The seat of County Commissioner belongs not to me but to the people of this great county. I am just a regular husband and parent, like many of you, who has been honored with the opportunity to occupy this role in humility and gratitude for the limited time you have given me to serve you.
One thing I’ve learned this year is that you can’t spell Douglas County without the word “DO” and Douglas County doesn’t wait to DO great. The county is lean, efficient, and proactive on hundreds of key issues thanks to incredible partners, colleagues, staff, citizens, and my tremendous fellow commissioners, Roger Partridge and Lora Thomas, that I had the amazing opportunity to work closely this first year to help make good things happen with Douglas County as a team. I share these milestones with them.
- Providing a major tax credit. Returning money BACK to citizens, authorizing a half-mill reduction in the County’s mill levy, directing $3.6 million back to Douglas County property owners.
- Keeping kids safe. Took immediate action after the STEM shooting, in partnership with law enforcement, the school district, and many community partners.
- Forming mental health and physical school security funding committees providing research-based recommendations for what really works to keep kids safe.
- Ultimately allocating $13.3 million without raising taxes or fees:
- $331,000 for Youth Community Response Team, a unique response team of law enforcement and a mental health clinician responding at the scene when mental health is the primary issue;
- $3 million in ongoing funding to more than double the number of student resource officers in Douglas County schools; and
- $10 million in one-time funding for improved mental health services and physical school security in Douglas County schools.
- $990,000 in one-time mental health funding: 100% of requests from every school were funded including school climate and culture assessments; social-emotional learning; suicide prevention and intervention programming; mental health supports/interventions that build on existing programming; and mental health first aid and related training for staff, parents and students.
- $7.7 million for one-time physical school security funding, including communications technology, training, access control, and enhanced building security – with $1.3 million reserved for innovation and emerging technology.
- Testifying at State Capitol on our work to keep kids safe and avoid school shootings.
- Traffic solutions. The passage of our commissioner-initiated 1A ballot measure to provide more than $220 million for traffic solutions in Douglas County without raising taxes but by redirecting continuing revenue sources toward critical infrastructure.
- Finalizing 2040 Traffic Master Plan
- Receiving appointment to the National Steering Committee on Transportation through NACo.
- Red Flag/ERPO: Taking a stand to uphold the Constitution I took an oath to support and defend, while also balancing the needs to keep our citizens safe when there is imminent harm.
- New and separate Douglas County judicial district. Working with our legislative advocates to create a new and separate judicial district (JD23) to prioritize Douglas County taxpayers.
- Mental health. Working with the Colorado Attorney General to focus state efforts on alleviating stresses to law enforcement and our jails created by prisoners with mental health issues.
- Conservatives conserving. Providing the business community the opportunity to obtain attractive financing at no cost to the county by building energy-efficient properties through the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program that reduces energy costs while also improves the quality of life for our residents.
- Acting as all three branches of government. Executive (set policy, budget, appoint boards and commissions), legislative (zoning regulations, subdivision regulations), and quasi-judicial (land use, board of adjustment, liquor licensing authority).
- Land use and business hearings. In addition to rendering decisions on all land use applications and managing more than $463,000,000 for the benefit of 368,000 citizens in our business meetings, also serving as the County Board of Adjustment, the County Board of Equalization, the County Board of Social Services, and working on advancing county interests and goals through board membership on more than 30 boards and commissions that the county funds, including:
- Douglas County Youth Initiative Advisory Board
- Douglas County Community Foundation
- Developmental Pathways Board of Directors
- Douglas County Housing Partnership
- Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Control Authority
- Arapahoe/Douglas Workforce Investment Board
- Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
- Centennial Airport Authority Board
- Centennial Airport Community Noise Roundtable
- Community Services Block Grant Tripartite Board
- Douglas County Mental Health Initiative Workgroup
- Metro Area County Commissioners
- Partnership of Douglas County Governments
- Tracking and taking positions on hundreds of state house and senate bills as well as federal legislation that affects the county through NACo and Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI) and represented the county on four CCI committees including:
- Health and Human Services
- Land Use and Natural Resources
- Taxation & Finance
- Transportation and Telecommunications
- Updating our entire Commissioner Policy Manual and governance principles. Countless work sessions on open space, 1041 rules, groundwater, emergency management, historic preservation, Douglas County Fair & Rodeo, zoning issues, and many other key issues facing the county.
