Boulder County Dems Profile
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Profile Written By the Boulder County Democratic Party
Sometimes a person’s upbringing is the best window into their values and work ethic. Edie Hooton’s parents instilled in her the importance of service to one’s community, and that’s been a guiding principle during Edie’s tenure as State Representative from House District 10 (Boulder). Since her election to the Legislature in 2016, Edie has served in a number of leadership positions, including majority caucus chair. Her public service background also includes 20 years as a Democratic activist and 10 years as a legislative aide.
We posed a few questions to Edie, to get to know her better and to understand where her priorities lie as a Colorado legislator facing reelection. Her answers reinforce her progressive ideas as well as a spirited dedication to her constituents.
You note that your father helped to establish one of the first Planned Parenthood locations in Vermont and your mother was a feminist and community leader. How has your family’s activism inspired you and shaped your approach to critical issues as a political leader?
My parents inspired me because they worked hard and took decisive stands, and not always when decisions were easy or issues were popular. I learned at an early age the value of getting directly involved when you want something to happen or not happen, since nothing really has to change unless someone makes it change. My family also helped me to appreciate the act of listening and attention to detail, since raw activism might not be good enough if it doesn’t lead to the proper solutions.
In the 2020 legislative session, you introduced SB20-008, a bill meant to increase potential penalties for criminal violations affecting water quality. Going forward, what additional steps will you take to help ensure access to clear air and water and a healthier environment for your constituents?
Unfortunately, that bill had to be postponed, so one early step would be to re-introduce this bill or something like it, and I do believe it will be effective in reducing the likelihood of serious water pollution when it passes. There are so many things we can do to protect our environment, but for a short list — more clean energy, more electric vehicles, better transit and alternative transportation options, emissions regulation and enforcement for oil and gas exploration, and serious focus on climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions that may contribute to greater likelihood of serious wildfires. As we’ve all noticed, wildfires in Colorado and the West have contributed to awful air quality over the past few months. (Ed. note: This question was posed before the mid-October 2020 CalWood fire northwest of Boulder.)
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the residents of Boulder County, and will likely have lasting repercussions for years to come. As a State Representative, what lessons have you learned during this unprecedented time, and how will you apply this wisdom throughout your next term?
I definitely had my awareness about the importance of public health standards expanded, since we learned as a state how to manage COVID-19 numbers to a certain extent without a vaccine or dependable treatments. Many of us learned that relatively simple measures like social distancing and wearing masks can slow the spread of disease, and if we have another health crisis or if COVID-19 flares up, we know a solid number of public health strategies we can use. Moving forward, I will consider issues such as preparedness, having adequate supplies and equipment, funding and staffing for public health agencies, and managing problems associated with this pandemic, including serious housing and economic challenges.
One thing has become abundantly clear during this election season: some in the political arena are capitalizing on partisan divides to advance their goals, further exacerbating rifts between American citizens. As the State Representative of House District 10, what will you do to help heal these fractures and work to represent the interests of all county residents? Though I’m a Democrat, I do my best to listen to constituents and colleagues no matter their ideology, and I try to get Republican co-sponsors on bills I sponsor. I think some of our modern problems with extremely partisan divides stem from inflammatory communications and discourse, and I would like to see us all make extra efforts to use respectful language when discussing issues. Of course, we won’t always agree on everything, but it’s easier to see reasonable points in opposing views if people aren’t demonizing each other.
Boulder County residents have a full ballot and many decisions to make come November 3. What’s the overall pitch you would like to convey to voters about yourself as a candidate? I’m a two-term incumbent, I love the work, and I believe I’ve been effective in getting things done. My colleagues elected me House Majority Caucus Chair to manage business for a diverse caucus of 41 members. I’m also the Vice Chair of House Energy and Environment, and I know energy and environment are two of the most important issues for the people of House District 10. Listening to input from the highly informed people of this district is not just my job — I also appreciate it more than people might know because it helps me craft better legislation and watch out for proposals that we don’t want in our state statutes.
Our thanks go to Edie for shedding light on what makes her tick, and for previewing the issues she’ll tackle in her hoped-for next term as Boulder’s State Representative. We’re rooting for her! To learn more about Rep. Hooton, head to bocovoter.org and ediehooton.com.