Commissioners Meet with New Action 22 President

Jennifer Herrera, Action 22 President/CEO

Jennifer Herrera, Action 22 President/CEO

Action 22 recently announced its new leadership team as Chairman Ivor Hill and President and CEO Jennifer Herrera.   Herrera is replacing John Marrin who is stepping down as president of Lamar Community College at the end of July.  She has been the Action 22 President/CEO for the past six weeks.

Herrera was in Lamar July 11th to meet with the Prowers County Commissioners and familiarize herself with issues the commissioners believe are key to the local community and should be presented in the state legislature by the Action 22 group.

“I’m currently visiting with all 22 counties in our representative area and want to hear from all of you to learn how we can best support the work you’re doing and the issues that are impacting you the most so we can find common ground and build connections from that,” she explained, saying this will be a priority for her during her first several months on the job.

Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade asked why it appeared that the Pueblo/Colorado Springs communities are given preference for their issues compared to the rural communities in the Action 22 group. Herrera responded, saying, “The reality now is that we are guided by 22 votes from 22 counties, so any potential funding leverage by the larger ones is not an issue.”  She explained that each of the counties may send three representatives to the Action 22 board for a membership of 66, but each county only has one vote on issues.  “How you vote on an issue before the group is what we advocate for at the state capital.  We have a full time lobbyist who brings these matters before the legislature.”  Herrera pointed out that Prowers County representative, John Marrin, was the board chairman, so there was representation for smaller counties based on population.

“My mandate is to clearly represent the needs of all 22 counties. It’s as if I have 22 kids and I don’t play favorites.  There have been some divisive issues dealt with in the past, but we can’t allow those to come into play.  Our strengths will be from our common unity of all 22 counties,” she explained.  Herrera added that metro and rural counties share some areas of common interest and should work towards those such as food production and recycling.  She said that getting people from metro regions out into rural areas will help to expand those areas of common interests.

Herrera said another task on her new agenda will be to try to make sure that each county does have all three representatives elected. “Some don’t have active members and the three representatives don’t automatically have to be county commissioners.  Those that are underrepresented can hold a caucus and vote on their new membership to the Action 22 group, so long as they are engaged with their community in some fashion.”

She added that monthly meetings will be rotated among the member counties, “The next one will be for the San Luis Valley and we are working on technology that allows large conference calls when it’s inconvenient to travel a lot of miles and each county can also elect alternatives to attend the meetings.” On the question of membership fees, Herrera said the size of the number of county employees determines the sliding scale rate and for fewer than 200 employees, Prowers County would pay an annual fee of $750.

Action 22 represents a 36,530 sq. mile area (35% of the state) consisting of 850,000 citizens, 19.5% of the state’s population ranging from the San Luis Valley to the Kansas state line.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationEmploymentFeaturedPolitics


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