February’s winter weather seems an apt metaphor for our current politics: Cold, harsh, and uninviting, and pleasing to almost no one, regardless of their political persuasion.

At our recent Denver South Partnership Meeting we were honored to have two senior executives from leading companies that have recently moved to or expanded operations in Denver South. Both gentlemen had insightful comments as to why they chose to invest in Colorado and Denver South and there were some very good questions from the attendees. (You can see the presentation here you missed it.) One recurring theme, however, stuck with me as I’ve reflected on that meeting. In essence, the observation was that an important draw to this area is our balanced politics and a willingness to listen, compromise, and work together for the greater good to get things done.

This “goldilocks” of politics – not too right and not too left—is rare in this day and age. But it is also central to the history of Denver South. There was a wonderful book created some years ago discussing the history of Denver South, called From Stage Trail to Light Rail. (if you are interested, please reach out to us and we will get you a copy.) In it were numerous examples of collaboration among competitors, a willingness to meet in the middle and compromise, and a desire to truly listen and understand “the other” in order to move ahead as one for the greater good.

That collaboration and public-private partnership between individuals and firms with competing aims and differing viewpoints is at the very core of this region’s culture. It is also the foundation upon which our success has been built. Those early leaders had the wisdom to know that true and durable success required that level of inclusivity and the civic-minded behavior to back it up.

Coloradoans have continued to support that direction of late with a primary example being the passage of Amendments Y and Z in 2018, creating non-partisan redistricting commissions to redraw legislative and congressional district maps based on the decennial census results.

A fascinating aspect to me is how powerful this spirit of collaboration and compromise is as an economic development tool. Companies recognize that for them to attract and retain talent, the political environment needs to welcome diverse viewpoints, respect all, and encourage compromise. Talent is diverse and has many viewpoints and perspectives, and by and large they want to live in a region where they are heard and their perspectives are respected. Maybe precisely because of their success, they recognize that listening to others, compromising, and collaborating are key ingredients for business success.

We are blessed to work with six jurisdictional partners who embody these attributes. We are grateful for all of our public and private leaders and their efforts to perpetuate these aspirations in spite of the national climate. And we continue to see the fruits of those efforts as companies continue to move here and expand here, even in a wildly uncertain time.

Underpinning that continued success is our shared dedication to what is best for the whole. The political environment matters to talent, for example, and talent means everything to companies growing in Denver South. Maintaining a political middle ground, then, should continue to be important to all of us.