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Make your voice heard

Voting is an important part of our country and government. It’s an opportunity to engage in helping determine the future of our county, region, state and nation, and it significantly impacts and shapes the direction of our community.

We have an opportunity to lend our voice to making decisions with important ballot initiatives, and we need to hold elected officials accountable. Your vote makes a difference. Some races are decided by only a handful of votes. Everyone has a role in deciding our path, every vote truly does count.

The Chamber recently hosted a candidates’ forum for the positions of county treasurer and county commissioner. This provided an opportunity to ask candidates questions that are top of mind and about issues that are important to our business community and the health of our economy. The forum can help business owners and residents make informed decisions when voting. Here are some tips from my perspective:

  • Do your research. Sometimes ballot initiatives seem like good ideas, but there may be unintended consequences. As the Chamber CEO, I suggest knowing how it impacts businesses, so it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on our community and local companies, including their employees.
  • Understand the candidate and where they stand. Get to know individual’s ethics and their position on certain issues. Vote for person and not the party. Look at the incumbent’s voting records to see how they voted; this will give you a true indication on where they stand, rather than the 30-second sound bites you hear on the radio.
  • Now, a quick segue to voting with your dollars. Your spending decisions matter too. Buying local is important, especially with the upcoming holiday season. It’s more important than ever to support our local businesses who employ our friends, neighbors and community members. They, in turn, spend money at other local businesses. It’s called the multiplier effect where the mighty dollar continues to circulate throughout our community. Our local and small businesses also support the community by giving money to our nonprofits, supporting youth and high school teams, rec teams, the arts and more!
  • A good example of voting with your dollar and initiatives that may have negative impacts on our business community include propositions 124, 125 and 126. At first blush, it may seem like it would be more convenient to simply shop at a grocery store and purchase wine. But stop and think about all our small business that are liquor stores who employ knowledgeable people who assist you with pairings and party planning. Grocery store workers are not likely to be able to help you pick out that bottle of wine that would go perfectly with your special dinner or event. It is estimated that if all of these propositions pass, 80% of local liquors stores will be out of business within a few years.

Don’t forget – Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and you must drop off your ballot by 7 p.m. Log on to GoVoteColorado.gov for information and sign up for Ballottrax, which lets you know when your ballot is sent, received and counted. Don’t forget to sign your ballot – your signature gets verified and helps keep our elections secure. Ballot drop-off locations are conveniently located in Ignacio, Bayfield and Durango. Exercise your right to vote and make your voice heard!

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.