When my primary ballot arrives, I’m voting for Diane Mitsch Bush on the Democratic ballot.

Unaffiliated voters who have not pre-selected which ballot they prefer to vote will receive both Republican and Democratic primary ballots, but can only fill out and return one ballot. A key point for unaffiliated voters is to decide which races are most important to them, and then, in a true first for Colorado, have a meaningful voice in who advances to our November elections for federal, state and local offices!

I’m voting for Mitsch Bush in the 3rd Congressional race because, as much as I know, respect and honor the other two candidates, I have worked with Dianne since she was first elected a Routt County commissioner, an economically and socially diverse district which shares many of the same pressures as our valley. With determination, savvy and skills she later ran to represent her Routt County home in Steamboat and the broader region in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Working regionally, Diane has become an expert in key policy issues as diverse as transportation, water law and human services. Mitsch Bush carried tough legislation throughout her career there, from measures to tackle health insurance costs to funding our state highways and transit. She successfully passed the Independence Pass “oversized trucks” law to increase fines to $1,500 for those who ignore the size restrictions and endangered all our citizens, getting vested interest and stakeholders to the table to work out a solution. Those included the state patrol, the state department of transportation, a trucker association, Colorado Counties Inc., Pitkin County and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

I admire Diane for being the first to step out and challenge our federal congressional incumbent, in order to start putting real time into the grassroots work of building coalitions across this wide district to carry her into office this November. I believe it shows how hard she, and all of us, will need to work this fall to elect a representative who works for the good of the people instead of special interests. The time is right for someone who runs on really knowing the issues, their impacts on our citizens’ everyday lives, and who has solid legislative experience and has advanced real solutions to difficult issues. Please join me in voting for Diane Mitsch Bush on your primary ballot this month.

Rachel Richards

Pitkin County commissioner, former mayor of Aspen