GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Governor John Hickenlooper paid a visit to the Western Slope Friday to discuss the economy and to find out how we can create more jobs in our community.
His trip was a part of the Colorado Blueprint Tour, a plan created in 2011 to help the state's economy.
The Governor started his day in Durango before he made his way to Grand Junction Friday evening. He toured Leitner Poma before heading over to Colorado Mesa University where he discussed economic issues with area business owners and community leaders.
David Cox, a Palisade Peach Farmer, attended Friday night's Colorado Blueprint meeting at CMU where the governor discussed the progress of his economic development plan with area business owners and community leaders. However, Cox didn't feel it reflected what is going on in the Grand Valley's economy.
"Governor Hickenlooper stuck to his talking points about the improving economy, but a lot of things that those of us who live here in this valley understand are just simply not so," said Cox.
The Governor recognizes our local economy is lagging behind the Front Range, but he sees improvement on the horizon.
"Grand Junction, the unemployment rate here is down over 30% over the last four years, that's pretty good, it's better than Denver, so in a way you're still behind, but you're catching up," said Hickenlooper.
He believes what thrives in any economy is entrepreneurs and feels the government can help.
"The government can help create momentum and we've now gone through over 11,000 rules and regulations [for the Colorado Blueprint] that we've either modified, repealed or reviewed and that makes a difference," said Hickenlooper.
Rick Spear, the president of Leitner Poma, a leading manufacturing company in the community, gave the governor a tour of his facility and hopes Hickenlooper will help him bring ideas to the table to help expand his business and create more jobs on the Western Slope.
"We're looking to diversify, so I am looking to bounce some ideas off him on how to diversify," said Spear.
The Governor believes entrepreneurship is one answer to creating jobs on the Western Slope by making our community a place where they can thrive.
And one of his goals for the 2014 Legislative session is for the Democrats and the Republicans to work together like they did during the state's wildfires and flooding disaster.
Saturday Hickenlooper heads to Steamboat Springs to discuss tourism and it's impact on the Western Slope.
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