State attorney general: Office can play a role in addressing issues

Phil Weiser

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser believes his office can play a role in helping businesses, promoting economic development and addressing problems.

“I’m a big believer in what we can do in Colorado,” Weiser said
during a wide-ranging discussion with local government officials and business leaders at the offices of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

Weiser, formerly dean of the University of Colorado School of Law and a U.S. deputy assistant attorney general, was among the Democrats elected to statewide positions in Colorado in 2018.

The state attorney general serves as the chief legal counsel and chief law officer as well as represents and defends the legal interests of the state and its residents.

Weiser said his role and that of his office encompasses a lot of responsibilities. That includes protecting consumers — as well as competing businesses — from fraudulent practices. “It’s a big part of our mission.”

Weiser said his office also is involved in efforts to help businesses comply with new data security stands.

The state attorney general also is charged with protecting natural resources in Colorado, Weiser said.

To that end, he said his office has been involved in contingency planning for drought and potential shortages of water for not only human consumption, but also agricultural purposes. “I don’t want to live in a future that doesn’t have Palisade peaches.”

Weiser said he favors collaborative approaches to water management in Colorado as well as between Colorado and other western states.

Weiser said his office also has been involved in efforts to provide high-speed internet access across the state, and important prerequisite to economic development.

Weiser said his office also worked with Robin Brown, executive director of GJEP, in resolving a dispute over whether an agricultural lighting company that moved operations to the Grand Valley was eligible for a state program offering tax incentives for creating jobs.

Violet Gro was subsequently approved to participate in the Colorado Rural Jump-Start Program.

Providing mental health services and treating drug addiction also constitutes important issues, and Weiser said he’s hopeful litigation against the opioid industry will result in a settlement that can be used to fund more efforts. Colorado recently joined in a lawsuit against dug manufacturers.

While nearly all of the 300 lawyers who work for the state attorney general work out of offices in Denver, Weiser said their attention extends to all areas of the state. “We have people who really care about all of Colorado.”

Still, Weiser said he’s about to add a lawyer to the staff who will work out of Western Colorado — either Grand Junction or Durango — and that will help in developing even closer connections in the region.

In discussing traffic congestion on Interstate Highway 70 and transportation infrastructure in Colorado, Weiser said he’s interested in hearing more about an idea to route more commercial air service through Grand Junction to get visitors to Colorado ski resorts.

Given the growing investment in infrastructure and education in Mesa County, Weiser said he’s excited about the prospects for this region of the state. “This community can do incredible things.”