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Senator Rich selected as the 2023 ‘Legislator of the Year’

Top people, places and projects in economic development honored at annual awards dinner & ceremony

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO (Oct. 19, 2023) – The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2023 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference at Grand Junction Convention Center in Grand Junction, Colorado Oct. 18-20, 2023.

The most recognized award in economic development in Colorado, the EDIE represents outstanding achievements by its members, organizations, communities, companies, individuals and legislators for their outstanding achievements in economic development in the State of Colorado. Since 1989, EDCC has celebrated the achievements of over 200 award winners. This year, 12 awardees were recognized.

Senator Rich was selected as this year’s ‘Legislator of the Year’ for her achievements in the following activities:

  • Supported in favor of the creation and the codifying of the Rural Opportunity Office within the State Office of Economic Development. Although OEDIT worked to put funding towards one full time employee focused on Rural issues, the office knew that with 73% of our state being considered Rural, that a more dedicated focus and budget towards Rural initiatives were badly needed. We are only as strong as our weakest community.
  • Supported SB23-175 reauthorizing the financing mechanism of Downtown Development Authorities (DDA). DDAs focus on supporting and facilitating economic development efforts to enhance the viability of Downtowns through grants, capital investment and improvements to public amenities. We have witnessed a DDA at work this week with the work that Downtown Grand Junction has been doing alongside their partners at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Business Incubator, Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Grand Junction.

Criteria to be considered for this award include:

  • Demonstrated support for economic development initiatives or primary industry support during last legislative session.
  • Sponsoring or being a leading voice on bills or ballot initiatives aimed at strengthening Colorado’s economy, identified in EDCC’s legislative policy statement: healthy business climate, effective well-maintained infrastructure, and well-educated workforce.
  • Building consensus across the political spectrum to successfully pass bills or ballot initiatives that strengthen Colorado’s economic outlook.

“The historic Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction was the perfect place to honor this diverse and talented cast of contributors to Colorado’s economic development community,” said Drew Kramer, EDCC Board Chair and Economic Development Program Manager for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. ”Each of the winners represents a key piece of the complex puzzle we must complete to ensure an economically viable future for Colorado – from large and small communities to national corporations and local businesses to elected officials and individual professionals and advocates.”

Kramer further noted the hard work that EDCC Executive Director Kim Woodworth, her staff and several volunteers put in to make the Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference such an effective gathering of the state’s economic development professionals, policymakers and business leaders. An estimated 300 attendees converged in Grand Junction for an agenda rich with content covering everything from housing and the impacts of the outdoor recreation industry to leadership development and demographic trends. Taking place, the second night of the conference, the EDIE Awards ceremony was held at the recently renovated Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction’s Main Street District.

2023 Legislator of the Year - Senator Janice Rich2023 Class of EDCC EDIE Award Winners