12.28.16

Reflecting on achievements, plans for future

Over the past two years, I have had the honor of representing the people of Colorado in the United States Senate.

Looking back on the 114th Congress, I’m proud of the bipartisan work we were able to accomplish on behalf of Coloradans, and look forward to working with all my colleagues as we turn our focus to the work that lies ahead in 2017.

In 2016, I visited each of Colorado’s 64 counties and held more than a dozen rural economic roundtables with local officials, business owners and constituents to gain a better understanding of how policy set forth in Washington affects them and develop solutions to improve their daily lives.

Throughout my visits, I often heard about the challenges facing rural communities in particular. While Denver’s economy is booming, other parts of Colorado have been left behind. Growing up in a small rural town on the Eastern Plains, I know firsthand the challenges small communities face when it comes to not only attracting new businesses and investment, but also retaining residents.

Earlier this year, I introduced a legislative package aimed at addressing these problems. My Rebuilding and Renewing Rural America Act extends tax credits to rural communities and addresses excessive government regulation that hampers businesses throughout rural America. The legislation encourages rural revitalization through incentives.

First, it creates a Renewing Rural America credit, which will help increase capital flows to some of our most underdeveloped economies; second, it establishes a Rebuilding Rural Main Street tax credit that can be used toward redeveloping small town buildings that are plagued by hazards like asbestos and lead.

My economic development package also contains a tax credit for rural job creators in the form of reduced payroll taxes, and creates a tax-preferred start-up savings account, which is designed to allow entrepreneurs to save money to start small businesses in rural communities.

I will continue to work with my colleagues on rural economic development, while also remaining a strong advocate for pro-growth tax reform, fewer burdensome federal regulations, and other common-sense policies that allow American workers and businesses to not only succeed, but thrive.

Another priority of mine has been addressing the growing opioid epidemic. Colorado’s drug-related deaths increased 68 percent between 2002 and 2014, a disturbing trend that is mirrored across many parts of the country.

Over the past two years, Congress has worked to find solutions to this crisis. For example, Congress passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a common-sense, bipartisan bill that provides states and local communities with the resources they need to develop and implement a plan that best fits their needs to address this growing epidemic.

I joined Colorado law enforcement, mental health providers, and addiction and recovery specialists throughout the state in supporting this legislation, and was proud to see it signed into law in July.

Earlier this month, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act to provide $1 billion in funding to combat the opioid epidemic and address our country’s mental health crisis. These initiatives will help communities across Southern Colorado develop and implement drug addiction prevention and recovery programs and ultimately save countless lives. This legislation was another result of a strong bipartisan, bicameral effort and was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The Republican majority has proven that it can put politics aside and deliver real results for the American people. I look forward to getting to work in January, and am committed to working with my colleagues to create more opportunities for Coloradans and Americans across the country.


By:  Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Source: Pueblo Chieftain