On Earth Day 2017, Christine Berg, Mayor of Lafayette, sat down and filled out her candidate affidavit to run for Boulder County Commissioner in 2018 and filed with the Colorado Secretary of State. Term-limited in her work with Lafayette City Council, she knew she had to stay engaged in the political process in a significant way.
“It’s a culmination of so many of the feelings people are having about wanting to get involved and to make a significant shift in how we work with our governments,” Berg says. “Earth Day was symbolic in many ways.”
With the unraveling of many federal environmental regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan and the recent EPA methane rules, Berg wants to put her past experience both in Lafayette and elsewhere to use at the county level, running for the District 3 seat that will be vacated by current Commissioner Cindy Domenico, who is also term-limited.
Berg has worked on oil and gas regulations for many years, and, if elected, is determined to do everything within her power as commissioner to guarantee public health and safety in the face of energy development. Although the current commissioners “have come up with the strictest regulations in the state of Colorado,” Berg knows there could still be many challenges ahead.
“We’re at a crossroads where we have depleted all of our options to some degree from a regulatory perspective from the local and county levels,” she says. Regardless, she’s committed to do “whatever it takes to make sure we are safe.” This includes advocating for state-level elected officials “who are willing to be courageous enough to work through and pass legislation that is going to protect our citizens.”
At the same time, Berg believes the fight against climate change starts at the local level, given that “essentially one-third of emissions [in the U.S.] are from cities.” And it includes transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, something she’s worked on in Lafayette.
She’s also concerned with transportation and affordable housing, two causes she championed within the last year as mayor. Although the initiative for city-wide Eco-passes in Lafayette failed to pass in 2016, Berg is committed to continuing the conversation on a county level. She also advocated for the successful $3.5 million affordable housing deal the City made with Flatirons Community Church last month.
“For me it’s about keeping our diversity,” she says. “We know through Boulder County Transportation, most people are paying 20 percent for transportation in their budgets. We also know there are some folks that are paying 50 percent for housing costs. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for anything else.”
The election may still be more than a year away, but Berg is already meeting with local farmers to talk about transitioning away from GMOs on County open space, and other groups.
So far she’s up against State Senator Matt Jones in the Democratic primary election next June, which will also mark the first time unaffiliated voters can participate in party primaries, creating some unpredictability statewide as well as at the County Commissioner level. Regardless of who makes the ballot in November 2018, Berg says, “We need candidates who are forward-thinking and candidates who are willing to take on these complex issues.”