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Ray Hawkins talks about family and health care challenges

Ray Hawkins is a person who appreciates family and the influence they’ve had on his life.Born in La Jara, Colo., in the San Luis Valley, his family moved to Aurora before his first birthday. Five siblings – four boys and one girl – eventually joined him.Hawkin’s dad, Eldon Hawkins, is a veterinary technician with a strong work ethic. His mother, Deb Hawkins, stayed home to raise their children and ran a daycare center in their home to help with finances. Hawkins speaks highly of his parents and realizes the sacrifices they made and the investment and effort they put into their children.”He (Eldon Hawkins) went to work every day to provide for the family,” Hawkins said. “No matter what trouble us boys got into, he was always there for us. When he had spare time, he spent it with us.” As a boy, Hawkins went to work with his father on weekends and cleaned animal kennels. When not working, the whole family enjoyed hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, anything outdoors.Hawkins’ grandfather, Bruce Hawkins, also had a strong influence on him. He worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife in the San Luis Valley for more than 30 years, tending the fish hatcheries and stocking the lakes. “He’s one of the few guys I know who loved his job,” Hawkins said. “I think if he’d won the lottery, he’d go back to work the next day.”Hawkins said his parents and grandparents were strong role models, teaching him the value of hard work and the importance of family.Despite this fact, Hawkins said he didn’t take school seriously. He said his classes at Rangeview High School in Aurora were boring – he was more interested in hanging out with his friends and working various jobs in landscaping, restaurants and roofing.After high school, he entered the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, intending to earn a degree in education. Other things, like partying (he can now admit) and working, took precedence. Hawkins didn’t finish his degree, but he met his lifetime partner, wife Kristy.A lack of degree didn’t hold him back. Hawkins is currently the director of sales and account management at Kaiser Permanente and has worked there for almost eight years. Although the position was not some childhood dream, Hawkins said he’s happy. “I like my job because we provide a way for people to acquire health insurance, a way for them to take care of their medical needs,” he said. “Do I want to be a CEO someday or something like that? No, I don’t think that’s me.”Hawkins and his wife have been married for 12 years and have two young children, Nathan and Allison. Just like his parents, Ray and Kristy Hawkins value their time with their children. Kristy, who has a bachelor’s degree in education and previously taught at Challenger and Falcon middle schools, home schools their kids. Hawkins is grateful his wife is willing to stay home; it’s a huge sacrifice, he said.Living a similar familial life as he did growing up, the Hawkins love to camp, hike and fish together. They’ve lived in Falcon Hills for five years, where they enjoy their neighbors and the security of living in a subdivision. “We have a good set of neighbors on our block,” Hawkins said. “It’s a good neighborhood. We know our kids can be out and safe.”Hawkins on health care:The financing of health care is becoming very difficult for everybody. Four things go into the increasing cost of health care – an aging population, improving technologies, lack of prevention in the general population and liability concerns by hospitals and physicians.It’s our job as the insurer to secure contracts with quality physicians at a reasonable rate and provide that access to people who choose to purchase that product. Making sure people get the right care at the right time in the right place…That’s why I like my job. People say they hate health insurance, but I’m willing to bet they’d hate it more if they didn’t have it.We have a very good medical community in the Colorado Springs area. The problem is the costs associated with the care. And that’s where everybody needs to participate – the person seeking medical care, the physicians supplying the right medical care, the employers seeking the right plans, community leaders.Is the health-care system broken? No, but the way we use it is broken. People don’t take accountability for their own actions and lifestyle choices. Too much money is spent to cure things that were preventable and didn’t have to become a problem in the first place. The way we access health care is broken. Instead of prevention, we use it like it’s a magic pill.More on Ray HawkinsWhat does Falcon need?More community space – parks, playgrounds and trails. I’d like to see the county invest in that. The Pikes Peak area touts itself as a family-oriented community, but sometimes we’re hard-pressed to find family-friendly stuff.Also, I’m very disappointed that the voters don’t support D 49 more. The voters consider that they’ll pay $200 extra in taxes, but they don’t think about the $20,000 value that it would add to their house to have a good educational system. They don’t think about having an educated populace, so that when they’re retired, that educated populace will take care of them. They think only about today, not tomorrow.What’s your driving force?My family. If I could be as good a dad as my dad is, I’ll consider myself a success.What do you like to read?I like to read many different kinds of books – books related to work, sales, management, business development. I enjoyed the LaHaye series (Left Behind) and Stephen King-type of stuff.How about your brothers and sisters?Bryon owns a landscaping business in Denver called Hawkins Brothers; Mark works for a mortgage company. Jeremy works for Bryon and studies massage therapy, and Andrew, the youngest, works for Bryon, too. I have one sister, Nancy, who lives with my parents and helps with the daycare.How do you feel about Falcon becoming incorporated?I think it would be a mistake. We don’t need another taxing district. I don’t believe we need another layer of bureaucracy. There are a lot of advantages to staying unincorporated. We’re not subject to the greater population rules and regulations like Colorado Springs (is) that don’t fit the rural lifestyle that we moved here for.

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