Polis on listening tour, but will it yield results?

Using 401(k) funds to start a business without having to pay withdrawal penalties. Cutting some of the red tape for certain exporters. Alternative-energy tax credits. Finding lower-cost alternatives to incarceration. Better monitoring of oil and gas fracking operations.

In the span of 30 minutes or so, Rep. Jared Polis promised to do what he could to either directly address or at least help address each and every one of those issues.
Polis was meeting with a handful of potential constituents – a roundtable of CEOs of some of the companies housed in the Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins – and so, as a politician, naturally doing what he could to placate the audience.

Fortunately, this did not come across as par-for-the-course appeasement and glad-handing. Instead, Polis struck us as a sincere, if slightly distracted, fellow with ambitions to do the right thing for business interests.

Polis has represented Boulder as the congressman from the Second District since 2009. And now that the state Supreme Court has upheld new district boundaries, he might soon get the chance to work on behalf of the people of Larimer County – so long as he wins re-election in the fall.

Given their various and many differences, clumping Larimer and Weld together in the Fourth district never sat well with a lot of folks. Some people have the same concern now that Larimer and Boulder are joined together in the Second.

Whether that’s a valid concern remains to be seen, but what Polis had to say about some of the issues important to businesses in Larimer County is no doubt of interest to companies across the district.

He promised to draft legislation – if another representative hadn’t already done so – to make it possible to withdraw 401(k) dollars to start a business without being penalized for doing so.

He said he would push for more business-friendly rules regulating the exportation of certain technologies that now run afoul of Department of Defense restrictions – especially in instances in which overseas competitors are taking away market share from U.S. companies.

He expressed support for extending alternative-energy tax credits to help an industry still struggling to overcome market skepticism.

He said he would apply all of the pressure he could to persuade immigration authorities to embrace lower-cost alternatives to detention.

And he expressed support for increased monitoring of fracking operations.
Were he to succeed in each of these realms, Polis will have helped grow the fortunes of each of the CEOs at the roundtable. The rushed, few minutes that they spent with him will have been very much worth it.

Because we don’t know him well yet, we should be keeping a close eye on Jared Polis. But we also hope for the best and have our fingers crossed.

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