Steamboat Springs Routt County now has a voice on the committee that oversees the state budget.
Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, was appointed to the Legisla-ture's Joint Budget Committee, or JBC, Wednesday by House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker.
White has represented House District 57 at the Capitol since 2000. The district includes Routt County. Six legislators serve on the JBC, which reviews operating costs of state departments and agencies to determine annually how the state budget should be administered.
"The JBC is probably the most key committee we have in state government," White said Wednesday. "This is an exciting new challenge, and I look forward to taking it on."
At least until November.
White is running for re-election against Grand County Democrat Andy Gold, a business owner and former chair of the Grand County Democratic Party. While White said "someone can be appointed (to the JBC) if I'm not elected," the veteran legislator expressed confidence that he will return to the Capitol.
"I do plan on being re-elected," White said. "Maybe that is a presumption on my part, but if you look at the district, if you look at the (party) registration and if you look at the results of my previous elections, I think I have a pretty good chance of being re-elected."
State representatives serve two-year terms. In 2004, White received 68 percent of HD 57 votes to defeat western Garfield County Democrat Sam Robinson.
White will begin serving on the JBC well before the November election. Several state departments and agencies meet with the committee during the summer and fall, while the Legislature is not in session, to make "emergency supplemental" requests for additional funding.
An issue driving such requests this year, White said, is the unexpected rise in fuel costs, especially diesel.
During his time at the Capitol, White has been a member of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, the Legislative Audit Committee and the Colorado Tourism Office Board. Prior to politics, he and his wife Jean owned three ski shops and a small, 25-room ski lodge.
"Al's understanding of the importance of responsible spending and his principles, as well as his background and experience, will make him a valuable addition to the Joint Budget Committee," May said.
White fills a position vacated by former Rep. Dale Hall, R-Greeley, who is running for state Senate. White said he knew the position was open and "actively sought" appointment to the JBC in conversations with May.
Democrat Bernie Buescher of Grand Junction is currently chair of the JBC.
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