Press "Enter" to skip to content

The political shuffle of late 2007

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Central Colorado is in the state’s third and fifth congressional districts, but it’s the second district that has caused considerable political shuffling in recent weeks.

The second district basically comprises Boulder, Grand, Gilpin, Eagle, Summit and Clear Creek counties. It has been represented by Democrat Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs (or, as you will doubtless hear often this year, “Boulder liberal Mark Udall” ).

Udall won’t seek another term in the House this year, though, as he is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Wayne Allard of Loveland, who is not running for re-election.

So that means a new Democratic congressional candidate in the second district. There are several, among them State Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald of Jefferson County, the first woman to serve as president of the state senate. To campaign for congress, she resigned from her seat in the state senate.

For state offices, political parties have vacancy committees which select a replacement when an office-holder resigns or dies. The replacement’s term lasts until the next general election, and the seat remains with the same political party as that of the person originally elected.

After Fitz-Gerald resigned, she left an open state senate seat from District 16, and the relevant vacancy committee selected Rep. Dan Gibbs, a Summit County Democrat who had been elected to the house over Leadville Republican Ken Chlouber in 2006. He represented District 56, which comprises Lake, Summit, and Eagle counties.

So at press time, the District 56 seat was open, and the vacancy committee had many Democratic applicants, among them Emily Tracy, currently of Breckenridge. She used to live in CaƱon City. She ran for the House District 60 seat in 2002 (when it was won by Lola Spradley, a Beulah Republican, who was term-limited) and in 2004 (when it was won by Tom Massey, a Poncha Springs Republican, who was re-elected in 2006 when running against Curtis Imrie of Buena Vista).

Gibbs, whose house district included Lake County but whose senate district will not, said he would miss representing Leadville, noting that the county had given him a good winning margin in 2006.

We note that one of his predecessors is retiring from public office. Democrat Carl Miller of Leadville served as a Lake County commissioner and was one of the main movers in establishing the National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame in Leadville. He served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1997 to 2004, when he was appointed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. On Dec. 1, he announced his resignation from the PUC, effective Jan. 1.

In his resignation letter, he said he would “cherish the opportunities I have had to serve the citizens of Colorado. I relish my job, but at age 69 it is time to move on and enjoy some leisure activities.” And in a note to Colorado Central, he added that “I plan to stay active part-time in some local, regional, and state organizations, but it will be nice to be home [in Leadville] instead of full-time in Denver.”

We’re glad to have Carl back in the mountains, but we’ll miss him in state government. You can say all you want about “politicians,” but some of them really are public servants, and Carl was a prince among them.