TBD Colo. offers voice on state policy

Summit on Saturday part of Hickenlooper’s planning initiative

To Be Determined Colorado – a nonpartisan initiative created by Gov. John Hickenlooper to engage Coloradans in large issues facing the state – is coming to Durango this Saturday.

While TBD Colorado touts itself as a bottom-up, community-based initiative, an eight-person board of directors chose the participants and topics of discussion. Three of those board members are also some of TBD’s biggest funders.

Participants have to register for the meetings before attending.

Greg Maffei, for example, is chairman of the board and president and CEO of Liberty Media, one of the funders. Other funders include DaVita, Kaiser Permanente, the Gates Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase.

TBD created framing committees, experts in the subjects, to put together background materials for participants before the meetings in April and May. Many of those sitting on the committees are involved with the funders, including Kent Thiry from DaVita – a Fortune 500 company and kidney care provider – and former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

The $1.2 million initiative is funded entirely through private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations, said Kae Rader, executive director of TBD Colorado.

“The governor had the idea, but we wanted it to truly be nonpartisan in nature,” Rader said.

Funders can participate in the meetings because they are open to the public, but they do not have a formal role in the conversations, she said.

TBD is focusing on education, health, transportation, the state budget and state workforce – an agenda set by the board of directors, Hickenlooper and a group of advisers, according to a news release.

More than 60 community meetings with about 1,000 participants were held throughout Colorado in April and May to discuss the five issues. Participants nominated themselves and community leaders and the board of directors helped pick the participants, though the board had final approval.

The meeting in Durango is one of six meetings that will build on the work of the April and May meetings.

There are still open spots for Saturday’s summit in which participants will create a state budget that reflects the priorities of the region, Rader said.

A final report with public-policy recommendations will be written based on community discussion from all the meetings and it will be shared in December with the Colorado General Assembly, Hickenlooper and other state leaders, Rader said.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story