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House District 56: Incumbent Kevin Priola touts legislative achievements

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Republican Kevin Priola is looking to secure another term in the Colorado House of Representatives. The incumbent said he has been honored to represent his hometown in the Legislature.

“I’ve really tried to focus on a broad variety of legislation,” he said. “I’ve ran water bills, I ran education bills, I ran an anti-bullying bill two years ago to give school districts best practices in reducing the instances of bullying in schools,” he said.

Over the last four years Priola has introduced a number of bills he says he’s really proud of and specifically cited House Bill 1158, Senate Bill 38 and Senate Bill 1115. He said HB 1158 increased the number of years that is used when averaging Public Employees Retirement Association retirement, whereas Senate Bill 38 protects homeowners from storm chasers and will bring down the cost of homeowners insurance for all Coloradans.

According to Priola, SB 1115 helped the construction industry, which “has been decimated by this economy,” by changing the formula that public entities use for taking draws and paying contractors.

“What they were doing is they were holding retainage up to 12 to 18 months after the certificate of occupancy had already been given for a project, and they were using the money to balance their budgets,” he said.

Priola said jobs and the economy are “hands down the big issue” in this election.

“That’s why I think I’m perfectly suited to continue serving,” he said. “I have a small-business background; I’ve studied business and economics in college, so I think I know what it takes to keep this state moving forward.”

According to Priola, the second biggest issue is education. He said his wife works in education, and he currently has two children in school.

“Reform and education is so critical not only to the education of our children but to the future vitality of the economy,” he said.

Priola is considering running a third-grade literacy bill this year where students would have to prove they can read by third grade or they would need to be retained until they can show proficiency in reading. He said the ability for kids to read and comprehend in the third grade is the key to success in the higher grades.

Because he’s really concerned about the long-term prospects for drought in the state, Priola said he would also like to introduce a water bill which, at the end of the day, would increase the availability of water for residential, commercial and agricultural use and create a structure for private sector investment.

Priola said he also has served on the economic and business committee and the transportation committee. He said from his record in the House, it’s evident that he’s worked in a fairly bipartisan manner on issues legislators can see eye to eye on.

Priola believes that record is the reason voters should re-elect him.

“I have a strong record of running really good legislation that helps most Coloradans, helps consumers, helps small businesses, helps kids learn and at the end of the day, that’s what I think the voters are really looking for,” he said. “They’re looking for folks to solve problems not just to point their fingers.”

Priola was born and raised in Brighton, graduated from Horizon High School in 1992 and graduated University of Colorado with a business degree focusing on finance and economics. He currently lives in Henderson with his wife, Michelle, and their children Turin, 10, Bremma, 6, and Mari, 2.

When he is not campaigning, Priola has a commercial real estate business specializing in industrial property he helps manage. He also likes to hunt, ski and is an avid University of Colorado and Denver Broncos fan.