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Catlin brings ‘momentum’ to House 58 seat

Republican water expert represents local views
Jim Mimiaga/The Journal<br><br>Republican Marc Catlin, of Montrose, is looking to retain his seat representing the 58th House District of the Colorado legislature.

Republican Marc Catlin is running to keep his 58th District House of Representative seat in the Colorado Legislature.

The district includes Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose counties.

Catlin has served one year in the legislature after being appointed when Don Coram became a state senator.

During his first year, he supported legislation to help rural hospitals,and carried a hemp water bill that protects farmers who rely on water stored in federal facilities.

“It took some of the worry away for hemp farmers, and put the federal government on notice that they can’t overreach into Colorado water rights,” he said.

Making sure Southwest Colorado gets a fair share of transportation money is also a priority for Catlin. There is too much focus “on adding another lane for commuters on the Front Range,” he said. “Keeping our two-lane highways maintained is critical for our rural farm to market economy and tourism.”

Promoting development of high-speed Internet for the 58th District is another Catlin plan. He is developing legislation that directs larger providers to install appropriate broadband infrastructure and technology for rural areas when bidding for state grants.

At the urging of Montezuma County sheriff Steve Nowlin, Catlin is sponsoring a bill that protects law enforcement horses by increasing penalties against anyone who abuses them.

“Police canines have those extra protections, so should police horses,” Catlin said.

He is also participating in a young and beginner farmers committee that would provide stipends for agricultural internships and apprenticeships through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“We need to replace our farmers when they retire, and right now we don’t have a very deep bench. So giving young and beginning farmers support is critical,” he said.

Catlin objected to a state increase to instream flows on the lower Dolores River, and works to prevent more Western Slope water from being diverted to the Front Range.

“Transbasin diversion of our water for ornamental lawns on the Front Range is a loss for Western Slope agriculture,” he said.

Catlin is a native of Montrose with a farming and water management background. He currently serves on the Colorado River District Board of Directors. He had a 17-year career with the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association.

“I’ve got good momentum, and will continue to focus on bills that have an positive impact on this district,” he said.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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