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The Rural Opportunity Office is charged with boosting economic development in rural communities across the state

On Saturday, May 20 In Rifle, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bipartisan bill to foster economic development in Colorado’s rural communities.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis enters the House of Representatives chamber to make his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Colorado Legislature Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

SB23-006, was sponsored by Senator Dylan Roberts (D-Avon), and Representative Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango), Senator Janice Rich (R-Grand Junction), and Rep. Marc Catlin (R-Montrose). The bill formally creates the Rural Opportunity Office (ROO) within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

ROO is charged with serving as the central coordinator of rural economic development for the state, supporting communities transitioning away from coal-based economies, and making recommendations to help inform economic development policy impacting rural communities.

“Rural communities like those I represent are crucial to Colorado’s economy and character. To ensure we’re building a Colorado where everyone can thrive, we must be proactive in our work to support rural economic development,” said Roberts. “By creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for our small towns in the Rural Opportunity Office, we’re providing the expertise to meet our rural economies’ unique needs and helping communities take advantage of state, federal, and nonprofit opportunities to promote, diversify, and expand economic opportunity. From Craig to Granby, Sterling to Cortez, and everywhere in between, the Rural Opportunity Office will be a vital resource for rural Colorado.”

“As a rural Coloradan, I know how crucial our rural communities and agricultural industries are in maintaining Colorado’s economy and way of life,” said McLachlan. “Our new bipartisan law will create the Rural Opportunity Office to uplift rural communities throughout the state by connecting them with resources and opportunities that will boost our local economies and create more good paying jobs.”

The Rural Opportunity Office began its work to boost rural economies through supportive development strategies in 2019. In the years since, the ROO has expanded services to include and assist Colorado’s Tribal nations in their economic development through grant writing support, education campaigns, and technical assistance.