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Klesner, Solomon seek Holy Cross Energy’s Northern District seat

May 15, 2024, 2:46 pm

The local electric co-op for Vail and Eagle County, Holy Cross Energy, which currently provides 72% emissions-free energy and hopes to push that number to 100% by 2030, on Wednesday issued the following press release on its ongoing Northern District board of directors election:

Glenwood Springs, CO, May 15, 2024—Local rural electric cooperative Holy Cross Energy has announced two candidates running for a seat in the Northern District on the HCE Board of Directors in its upcoming election: Matt Solomon and Incumbent Keith Klesner.

Keith Klesner

The Director seat is in the Northern District, which includes the town of Vail and the Eagle River Valley.  

HCE members may vote by mail, online, or in person at HCE’s Annual Meeting at 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott on Thursday, June 6 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Results will be shared after HCE’s annual report that evening. All HCE members, regardless of district, may vote in the election.  

As a cooperative, HCE’s members are also its owners and are encouraged to take an active role as members and vote. Directors represent the membership and guide HCE’s strategic objectives. 

Matt Solomon

Ballots were mailed, and an online link to vote was emailed to HCE members on May 8. If more than one ballot is submitted per member-of-record, the paper ballot will take precedence.  

A short biography and candidate video Q&A is available online at www.holycross.com/election. Ballot and candidate materials are also available in Spanish.

RealVail.com question on climate change

In 2022, when he was seeking the Republican nomination for the state Senate District 8 seat to oppose current Democrat Sen. Dylan Roberts, RealVail.com asked this of Solomon, who went on to lose decisively to Roberts in the general election:

RV: Is climate change causing extreme weather events such as wildfires, mudslides and extreme drought, and, if so, is it caused by the ongoing burning of fossil fuels?

Here was Solomon’s response at the time:

Solomon: Climate change is caused by many factors, not just the ongoing burning of fossil fuels. I have real-world experience in helping to combat climate change. During my time on Eagle Town Council, after rejecting Eagle County’s Climate Action Plan, we had several spirited discussions and presentations. I made the motion to pass the Town’s Resolution addressing our Climate Action Plan and it became the most aggressive plan in Eagle County. I am proud of two things we did: 1. The Town is working as a leader by example, meaning it is not forcing new practices on its community or developers without proving viability, and, 2. The Town will only take steps that are economically sustainable.

RealVail.com this week put the same question to Klesner. Here’s his response:

Klesner: Experts and research have weighed in and the evidence is indisputable: Burning fossil fuels for power, transportation and heating have changed our climate. We need to take action at all levels to change course. Locally, we are taking action at Holy Cross by growing renewables to 100% by 2030 and with organizations like the Climate Action Collaborative to set examples for communities to join in the fight. Extreme weather including aridification and heat waves threaten our mountain communities and combustion byproducts threaten our most vulnerable people’s health. We need to move on from fighting science and take action.

I am continuously disappointed by the fossil fuel industry which has obfuscated the truth around energy, taking from the playbook of big tobacco a generation before.  Renewable energy has proven to be a viable alternative to fossil fuels with lower costs and free, abundant ‘fuel’ like solar, wind and water with no impact to human health. For example, the natural gas industry strongly advocates for peaker gas generation capacity to fill in renewable gaps yet CO2 and methane from natural gas extraction, transport and combustion are nearly as climate impactful as coal. Solar power with battery backup has proven lower cost and these types of systems have saved Texas and California during peak conditions. Renewables and integration of technology are the best path to a sustainable future. 

I welcome any other questions.

Regarding my opponent’s view on nuclear, he appears to have hosted meetings across CO advocating for that technology. I don’t believe this is consistent with our community values. See posts from April 2023 – Oct 2023 on Matt Solomon 4CO Facebook page.

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