A Vital Part of the Community

Inarguably, our undocumented residents are a vital part of this community’s local economy. Undocumented immigrants living in Colorado pay $139.5 million in state and local taxes, which fund services we all benefit from.

Immigrants help power major sectors of our economy, driving innovation, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. In our congressional district, immigrants make up over 12 percent of the tourism workforce, and that number is much higher in resort communities like Telluride.

Immigrants enrich our community in countless ways. But inadequate funding for some of our state’s policies continues to put up roadblocks that prevent Colorado from being the welcoming, inclusive state it should be, and hindering the safety of all Coloradoans.

Colorado legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses passed in 2013, but didn’t provide adequate funding. Although originally allowing undocumented immigrants to apply and obtain licenses from six DMV locations, that number has since dwindled, and could become just one, if funding to properly implement the program as intended is not provided. Increased funding would mean more qualified and insured drivers, safer roads, and lower insurance premiums for everyone.

Licenses are particularly important for workers in key agricultural areas, such as San Miguel County, where public transportation is not readily available. Our agriculture industry, which in 2014 alone contributed $2.8 billion to our state GDP, is heavily reliant on immigrant labor (35 percent). As a whole in 2014, our state’s immigrant workers also paid more than $3.9 billion in taxes and carry $12.1 billion in spending power. These contributions would only increase if access to licenses were expanded.

I hope our lawmakers in Denver vote on some much-needed changes that would benefit all Coloradoans this legislative session and provide adequate funding for this program. Telluride’s future may very well depend on it.

-Kody Gerkin, Community Outreach Manager

As featured in Telluride Daily Planet on February 8, 2019

Healthcare Coverage

January 15th, 2019 ended the Open Enrollment period for Coloradans to sign up for health insurance on the state-run exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. A new record-high enrollment was seen in Colorado during this year’s Open Enrollment. More than 169,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2019, which was a two percent increase over the Open Enrollment period in 2018. Tri-County Health Network helped enroll… Continue Reading

Skippy in 2018

2018 has been a great year for TCHNetwork’s Skippy Dental Program, we provided preventive dental services to 519 patients! Our staff worked hard to facilitate 49 clinic days at 10 local schools and a few adult clinics for the Mexican American Development Association (MADA) and at a local Latino Wellness Fair. This past year, we completed a record number of virtual dental exams… Continue Reading

Mental Health First Aid Agency of the Year

Pictured above: MHFA Instructors Erich Lange, Paul Reich and Ben Marshall of Tri-County Health Network (missing from photo, Kody Gerkin), which was recognized as the 2018 Organization of the Year by Mental Health First Aid Colorado in October. Mental Health Matters!  To each of us as individuals.  To our families and friends.  To our communities.  And, of course, to Tri-County… Continue Reading

Somos Uno Telluride

Somos Uno Telluride is a leadership development program that TCHNetwork facilitated with the support from the Colorado Health Foundation. This program aims to improve the health and leadership and advocacy skills of the Latino and Latino ally population in San Miguel County.The most recent graduating class completed the program at the end of last year… Continue Reading

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Guest Post)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and during this time, not only is it important to raise awareness about the dynamics and prevalence of domestic violence, but also we want to highlight the associations between domestic violence and mental health in order to underscore why Mental Health Matters.The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and… Continue Reading

Gold Beads and My Dad (Guest Post)

On a beautiful September day in Telluride I chose to wear gold beads as I walked down Colorado Avenue.  Why gold?  I wore the strand of plastic gold beads because I lost my Dad to suicide in August 2014, just before the start of my junior year at college.  The next day, the world learned… Continue Reading


Food Rx: Treating the Whole Patient with Whole FoodsFor local residents in rural, Southwestern Colorado, fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices are hard to come by. Budgets are squeezed further when a member of the family is diagnosed with a chronic illness, requiring time off from work and frequent trips to the clinic or… Continue Reading

Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Matters. Well, of course it does. Those of us who work in the field of mental health, even non-professionals such as me, or those who are only on the periphery of the topic, would find little to argue with the premise that “Mental Health Matters.”  There are numerous statistics that remind us of… Continue Reading

Skippy is in Schools Near You!

Skippy’s mission is to provide children ages 0-18 with school-based, oral health services while reducing the time spent away from the classroom. Parents can enroll their children for services through this electronic consent form. These services include: cleaning, exam, fluoride treatment, protective sealants, interim temporary restorations, hygiene education, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and fillings. For children in… Continue Reading

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