Caucus should provide early insight on which El Paso County candidates might succeed
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Calandra Vargas (Photo via Twitter)

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Republican Party

Campaign Website:

Twitter Handle: @EPCommissioner1

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Education: Lewis-Palmer High School; Oral Roberts University; bachelor's degree in international relations; Regent University: master's degree in global politics

Experience: former Congressional candidate for District 5; legislative aid at the Colorado General Assembly; political operative and campaign staffer on multiple campaigns, including Mitt Romney's presidential campaign; alumni of The Heritage Foundation's Young Leaders Program

What should the county's priorities be to keep up with the significant population growth that's expected in the coming years?

The county's priorities are to provide quality services to citizens, plan for smart growth, secure public safety, and promote a thriving economy. We all want responsible regional planning, wise use of water, quality infrastructure, and low taxes. The county must be proactive about coordinating with all aspects of government to ensure efficient use of resources. Our law enforcement must be given the support needed to serve and protect our growing communities. Citizens love where they live and want a commissioner who will respect our quality of life and pursue innovative solutions in the midst of change and growth.

Progress is moving along on the widening of the Interstate 25 Gap, and construction could begin later this year. What do you see as the next big infrastructure project that needs to get done in the county?

Roads in our county, both rural and urban, must be prioritized in the county budget. We have many maintenance and improvement projects to fulfill and address new developments in queue. Smart infrastructure-planning means taking care of what you have and employing a coordinated effort to address both transportation and utilities needs county-wide. The Southern Delivery System still needs to increase its storage capacity by completing the Upper and Lower Williams Creek reservoirs. Remember, Calandra is for community, county, and Colorado! El Paso County can and should be the leader on regional transportation and water planning in the state.

Do you believe the medical and recreational marijuana markets are creating a problem with illegal grow operations in the county? If so, how can the Board of County Commissioners help address that problem?

Illegal grow operations are a daunting problem as they have led to increased crime, public safety hazards, and heartbreaking realities like human trafficking. Our law enforcement is working around the clock to deal with the unintended consequences of marijuana and to enforce existing laws. Marijuana is here to stay so we must pursue economic opportunities, educate the public about drug use, and deter illegal activity. The BOCC must tenaciously pursue solutions to equip our law enforcement, work with business owners who are legal producers of medical marijuana, and influence the State Legislature to set effective and wise standards of regulation.

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