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Hickenlooper Seeks Ideas For Colorado’s Problems

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP) – Coloradans are offering their ideas to Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper’s transition team on challenges and opportunities facing the state, including suggestions to put young people to work making homes energy efficient and sending out an advocate to court small business opportunities.

The transition team held a meeting Wednesday with citizens in Broomfield and they got about 20 suggestions for fixing the state’s economic woes.

Transition team co-leader John Huggins says people have also offered their ideas on water, land use, education and health care in other meetings statewide. The team plans to hold 11 meetings across the state and submit them to Hickenlooper.

“We want all of your ideas, the crazy ones, the ones you’re embarrassed to share,” Huggins told about 50 people who showed up on Wednesday.

Kelly Causey, who runs a nonprofit association in Superior, said the tight economy offers a good opportunity to put young people to work to make low-income housing more energy efficient and building trails.

“This is a good opportunity to give young people internships,” she told Huggins.

Former Democratic congressional candidate Peggy Lamm said Colorado has some of the best medical facilities in the world and the state should promote medical tourism.

One issue that got the most votes at the end of the meeting was a suggestion from Adams County clerk Karen Long, president of the Colorado County Clerks Association, to fix problems with state computer systems that serve voters, welfare recipients and the Department of Revenue.

She said some of the computer systems are 20 years old, and the 2-year-old elections system crashed on election night.

“We tried fixing them, we failed fixing them,” she said.

Huggins said he liked several ideas that were offered, including appointing a small business advocate who would attend meetings to court business opportunities.

He said when he ran Hickenlooper’s transition team after Hickenlooper was elected Denver mayor, Hickenlooper hired a lot of people who were not traditional government workers.

“We’re definitely looking for the best ideas and we’re looking for great candidates to take those ideas and make something of them,” he said.

Sol Shapiro, who offered suggestions to support conversion of coal and natural gas to fuel for vehicles, said people offered good ideas and he hopes they don’t end up on a shelf.

“I’m pleased they listened to everybody, but now they have to act,” he said.

Metro State political science professor Norm Provizer said that’s one of the biggest challenges facing Hickenlooper.

“The first rule of politics is to listen. Sometimes people do that and they don’t pay attention to it. Once you listen, you have to make a decision,” he said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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