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Positive events and people in the district

Rep. McLachlan is still in recovery from his recent health problems and has been unable to attend the past several days of the legislative session. Rep. McLachlan’s condition is improving every day and his doctors and family believe that it won’t be long before he returns. His daughter, Kate McLachlan, writes this week’s article on his behalf. 

Because Rep. McLachlan has been away from the Capitol, and because he’s previously spoken at length about his work at the state legislature, I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on the recent accomplishments of just some of the exceptional residents in the 59th district.

I can’t think of a better time to reflect on the positive people and events that surround us. We have several things to be proud of and several great people to recognize.

The Pagosa Springs Pirates won the 3A high school boys basketball state championship in March, capping an impressive 23-3 season and beating the number one-ranked Kent Denver Sundevils, with a final score of 53-49. This is the first team state championship for the Pagosa Springs Pirates since 1960, ending a 53-year drought. The Pirates’ point guard Kain Lucero also received the tournament MVP award. Congratulations to all of the boys and Coach Randy Sorenson for this terrific achievement.

Durango had its fair share of exciting sports news as well last month. A record seven skiers from the Purgatory Freestyle Team qualified for the United States Ski Association Junior Nationals, which occurred in Park City, Utah, March 4-10. We’re all very proud of the qualifiers: Coleman Bader, Natalie Lyon, George McQuinn, Jimmy Pope, Hannah Smith, Sadie Smith and Nathan Youssef. All the athletes who competed had strong finishes at nationals, but some notable performances were Hannah Smith’s 12th place finish overall for women and George McQuinn’s 10th place finish in male aerials.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Southwest Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross held their fifth annual Breakfast of Champions. Seventeen fearless Southwest Colorado residents and three brave dogs were honored for their courageous and selfless responses during times of crisis. Our gratitude and thanks go out to Burch Frost, Joel Flaugh, Jim Owens, Tyler Gardner, Seth St. Germain, Max Howard, Casey Baker, Tony Stephens, Mike Valdez, Shane Baird, Brian Leewit, Sgt. Robert Taylor, Sgt. David Longenette, Jim Cornett, Stephanie Hoselton, Jacob Posey and Erika Pray. This event honored people with so many amazing stories of bravery and survival, and the 59th district is extremely proud.

On a final legislative note, the representative asked that I mention that he was very proud to hear that HB 1193, a bill that he is sponsoring with Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, was approved on voice vote last Monday morning. House Bill 1193 creates the Advanced Industries Export Acceleration Program, which would provide matching seed money, up to $15,000, to help qualifying Colorado advanced-industries businesses develop an export operation. The program would include training and consultation services through the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade. This bill is about exporting products, not jobs, and will help Colorado’s advanced industries move to the next level.

To those of you who have reached out to our family with support and concern, thank you very much. I know that the representative is very eager to get back to work. He continues to be very proud to serve all of his exceptional constituents in the 59th district. If you’re aware of any other outstanding accomplishments by your friends and neighbors in House District 59, please let us know and we will congratulate them in an upcoming letter.

This story was posted on April 11, 2013.