By Michael Abeyta

YUMA, Colo. (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis made a trip to the Eastern Plains on Friday where he wanted to check on those living in a rural area of the state. But not everyone gave him a warm welcome.

(credit: CBS)

Just like urban areas in Colorado, rural communities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn. One place people in Yuma and Washington County turn to when they need help is The Rural Communities Resource Center in Yuma.

“A lot of people need help and we are the go to place for help,” says Executive Director Margo Ebersole.

They do everything from run a food bank and operate a literacy program to help people pay their utilities, but when the COVID shutdown happened they suddenly needed to do more.

“We were ready to provide help,” Margo says.

To help them help, they applied for and got money from the state.

(credit: CBS)

“The Colorado COVID Relief Fund has helped us. Especially be able to cover past due rent if they were getting behind due to the pandemic.”

On Friday Gov. Jared Polis stopped by the center on his tour of the Eastern Plains. He sat down with Margo to talk and to make sure rural communities are getting the help they need.

Not everyone on the Eastern Plains thinks Polis is helping.

Allen Jones was one of several protestors expressing their displeasure, “A lot of people feel he has let us down. He hasn’t done his job properly,” he says.

Jones doesn’t like the face mask mandate because he says as a veteran with PTSD and anxiety, he can’t wear one. He’s not a fan of Polis’ virus response in general.

“Maybe they should change the policies and start helping the people instead of handing out to the people,” Allen says.

(credit: CBS)

While there is disagreement about Polis’ job performance, one thing most people agree on is that rural Coloradans will continue to need help as this pandemic stretches on.

“We have been really happy with the help that’s been available,” says Margo.

Allen disagrees. He thinks the cities are benefitting more from Polis’ policies, “He’s making the big cities do great but he’s not helping us at all.”

Michael Abeyta

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