Democrat Erin Kelley, a Salida resident and Colorado native, is running for the Colorado House District 60 seat against Rep. Jim Wilson.
Kelley said she is running because she believes there are several issues affecting our rural area that currently are not a focus on the state level.
“I believe we deserve more attention from leadership in Denver, specifically in that rural areas are left behind in funding and transportation.
“My biggest goal is to increase broadband in our area. That includes on a state level protecting net neutrality. The implications I see for not having reliable, fast internet involve people working from home and small businesses having a hard time promoting online and taking payments online.
“Also, with the lack of medical providers, telemedicine is going to be important in the future for routine health care and for mental health care services,” she said.
Another part of her platform is to make health care billing more transparent.
“Before procedures, patients should be able to see billing codes and estimated costs,” Kelley said.
She said another aspect she would like to see addressed in health care is the issue of pharmacists not being allowed to tell customers if they can get a prescription for less through a different program.
“You have to ask them,” she said. If the pharmacists were able to share that there is a better option, they could tell the customer without the customer having to ask.
Education is also a main focus for Kelley.
“I would like to see more school resource officers who can build connections with students, as well as more mental health care services in schools,” she said.
She said she would also like to see more funding for education across the board and pay increases for teachers.
“The final item on my main agenda is to support public spaces and lands,” she said.
Concerning her professional experience, Kelley said she has worked in public and private sectors.
“I always felt it was more fulfilling to work in the public sector and what I was doing had great value and was helping people,” she said.
She said after grad school, she got a master’s degree in criminal justice and then took a job as a message center supervisor for one session with the Florida House of Representatives.
Following the first session with the Florida House, she worked a second session as the administrative assistant for the sergeant at arms.
“Then for 3½ years, I worked on a joint legislative committee in Florida serving the Senate and the House where my primary role was legislative bill tracking in order to keep the public informed. The whole process was nonpartisan,” she said.
In the role with the committee, she said she worked under the umbrella of now-U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Following the legislative work, she worked as a sales support specialist for American President Lines, an international shipping company, in Phoenix, Ariz.
She said she left that role and traveled with her husband, Jonathan Norfleet, in a recreational vehicle for awhile.
After their travels the couple moved to Salida in 2015, and she landed a job with Salida Fire Department/South Arkansas Fire Protection District as the administrative coordinator and public information officer.
As to what she can bring to the House of Representatives, she said, “(I have) a very deep understanding on how a bill becomes the law and an understanding that you need a partner in the Senate to sponsor a similar bill that you can help move through both chambers.
“Because I worked in nonpartisan positions, I’m very respectful of people’s views even though they might be different than mine. It would be helpful if we could treat one another with respect and listen to what our neighbors are saying.”
To learn more about Kelley’s agenda, visit kelleyforcolorado.com.