About Van Winkle: The incumbent, a Highlands Ranch resident, gained his first term in the state House two years ago. Van Winkle has a bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has a professional background as a small business owner.
More information: 303-866-2936; www.VanWinkleforColorado.com
Why should voters choose you for this office?
I truly love the people of Highlands Ranch. It's been the honor of my life to serve the community I grew up with in the state Legislature during my first term in office. I will continue to fight every day to ensure Douglas County, and the entire state of Colorado, is the very best place in the world to live, work and raise a family, for generations to come.
Describe an accomplishment that best illustrates your effectiveness as a leader.
When I first introduced House Bill 1051, which cuts down on lawyer fees and helps families avoid probate court, it faced tough opposition from ruling Democrats and key stakeholders. By the time the 2016 legislative session was over, it passed 97-0 and was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper.
How can the two major parties better work together to ensure progress at the Capitol?
It's often assumed that the part-time Colorado Legislature faces partisan gridlock similar to Congress in Washington. However, our Legislature works much more efficiently to annually pass a balanced budget, K-12 school funding and more than 350 other bills in true bipartisan fashion. There are occasional partisan debates, but when it comes to doing what is best for Highlands Ranch and Colorado, I'm not afraid to reach across the aisle to accomplish a goal.
What can be done to ensure the metro area's transportation system (including roads) will be able to keep up with the growing population?
Transportation is a top legislative priority for me. State government spending has nearly doubled these last 10 years, yet transportation still gets $0 of State General Funds. To attract attention to the issue, I proposed selling the governor's private jet and putting the profits and savings into the roads for the rest of us. I also worked this year to add new and stronger accountability for CDOT. It's a start down the right road.
What issue most deserves more attention during the 2017 session than it saw in 2016?
Voters in Colorado are responsible for deciding whether or not the judges on their ballot shall be retained for another term. However, voters like you and me, must make that decision based on very little information. Both the Colorado Judicial Performance Commission and individuals like you should have the right to access more non-partisan, impartial information, so that our judges can be retained with confidence.