- Making board appointments of exceptional public servants to all county boards, including the library board, veterans affairs, the open space committee, cultural council, and the planning commission.
- Upholding our western heritage and the agricultural community at the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo through a variety of activities including the livestock auction, judging the western oven cooking contest, and supporting the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo Royalty Program.
- Developing new legislative policy with Tri-County Health.
- Receiving public health appointment to the State Transformation Steering Committee.
- Engaging with Washington. Traveling to Washington D.C. to actively engage our U.S. Representatives, Senators, and the Secretary of the Interior on critical issues including transportation infrastructure, 5G technology, a new 988 mental health number, and returning your tax dollars back to Douglas County infrastructure projects.
- Wildfire evacuation. Hosting seminar to help educate the public on dangers and proactive measures to increase safety in the event of a wildfire.
- “Caring for the caretakers.” Engaging in national and local conversation on ways to improve the mental health and well-being of first responders.
- Streamlining public hearings. Working on solutions and updates to public hearing process to increase citizen participation and engagement.
- Increasing accountability to citizens. Working on communications strategy with staff across multiple platforms to increase accessibility and connection to citizens including the development of the comprehensive 2019 Citizen Survey to better gauge citizen thoughts and concerns across a wide spectrum of issues.
- Receiving the 2019 No.1 healthiest county in the country ranking from U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation thanks to incredible community partners, our exceptional citizens, and decades of sound governance and policy setting by my predecessors.
- Child Abuse Prevention. Recognizing the importance of child abuse prevention and the hard work of our community partners as the MC of the annual Pinwheels for Prevention event at the Children’s Hospital Colorado South Campus.
- La Liga (soccer and basketball). Participating in and promoting sports league for more than 120 teens who could not afford to play.
- Visiting stranded citizens during Bomb Cyclone. In-person visits at the Douglas County Shelter, publicly recognized our law enforcement, fire department, emergency management, fleet, facilities, and volunteer teams for their efforts in ensuring more than 700 people were transported to shelters and not a single life was lost.
- Partnering with the faith-based community to provide food, shelter, clothing, and job counseling to vulnerable populations.
- Personally visiting businesses throughout Douglas County to learn about their industries and better serve these vital job creators.
- Helping to open the East/West Regional Trail in collaboration with many partners including the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the City of Lone Tree, the Town of Parker, Rampart Range Metro District, RidgeGate Investments, Schweiger Ranch Foundation, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).
- Youth Congress. Joining more than 200 students and adults (including state and local elected/appointed officials) at the State Capitol to discuss youth-focused issues including mental health and substance abuse.
- Outstanding Youth Awards. Presenting awards to 10 deserving local Douglas County School District students for overcoming incredible obstacles alongside my fellow Douglas County Youth Initiative board members.
- Partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Lyft to provide safe rides home for Douglas County residents on New Year’s Eve.
- Panelist for Centennial Institute. Speaking on school security and keeping kids safe.
I will never forget from 2019:
- Making critical decisions on every land use application in the county through the lens of our zoning code, the comprehensive master plan, and the voices of property owners and citizens that appeared before us;
- The tremendous dedication, hard work, and commitment of staff to solving our county’s most challenging issues;
- The meetings, conversations, connections with our city, nonprofit, business, and community leaders; and
- The kindness, encouragement, and professionalism shown to me by my remarkable fellow commissioners.
All I can say, beyond thank you to each of you who has welcomed me so kindly as your county commissioner, is that this is just the beginning. Tell me how I can better serve you and keep engaging as I work toward real solutions on critical issues that are important to you. You all mean the world to me and it is truly the highlight of my life to be able to pour myself into keeping this county great.
Your District 1 County Commissioner