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Pueblo County Commissioner Dist 2

Responsibilities of the office: County Commissioners in Colorado are responsible for adopting the county budget; declaring county emergencies; entering into contracts; purchasing, maintaining and selling county property; providing human services; authority for roadways, land use and zoning in unincorporated areas; developing and implementing county policy; supervision of the County Administrator and staff; and working in cooperation with other elected county officials and municipal officials within the county.Term for each seat: Four years. Limit is two consecutive four-year terms._________Comisionados del Condado Responsabilidades del Cargo: Los comisionados del condado de Colorado son responsables de adoptar el presupuesto del condado; declarar emergencias del condado; gestionar contratos; comprar, mantener, y vender propiedades del condado; proporcionar servicios humanos; autoridad para carreteras, y el uso de tierras y la zonificación de zonas no incorporadas; desarrollar e implementar políticas del condado; supervisar al Administrador y al personal del condado; y trabajar en cooperación con otros funcionarios electos del condado y funcionarios municipales dentro del condado._______ELECTION INFO: General Election ballots will start to be mailed on October 9th, 2020. Voter Service and Polling Centers open on Monday, October 19th, 2020. Ballots must be received via mail or at drop-off no later than Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, by 7 pm. If you have not received your ballot or need a replacement, contact your local Clerk & Recorder Elections OfficeINFROMACIÓN SOBRE LAS ELECCIONES: Las papeletas de votación para las Elecciones Generales empezarán a ser enviadas el 9 de octubre del 2020. Los Centros de Servicios Electorales se abren el lunes, 19 de octubre del 2020. Las papeletas electorales deben ser enviadas por correo o entregadas en un centro de entrega a más tardar a las 7pm el martes, 3 de noviembre del 2020. Si no ha recibido su papeleta electoral o necesita un reemplazo, comuníquese con su Funcionario Oficial de la Oficina de Elecciones local

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    GARRISON ORTIZ
    (D)

Biographical Information

What unique qualities or background would make you a valuable commissioner?

What do you feel will be two of the greatest challenges for Pueblo County in the next four years and how would you address them?

What is your viewpoint on the situation of the Pueblo County Jail and what is the role you believe the Pueblo County Commissioners should have going forward?

What types of transparency measures should the Board of Commissioners institute in order to assure Pueblo County voters of the integrity of county finances?

Background Garrison M. Ortiz was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado by his mother and grandparents. He earned an MBA from CSU-Pueblo and went on to work in consulting before being elected to the County Commissioner District 2 seat in 2016.
Contact phone 719-334-1955
Throughout my past four years in office, my education and experience in finance, business, and personal morals have aided me in serving our County at the highest level. Raised by my mother and grandparents, I have always been taught to work hard, be honest, earn everything, and treat everyone with respect. My technical background, work ethic, and strong moral compass have served this County well at numerous junctures.

Whether it was financially vetting the proposed professional baseball stadium and saving the County from financial ruin or helping the County go from balancing a budget with over $9m out of reserves in 2016 to $1m in 2020, I have done much to ensure our County is on a better financial trajectory than when I assumed office.

I believe that my record over the past four years demonstrates that we need and should expect strong and ethical leaders in County government that are strong guards of public money.
The two greatest challenges for Pueblo County during the next four years will be the economic recovery of the community from the COVID-19 pandemic and balancing the County budget while dealing with the inevitable budget cuts from the State and Federal government.

A 50-70% loss in sales tax revenue is expected for cities and counties across the state, as a result of the business closures from the virus. Even as businesses begin to re-open, they will not open all at once and consumer habits will take a long time to return to previous levels. Local government will need to be innovative in doing what it can to help bring businesses back and keep sales and property tax revenues at a sustainable level.

With the state expecting over a $3 billion shortfall, cities and counties will face major cuts from both the state and federal government. Pueblo County receives over $53m annually in intergovernmental revenue, which is almost 30% of the overall budget. We will need to make tough financial decisions to endure a tough budgeting year for 2021 and possibly beyond.
During my first year in office, I formed the Pueblo County Jail Task Force to study this very issue. The Comprehensive Report produced by the task force, lays out the pros and cons of various options. I believe strongly in diversion and treatment, but I also know definitively that we must augment space and build a new jail proactively, on our terms. Eventually, we will be forced to construct a new jail through a lawsuit, requiring extreme budget cuts in whatever year that happens to occur.

I have listened to the will of the voters every single time on this issue. In the 2019 November election, measure 1B passed by a margin of 54.5%, voting yes to increase marijuana retail sales tax from 3.5% to 6.0%, in both the City and County of Pueblo to support the funding of a new jail.

I have worked diligently to bring an originally budgeted $140m project down to $100m, and to pay for a new jail solely with the new marijuana sales tax increase, as the voters approved.

I remain committed to my statutory obligation as a Commissioner to provide a sufficient jail for the community, safe working conditions for detention deputies, diversion and treatment programs, and using ballot measure 1B money from 2019 for what citizens voted for.
I have shown tremendous courage throughout the past four years to address moral misconduct and flat out corruption in County government. The decisions that I have made throughout the past year have surely not been easy, and are the reason for my challenge in the primary, but I have chosen to stand for clean, open, and honest government regardless of the consequences. Specifically, I have done much to ensure the integrious use of County funds. To remedy the findings from the 2019 County audit, where $339,000 was misappropriated for a semi-professional baseball stadium, I established the Marijuana Oversight Committee to oversee the use of all marijuana tax revenues and expenditures to ensure compliance with historical ballot measurers.