Mt. Crested Butte’s Korkowski announces bid for state house

Touts business experience
A local Republican has announced his plans to run for the Colorado House District 61 seat currently held by Gunnison’s Kathleen Curry. Luke Korkowski of Mt. Crested Butte said he is running on a platform centered on fiscal responsibility and economic growth.



“It’s not about what Kathleen has done right or wrong. I want to be positive. I think that by going to the state legislature, I can be a force for improving the fiscal environment in the state,” Korkowski said. “I think I can also help improve the state business climate.”
Curry, who was first elected to the seat in 2004, changed her party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated at the end of last year and thus will have to run as a write-in candidate to retain her seat.
According to his announcement statement, Korkowski’s agenda includes tax reform, facilitating the growth of small businesses, promoting responsible energy exploration and education reform.
“I think there are a lot of ways the state can promote small businesses,” he said. “One example is that if you’ve tried to start a small business, just trying to comply with all the laws is extremely difficult. That’s inexcusable. If we are going to place requirements on small businesses, we should make it as easy as possible to start small businesses. There are a number of things we can do to make it happen. Helping small businesses get started can help pull us out of the economic downturn.
“The burdens we put on entrepreneurs just discourages people from starting businesses,” Korkowski continued. “We can fix that and do some of that at a relatively low cost.”
Korkowski is a business consultant and transactional attorney and he cites his business background as an asset.
He also seeks to promote responsible natural resource extraction. For example, with the proposed Mt. Emmons molybdenum, he is fine with the idea as long as a mine is done correctly.
“When I talk about environmental issues I talk about them in economic terms,” he said. “That way we can see, for example, what is good about the extractive industry and what’s bad about it. I think businesses should be free to pursue the business they are in provided—and this is a big caveat—provided they internalize their costs. The problem with the mining industry is that it has a long history of externalizing their costs. For example, there remains a big open pit near Butte, Mont. after the mine closed. In that situation, it becomes a cost to those who live there.
“I’m okay with the mine on Mt. Emmons so long as it happens in the context of internalizing all of its costs,” Korkowski continued. “It can’t pollute the water. It can’t damage the environment. We all want Red Lady there 20 years from now.”
Korkowski previously ran a campaign for U.S. Senate. “I thought I was done with politics for a while,” Korkowski said. “But some persistent friends convinced me that we needed solid conservative leadership right here close to home.” Korkowski concluded, “I’m happy they were so tenacious, as I’ve come to believe they’re right.  We’ve got to get our state back on the right track, and I look forward to serving at the State Capitol.”
As for timing, Korkowski said that with the party caucuses scheduled for March 16, it’s not too early to start thinking fall election. “It is actually crunch time given the timing of the party assemblies. Some people might say it’s sort of late but I think for me and this race, the timing is perfect.”
District 61 is made up of Gunnison, Eagle, Garfield, Hinsdale and Pitkin counties.


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