The Longmont Leader reached out to candidates of the races listed in our voter’s guide with a list of questions. Each response will be published as it is received and may be edited for clarity and/or length. The Longmont Leader does not endorse any candidate and is providing as much information as we can to help voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. If you have questions please contact email@example.com.
Marta Loachamin is a long time Longmont advocate who has worked for social, economic and housing justice by building opportunities for families throughout Boulder County and the Front Range. Her recent work with Community Foundation Boulder County highlights the opportunity for cultural brokers to influence decision making in our county. Her work with the city of Longmont after the 2013 flood established the Resiliency For All Project for the State of Colorado Division of Local Affairs. Marta is a University of Colorado graduate in Ethnic Studies, a licensed Colorado educator with a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and a national trainer for the Hispanic Wealth Project. Her career background is in banking, finance, real estate, education and consulting. Ms. Loachamin has lived in the U.S., Ecuador and Mexico and is currently running for the District 2 seat on the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners.
What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?
The job of the county commissioners is oversight of the $430M budget and support of 2,000 Boulder County employees. I have served on other local boards, task forces, committees connected to homeownership, financial literacy, banking and health care. My background as a social and economic justice advocate brings a unique lens to local government and management skills.
If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?
I am going to continue working with community in the areas of housing, economic justice and climate action. We have some very unique programs and partnerships in Longmont and, as a representative of District 2, I want to share those and see how we can build out and encourage more folks in the community to participate with initiatives like Veterans Village, Micah Homes, ReEntry Initiative and others.
What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?
I have done a significant amount of work locally and regionally addressing the systemic inequities. We have predatory practices that continue to occur against our aging community members and monolingual Spanish speaking residents. Our communities of color continue to be affected more by natural disasters, our health crisis and our economic pressures. The data we pulled in the Resiliency for All Project indicated a lack of trust in local government as well as other barriers to access brought up in your question. I will be working with the list of recommendations created by our own Boulder County residents to continue Equity Initiatives that will support our Boulder County employees to serve our 330,000 residents.
What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?
I am a first time candidate who just participated in a Primary in Boulder County as a community member. My election will be a disruption to the status quo of local politics. Together, as District 2, we can encourage more people to run for office locally.
Are you satisfied with Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?
Our response to COVID-19 has varied around the state so the question is complex. Even our neighboring counties have responded differently. I have family and friends in other parts of the world so my perspective was different about the intensity and hopes that more people would have masked up locally immediately. I saw our Governor working on getting PPE right away and as a local hospital board member, I saw our frontline health workers put their own lives at risk to care for COVID-19 patients. I don't believe our federal government has guided or modeled the graveness of this pandemic and what stands out to me is the gap in health care, insurance and ability for folks to get tested as well as take off work to care for themselves and family members when they are ill.
Colorado is facing a projected budget shortfall of more than $6 billion in the next three years because of the reduction in tax revenue caused by the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?
Our communities will be affected by the budget shortfalls and changes that are inevitable. Locally our government will have to make decisions that will be guided by the next few months of COVID-19 results. Budget priorities will be guided by the needs of our local communities and the good news is that Boulder County is in a better place financially than other parts of our state. I am not part of the board currently as they are making decisions for 2021.
A question on this year’s ballot is seeking to repeal the Gallagher Amendment. Are you in support of the measure? Why or why not?
Our tax measures are complicated. The original creation of Gallagher was prior to TABOR and obviously prior to the economic disaster we are in and about to see due to COVID-19. My concern is right now is from voices of our Boulder County business owners who are paying 29% versus 7% of property taxes and have been struggling since March 2020. I am also concerned that if this measure doesn't pass and Boulder County has to adjust in the future we will be pressed to cut services to residents.
Another initiative on the ballot seeks to create a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Do you support this measure? If it fails, should state or local lawmakers pursue similar measures?
From a local level our Boulder County employees have family and medical leave and I support similar initiatives that will create similar policies throughout the State.
What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Coloradans who may be voting for the first time?
I have been on the campaign trail, preparing for this election and job for the last 23 months. I have sat in council chambers, community meetings and events around the county where young people are sharing concerns about climate, racial justice, housing and where they are going to work after finishing school and if they will be able to live in Boulder County after graduating college. One of the challenges that I will be working on is how to incorporate youth in a broader sense with county driven work and projects.
Who is your hero, and why?
My kids are my heroes. They are sons of a single mom. They are sons of immigrants. They are hardworking and committed to care for each other, our family and their community and that perseverance and resilience is a reminder to me that our community will rise up together and take on whatever challenges come our way. I am thankful to live in a community that has supported all three of us and thrilled to give back to Longmont and Boulder County.