Commissioner Colleen Roberts on her speech in Washington D.C.

Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts speaking before President Trump. (CBS News)

President Donald Trump held a press conference on America's Environmental Leadership Monday at the White House. Among the six speakers invited to present today was Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts.

Roberts shared her approach on forest management in the context of southern Oregon's recent fire seasons, and expressed her support of Trump's Executive Order "to reduce the hazardous fuel loads in federal forests."

“It was quite spur-of-the-moment,” Roberts said. She said a friend and lobbyist Nick Smith of Healthy Forests submitted a story into The Hill regarding timber and forest management, and it was noticed by the Trump Administration. They, in turn, contacted Smith about bringing someone to Washington to speak on the subject.

Smith then contacted Roberts and asked her if she’d be interested in going to Washington D.C. as part of a collective of around 10 individuals from different industries around Oregon. She had no idea at that point she’d be speaking in front of the President of the United States.

“The White House had asked us to enter submission as to what our thoughts were why we’d be there and what our input was,” Roberts said. “I put forth our concerns about the fuel loads, and how helpful anything to reduce regulations and let agencies better manage the forest.” She also touched on the 1995 Wildland Fire Policy.

Roberts was contacted on July 4th by White House Liason Joe Ruzzo, who later asked if she’d be willing to speak to the President or to a group about her submission.

But it wasn’t until she was at the White House that she was asked to present her one-minute speech. “I grabbed my phone and started texting my family,” Roberts said laughing at the memory. “Turn on Fox News! I may be on TV about this!”

Roberts then entered the press corps of about 200 people. President Trump spoke about his Executive Order which calls for fuel and timber management. Then the President turned to Commissioner Roberts. “He introduced me. He said we have a county commissioner here from Jackson County, Oregon.” Roberts said. “He called me up to the podium. I got to shake his hand, say my one minute blurb, and then I sat down."

Commissioner Roberts said her primary concern in southern Oregon is forest management and the smoke that has decimated the area for the past two years.


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