Name: Kari Solberg
Profession: Entrepreneur / dog trainer
Biography: Politics was never in the plan for me. I grew up in a low-income family that believed only the wealthy and predestined were capable of filling those positions. As I've grown and become more involved in my local community, though, I've realized that us "normal" everyday people are the ones that absolutely should be in office. Those of us that have personal experience in the trenches of life and understand that our government is not meant to be over the people, but by and for the people.
I came to Colorado from Oregon 17 years ago for college at Johnson & Wales University in Denver and never looked back. In 2015, I chose Douglas County as home and the place I wanted to open my first business. I started K-9 State of Mind as a small in-home business and quickly grew it into a successful dog boarding and training facility in the heart of Parker. Regretfully in 2020, I made the decision to close the doors to that facility and pivoted into other ventures as many of us had to do in pandemic times. I currently work for a dog training facility in Colorado Springs and do consulting and mentorship for trainers across the country.
I am running for office because I am deeply concerned for not just our community, but our country as a whole. If nothing else, I want to be an example that will encourage our next leaders to step out of the shadows and do something.
What is the biggest issue facing the county currently and how will you address it?
Party theatrics and infighting in the board. When it comes to the actual issues, I would say it's the county's rate of growth and development in relation to our natural resources and infrastructure but I truly believe the board's behavior is the biggest issue at hand. It is being used as a distraction to take eyes away from things like the RWR deal and is the source of other costly decision making like dismantling the Tri-County Health Department. If elected, I would immediately get to work on expanding the board and work to drive the focus to addressing the more critical issues at hand.
What initiatives would you like to see the board of commissioners put in place in the next few years?
Expansion of the board from three to five commissioners. Mandatory Coloradoscaping for all new developments in the county and a phased transition of older developments into Coloradoscaping. Developer-driven school building programs.
To what degree do you see housing affordability as an issue in the county? What, if any, actions would you like to see taken to address this?
Housing affordability is an issue across the entire state, but especially in Douglas County. I would like to explore the option of a capped or grandfathered property tax rate for residents at risk for displacement due to increased values, high-density housing rent caps, and incentives for developers to include affordable housing in their development plans. This is an issue that has many opportunities for us to address legislatively and I'm open to exploring the risks/benefits of all of them.
How would you interact with your fellow commissioners to develop policies if elected?
My profession requires me to be a people person and to find common ground with anyone I interact with. I think that experience and ability sets me up well for interacting with a board that has recently proven hostile, even to those that fit the mold.
What actions would you take to address the local rise in homelessness?
I would like to see the county focus more on establishing the resources necessary to rehabilitate the homeless rather than relocating them to other communities on the guise that they can better support them. When I read on the Douglas County Homeless Initiative page that the first C is Compassion and we approach homelessness with a "person first perspective," I'd want to take steps to make that statement more true than it is today. We need adequate housing, substance abuse support programs, and a cohesive reintegration system that can provide lasting results to help the people suffering from homelessness in our county.
What can the county do to secure sufficient water for its current and future residents?
This is a very complex issue that must be so much more than just purchasing water from another community and hoping that will be enough. We need to get aggressive about conservation, negotiate longer-term and better water rights, focus on community education, and become better stewards of our environment in order to get this issue under control.