He warns of struggle with the state budget.
By Mark Esper
It’s not an easy time to be a state legislator, according to State Sen. Bruce Whitehead, D-Hesperus, who was in Silverton on Saturday, Feb. 6, holding his first Town Hall meeting since being appointed to the position last year.
The problem, he said, is there just isn’t enough money.
“The state budget situation is very critical right now,” Whitehead said, noting higher education budget alone faces a 21 percent cut next year.
Whitehead the legislature is struggling to balance the budget and is looking at eliminating some popular tax exemptions.
“The budget is the biggest topic this year and it is serious,” Whitehead said. “The governor and all the legislators will earn their money this year. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight.”
Whitehead also noted that the legislature is trying to come up with rules for medical marijuana dispensaries, which are proliferating across Colorado since the Obama administration announced it will not target such dispensaries under federal marijuana laws.
The Silverton Town Council imposed a 120-day moratorium on such dispensaries, awaiting what legislation to emerge from Denver.
Silverton resident Bill Dodge noted the town may soon be in the curious position of having a medical marijuana dispensary but not even a pharmacy for basic medical needs.
“It’s been very controversial,” Whitehead said. He said voters have made it legal to provide marijuana for medical purposes and “now we have to deal with it.”
In his Town Hall meeting Saturday, Whitehead also pointed to his efforts to help improve Silverton’s telecommunications link to the outside world. He said he is in contact with the governor’s office on information and technology regarding the need for a fiber-optic link to Silverton.
“I thin San Juan County is on the radar screen up at the Golden Dome (of the Capitol building),” Whitehead said.