Q&A with state Rep. Cole Wist

Roads and bridges need funding, Centennial Republican says

Staff report
Posted 12/29/17

Cole Wist, an attorney who's practiced law in Colorado since 1991, is the state House assistant minority leader. He's a Republican who represents House District 37, an area that includes Foxfield, …

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Q&A with state Rep. Cole Wist

Roads and bridges need funding, Centennial Republican says

Posted

Cole Wist, an attorney who's practiced law in Colorado since 1991, is the state House assistant minority leader. He's a Republican who represents House District 37, an area that includes Foxfield, Centennial and parts of unincorporated Arapahoe County adjacent to Centennial. This will be his third session representing his district since 2016. Wist and his wife have lived in what's now Centennial since 1997.

What is the most important issue for the Legislature to tackle this session, and what needs to be done?

During the 2018 session, the top priority for the Colorado General Assembly must be to prioritize and set aside an adequate revenue stream for our deteriorating roads and bridges. For years, funding for our state's most important economic driver, our infrastructure system, has taken a back seat to just about everything else in the state budget. We now sit in miserable traffic jams and drive on roads that are in terrible condition. If Colorado is to remain an economic leader, this must change. This upcoming fiscal year, the General Assembly will have between $747.9 million to $962.7 million of additional funds to spend or save in the general fund. This choice must reflect our priorities and presents a prime opportunity to make a sizable down payment on Colorado's $9 billion deficit in funding for roads and bridges.

What are two pieces of legislation that you plan to sponsor, and why?

This session, I will be sponsoring a bill to reform victim notification when an inmate is placed in the Interstate Corrections Compact. Currently, the Department of Corrections can assign an inmate into the compact and have the inmate transferred to a correctional facility in another state with no consultation or notification provided to crime victims in Colorado. This unacceptable outcome leaves our victims in the dark, unable to the have the closure they need and deserve. I will be working to … require that the Department of Corrections provide a transparent process that respects crime victims and their families.

With society's growing dependence on technology, cyber security is a critical component to public safety. This session, I will be sponsoring a bill to increase protection of personal-identifying information and empower the attorney general's office to prosecute those engaged in cyber crime … the citizens of Colorado need to know the General Assembly is taking every reasonable step to protect (their) information.

For this session to be deemed a success, what must happen?

The General Assembly must revise the way it balances the state's $30 billion-plus budget. Currently, the General Assembly utilizes a joint budget committee made up of three representatives and three senators. In a few months' time, these six individuals are expected to balance a massive state budget taking in consideration all the state's needs. Even for the most talented individuals this task can be daunting. There are 94 other members … whose talents and expertise are critical to the responsible use of our taxpayers' money and to setting budget priorities. Our budget process needs to be reformed and updated to better serve our state.

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