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In Colorado, we are privileged to live in a state with a thriving economy and abundant opportunity for young people. As the president and CEO of Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, nothing gives me more satisfaction than inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.

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At first glance, hearing that Colorado’s Democratic Party State Executive and Central Committee recently voted in resounding favor to support the oil-and-gas-killing Initiative 97 was not surprising. But as I thought more about the message this endorsement sends to all of Colorado I became increasingly frustrated by the news. I understand that there is an activist wing that has been vocally opposed to the oil and gas industry, and while I challenge any activist supporting this initiative to explain how Colorado’s economy, and more importantly Colorado’s K-12 schools, could adjust to billions in lost revenue if this industry was forced out of the state, I never expected the state Democratic Party to officially endorse this economically-crippling position. I am shocked and deeply concerned about what this means for Colorado.

In Colorado, the rule is that oil and gas wells can be sited 1,000 feet from a school building. A bill that aimed to update that rule to measure the setback instead from the school property line drew crowds to the Capitol this month to testify in support of it and major drilling industry figures to argue against it. In the end, there were no surprises concerning its fate. Oil and gas drilling has long been a top partisan issue at the Legislature.

There’s an old and unfortunate truth about Washington, DC: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” For the past eight years, the Obama administration’s “keep-it-in-the-ground” policies have kept the oil and gas industry “on the menu” and stymied responsible energy development and threatened to make energy more expensive for Colorado families.