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Local First is the voice of the local business community

Now, more than ever, supporting local, independent business is critical to bolstering our economy.

Local First is proud to be working with La Plata County through their Cares Act funding to disburse approximately $1.1 million dollars in support to the small business community to assist with the impact of COVID-19. We have also been successful in reducing health insurance premiums on average by 35% through our work forming the Southwest Health Alliance. When our members speak, we listen and respond!

To build on these efforts, Local First has teamed up with Good Business Colorado to increase our capacity to be the voice of the local business community and act on your behalf. Local First and GBC share a triple bottom line mission working to build an economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone. Our members believe business success cannot be measured by profit alone and true success means our planet, communities and bottom lines are all thriving.

By working closely with GBC, based in Denver at our state’s capitol, we can bring your voice to the policies and legislative agendas that most support you as an independent business owner in this corner of the state. By partnering with a statewide organization, we can tackle everything from healthcare to climate change. For example, Governor Polis recently announced he is calling a special session to address immediate statewide pandemic needs. The special session will begin November 30th to address small business relief; childcare support; housing, rental, and utility assistance; increasing broadband access; food insecurity; and the state’s public health response to the pandemic. Through the partnership with GBC, Local First will monitor the progress of this special legislative session and advocate for the needs of La Plata County’s small business community during this critical time. When the legislature reconvenes in January 2021, we will be poised to represent the voices of our community at the state capitol.

You may recall that our Act Local campaign has been tirelessly working with the City of Durango and LPEA to implement local, renewable energy goals to create clean energy jobs while supporting clean air and reducing the climate impact on our region, which will be the hardest hit by climate change. Additionally, we have been engaging in the City’s Sustainability Plan, the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, and other initiatives that support independent businesses who recirculate dollars locally in our economy.

As we approach another legislative session, we want to hear from you. Please consider filling out a short survey at https://bit.ly/2US76cQ to tell us the policies and issues that are most important to you and your business. You can also reach out to our new Policy Liaison, Lauren Haggerty by e-mailing her at lauren@local-first.org or calling (970) 799-6618 x6. She would love to hear from you and will be your advocate on behalf of Local First. Now more than ever, we need to stand together and support policies that strengthen our local economy and the people and place we all call home – La Plata County, Colorado.

Monique DiGiorgio is executive director of Local First Foundation in Durango. Contact her at foundation@local-first.org.