evictions, and foreclosures, I am particularly concerned about the pressure already placed on funding public safety, especially law enforcement.  Most folks in Colorado already understand how important it is to support first responders who literally risk their lives to protect and to serve.  But, without more critical and flexible funding, local communities may be forced to cut back on criminal justice reforms that could help improve some strained relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect.  In addition, other essential programs could be at risk, including those helping domestic violence victims or folks addicted to drugs. 

I am not a cynic or ideologue by nature.  I am an elected county commissioner and a former deputy district attorney who proudly dedicated my career to public service.  I deliberately chose to not get involved in federal politics, but the problems worsen every day that these delays drag on in Washington, D.C., without a resolution.  We cannot run deficits in Adams County.  We cannot pay our first responders with IOUs.  We need a new relief bill.  We also need that relief bill to provide greater flexibility to spend the money that has been budgeted in the past as part of COVID relief packages.

Can Sen. Gardner use this unique influence in the Senate and with the president to get a new relief bill across the finish line?  Working families, first responders, teachers, and children are waiting. 

Steve O'Dorisio

Adams County Commissioner

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