Gov. Jared Polis stops by Arvada City Councilmember Lisa Smith's house for meet-and-greet on re-election campaign trail

In Q&A with Arvada Press, Polis spoke in favor of JeffCo Parkway, high-density housing in Arvada

Rylee Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/18/22

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made a stop in Arvada on Feb. 16 as part a four-day, statewide tour which serves as the kickoff of his re-election campaign. Arvada City Councilmember Lisa Smith hosted Polis in her backyard barn and invited any interested member of the community to attend.

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Gov. Jared Polis stops by Arvada City Councilmember Lisa Smith's house for meet-and-greet on re-election campaign trail

In Q&A with Arvada Press, Polis spoke in favor of JeffCo Parkway, high-density housing in Arvada

Posted

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made a stop in Arvada on Feb. 16 as part a four-day, statewide tour which serves as the kickoff of his re-election campaign. Arvada City Councilmember Lisa Smith hosted Polis in her backyard barn and invited any interested member of the community to attend.

Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera and Congressman Ed Perlmutter gave speeches before Polis took the podium to discuss the goals of his reelection campaign and field questions from the crowd of about 50.

Smith said that Polis’ team reached out to her because of her activism in the community and bipartisan approach.

“I told the campaign team that I wanted to make sure that everyone is invited, it’s not an exclusive thing, so we kept it an open invite. I think that during my campaign, I ran a bipartisan message and that it sticks true to me on council,” Smith said. “We are all Arvada residents and we are all JeffCo residents and we want to bring people together.”

After the meet-and-greet, Polis spoke with the Arvada Press about his administration’s approach to local issues.

Arvada Press: In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a lot of small businesses in Arvada and throughout Colorado are experiencing staffing shortages. What is your administration’s plan to address that issue going forward?

Jared Polis: One big part of it is housing. Like a lot of areas around Jefferson County and Colorado, it’s hard to find housing that families can afford, and especially young people can afford, and yet we know we need people to be able to work in our stores and in our companies. And so, it’s not a good solution for people to go further and further out, more traffic on the roads, longer commutes, and so we’re very excited to partner with Arvada and other towns to create more affordable housing opportunities closer to where the jobs are. 

AP: How should environmental concerns surrounding the development of west Arvada near the Rocky Flats nuclear site be handled?

JP: I did work with Congressman (Ed) Perlmutter when I was in congress on some of those, but certainly the regular testing is going to be important to make sure that it’s safe. Obviously, there’s a fire risk everywhere, I know the area is also affected by the 2013 floods. I think fundamentally, we just need to make sure that wherever we do housing in Colorado, there’s lots of other types of land use, we need to make sure that people are safe in their homes and we’re able to grow in a sustainable way that’s also affordable. 

AP: The Jefferson County Parkway project has been in the works for years; how would you like to see that move forward?

JP: Right now, Highway 93 is one of our most dangerous stretches; we lose people every year there. I think it would be a major safety upgrade when the project is completed, and it can save time for commuters, but just as importantly, it will decrease the traffic accident rate and save lives. 

AP: What are your administration’s priorities in addressing homelessness?

JP: Really making sure that people who are suffering from addiction are able to get the help they need to overcome their addiction. That often includes some residential treatment for a period of time so that they can escape the vicious cycle of substance abuse and get back on their feet. Along with supported housing, meaning making sure that they’re able to have the support they need to get a job, have the career counseling they need and stay sober. 

AP: More high-density apartment and townhome-style housing developments have been popping up in Arvada recently, what do you believe is the importance of having those housing options?

JP: Those are needed, right. If people have to live 20, 30 miles out because it’s the only place they can afford, that means they’re going to be in their cars, on the roads; the air is dirtier and there’s more traffic. It really should be in all of our interest to make sure that people can live closer to where the jobs are. That often includes high density — it’s also an important part of a community’s success. For a community to be a healthy community, a successful community, people that are the backbone of the community — firefighters, teachers, law enforcement — need to be able to live in the community they serve, and that’s an important part of any community’s health. 

AP: Over the last year, the Arvada Police Department has lost 34 officers; how does your administration plan to address those staffing shortages?

JP: Part of our public safety package that we’re working on with the legislature includes grants to local law enforcement to recruit and retain law enforcement deputies. Whether that means that we embrace the creativity of the local police or sheriff’s department, meaning is it a recruitment bonus? Is it a retention bonus over five years? Is it making the academy free? All of those can be solutions but we want to work with the chiefs and sheriffs to best deploy these resources to help fill some of these open positions. 

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