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Mountain News: What Trump's presidency means for ski towns



Those in Clinton-favouring mountain valleys last week were asking what the Trump presidency means for everything from public lands and Obamacare to immigration.

As has been their predilection, resort mountain valleys in Colorado tilted hard toward Democrats. Nearly 70 per cent of voters in Pitkin and San Miguel (Aspen and Telluride) counties voted for Hillary Clinton. That's just a tad less than in Colorado's most liberal county, Boulder.

Several of the counties — including those where Breckenridge, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat are located — delivered between 50 and 60 per cent of votes to Clinton. Only a few — Grand (Winter Park) and Chaffee (Monarch) — gave a plurality of votes to Donald Trump.

Now that he can call in his kids and rent a U-Haul for the move south to D.C., what will Trump do?

In an interview with the

Telluride Daily Planet, Dan Jansen, the mayor of Mountain Village, suggested Trump had a greater challenge than the road to the White House.

"I found that campaigning is easy, but it's governing that's more challenging," he said.

Elsewhere, there was anxiety.

"I think it's scary right now, and I'm worried about kids as young as third grade coming to school crying about whether or not their friends are going to be deported," Silverthorne resident Karin Mitchell told the Summit Daily News.

West on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Springs, there were tears at the Literacy Outreach office. The non-profit works with a wide swath of the Latino community in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Aspen Daily News explained.

"They're terrified," said Martha Fredendall in reporting children who didn't want to go to school. "Even those who are here legally are nervous."

Chis Pooley, who practices immigration law in Glenwood Springs and the Vail Valley, predicted that Trump's actions wouldn't match his rhetoric. "Building a wall and deporting everybody, when the rubber meets the road, he's not going to be able to do that," Pooley said. "Time will tell what he's going to do."

Another issue is marijuana. Colorado has legalized recreational marijuana, and now, so has California. The Obama administration had signalled this would be acceptable, despite federal laws. What about the Trump administration?

Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project and a key figure in Colorado's legalization beginning in 2014, isn't too concerned about a potential federal crackdown after the Trump takeover.

"Are they really going to roll back a bunch of voter-approved laws and get rid of thousands and thousands of jobs and give (the industry) back to Mexican drug cartels?" he told the Aspen newspaper. "That doesn't seem to jibe with what he's been talking about."

But others in Aspen worry that Trump will appoint Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and part of the failed war on drugs, as U.S. attorney general.

Then there's Obamacare. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to destroy it. While Republicans now control both houses of Congress, seeming to give them a hat-trick of power, it's never quite that easy. Democrats, in 2008, had control of all three bodies — but couldn't get cap-and-trade over the finish line and delivered a compromised Obamacare only after tortured debate.

In some of the ski valleys of Colorado's Western Slope, insurance rates have continued to jump skyward. The Daily News cites the example of one 27-year-old male who had a jump of 35 per cent in health insurance premiums from last year.

The average monthly premiums for the resort regions of the Western Slope are nearly double those for the same plan in the Denver area. The Daily News fingers the disproportionate costs to less competition both among insurers and health-care providers.

Those who pay the individual rates might be glad to see a return to the pre-Obamacare status quo, said The Daily News. However, those residents earning less than about US$47,000 per year or those with pre-existing conditions have a lot to lose. Insurance costs of those making less than $47,000 ares subsidized under Obamacare.

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