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Rep. Pettersen Wraps Up Rural Tour of Lake, Chaffee, and Park Counties

ICYMI—Last week, U.S. Representative Brittany Pettersen (CO-07) visited parts of her congressional district in the high country, touring businesses and meeting with residents from Lake, Chaffee, and Park Counties. She hosted roundtables in Bailey and Buena Vista to hear from small businesses owners about the challenges they are facing, talked with community leaders in Leadville and Salida about how to secure more resources, toured businesses and organizations like Fading West and Bright Start Learning, and connected leaders across Chaffee County with USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small to discuss how the federal government can help with rural development.

The tour comes as part of Pettersen’s ongoing efforts to connect with each and every one of her constituents across the 7th Congressional District. These have included email and text campaigns to learn about her constituents’ priorities, meetings with elected officials in each county, and district offices she is working to open to offer people help with issues they’re having with the federal government.

As part of Pettersen’s rural tour last week, she attended:

  • Park County Business Roundtable in Bailey: Pettersen heard from local officials and businesses owners from Aspen Peak Cellars, Chimney Doctors, Chill Squirrel Trading Company, Dellwood Square Liquors, Mudslingers Drive Thru Coffee, Deer Creek Secure Self Storage, Bailey Depot & Feed, Sunrise Solutions, Sasquatch Outpost, and others. She spoke with them about the challenges they’re facing and how she can be their advocate in Washington, helping them navigate how to secure grants and loans for their businesses, as well as how to work with the Small Business Administration to get help. 

  • USDA Rural Development Discussion in Salida: Pettersen joined USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small for a roundtable discussion with community leaders and local officials centered around federal efforts to support and further develop rural communities, specifically by tackling workforce, housing, and broadband challenges. Pettersen was excited to connect leaders from her community with the Under Secretary so they could learn more about how to get help and resources from the federal government to expand internet access, increase housing availability, create good jobs, and support small businesses.   

  • Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Town Hall: Pettersen joined VA ECHCS Director Michael Kilmer for a resource fair for local veterans aimed at sharing information and feedback that will help the health care system meet the needs of veterans in their communities. Pettersen attended as a representative from the federal government to update the veterans on what her office can do to serve them. She outlined how her new team can help veterans from her district office—expediting cases at the VA, getting misplaced or delayed medals for people, helping veterans access their benefits, and more.

  • Chaffee County Business Roundtable in Buena Vista: Pettersen heard from local officials and businesses owners from JVAM Law Firm, the Buena Vista Boys and Girls Club, Aristata Communications, the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation, and others. As one of her first actions in office, Pettersen is meeting with business owners across the district, to create strong working relationships she can utilize while working on legislation to help the local economies. In Chaffee County, she heard about the workforce and housing challenges that are making running a businesses even harder in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Tour of Fading West Co.: Pettersen met with Fading West leaders and toured the facilities where they produce manufactured houses, which are then installed elsewhere. She spoke with them about how innovation and partnerships like they’re making now could be one of the answers to the housing crisis in Colorado. She also spoke with them about how she can be a resource at the federal level to address the unique hurdles they face as a company that has to work with customers and regulations in many different states and jurisdictions.

  • Latino Leader Roundtable in Leadville: Pettersen spoke with leaders in the Latino community while meeting with Voces Unidas de las Montañas in Leadville. She spoke with representatives from Cloud City Conservation, the Leadville City Council, the school district, Full Circle, and other organizers about the challenges they’re facing, including accessing affordable and attainable housing, health care shortages and accessibility issues, as well as the disproportional impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Latino community. 

  • Business Roundtable at Colorado Mountain College: Pettersen heard from local officials and businesses owners from Melanzana, Cookies with Altitude, Alpine Gift Shop, Freight Event Center, Treeline Kitchen, Blue Vessel Florista, Silver Dollar Saloon, Blue Flower Candies & Provisions, Tabor Opera House, Leadville Main Street, and others. She spoke with them about some of the aging infrastructure and lack of child care in the area and how she can advocate for them on the federal level to address some of these issues. They also spoke about the lack of transportation in the area and how that effects workforce development. 

  • Tour of St. Vincent Health: Pettersen met with leaders and toured the facilities at St. Vincent Health in Leadville. Pettersen wants to advocate on behalf of health centers like St. Vincent as she knows they are an essential part of the successful of rural communities. She learned more about the challenges the hospital is facing, and what their options for recovery might look like. 

  • Visit to Bright Start Learning Center: Pettersen joined children at the Bright Start Learning Center for craft time, while speaking with members of their Board about the importance of high-quality child care for the development and success of young kids and their families. Especially as a mom of a young child, Pettersen is determined to support child care options like Bright Start to make sure parents have the support they need. She spoke with the leaders about how she could advocate for them, especially as they are facing a funding crisis for the center.