Colorado Business Leaders Emphasize Need For Collaboration To Keep Economy Strong

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Colorado Business Leaders
Colorado Business Leaders Emphasize Need For Collaboration To Keep Economy Strong.

During a panel discussion at the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s (COGA) 35th annual meeting, a group of business leaders from Colorado representing various sectors such as energy, agriculture, construction, and transportation emphasized the importance of collaboration.

They discussed the challenges posed by what they perceived as an anti-business agenda promoted by political leaders and activists in the state.

The panel, held as part of the annual meeting that drew over 600 Colorado business representatives, focused on the evolving political and social trends in Colorado, particularly those perceived as hindering business development and economic growth.

Ted Leighty, the CEO of the Colorado Association of Home Builders, provided examples illustrating how the represented sectors collaborate to meet the needs of the population, aiming to contribute to comfortable and sustainable living conditions.

The discussion underscored the call for cooperation among diverse industries in the face of challenges to business interests.

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“We build the communities in Colorado. Where you live, where you work, where you play.  We provide shelter, that’s why our men and women are in our industry. Shelter doesn’t work without these other industries with us,” Leighty said. “You got to have the car in your garage, you’ve got to be able to get to work, to school, you got to have power—that’s oil, that’s gas—the plastics that are used in the house in appliances. You don’t have a home if you don’t have food, you’re not providing sustenance,” he continued.

Chad Vorthmann, the Executive Vice President of the Colorado Farm Bureau, echoed similar sentiments, cautioning that without collaboration, the Colorado way of life might face threats.

“We’ve got to stand together and link arm-in-arm. We need to be talking more about the interconnectibility of the major industries in our state and what that means to the future of Colorado,” Vorthmann said. “And meet our voters at our doorstep and talk to them about what kind of Colorado do they want for their future. Because a Colorado without any one of us is not the Colorado that I think most of them are seeing.”

Dan Haley, the President and CEO of COGA, recognized that the business community in the state is confronting enduring challenges. This recognition is the reason he brought together various industries for the COGA meeting.

“These industries have been around for a hundred years and we need them around for another hundred years. We are literally building the roof over our heads, powering those homes, putting food on the table, and automobile dealers are providing the freedom to move and get around from place to place,” Haley said.

Matthews Groves, a vice president at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, cautioned that an expanding regulatory system in the state could impede economic growth. He urged industries to collaborate in addressing the evolving business environment.

“If you don’t have the opportunities to spread your message across industries. If we don’t stand there linked arm-in-arm as four separate industries up here there we’re going to be nothing more than a speed bump on a path to a place we don’t want to be,” Groves said. “If our industries don’t start swinging at a couple more pitches that might be a little more out of their strike zone, we’re just going to get taken down one, by one, by one, by one.”

Haley said he didn’t expect an upcoming legislative session with new sweeping oil and gas bills.

“We would like to think that SB 181 is still working its way through the process, and there wouldn’t be a lot of oil and gas legislation in the upcoming session,” he said.

Haley did concede that the state legislature might propose bills to prohibit specific gas-fired home appliances, a trend seen in other states. However, he expressed the belief that such endeavors would likely have negative consequences in Colorado.

“I know we will see some bills and some of that is aimed at disturbing the use of oil and natural gas products. And if you look at what’s happened on both coastlines, New York and California, legislation and different things coming up, going after things like gas furnaces, gas stoves, gas fireplaces,” he said. “If the legislature here wants to take those aggressive steps, things will tip in our favor. People who might have concerns about oil and gas, but don’t want government coming after their gas stove or gas fireplace.”

Western Wire has previously reported on the campaigns orchestrated by environmental activists aimed at hindering new home construction that relies on natural gas for cooking and heating.

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