Robert Allen
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, Colorado

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September 12, 2008
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Grassroots Dem confident in record, reputation

SUMMIT COUNT, Colorado "-The grassroots campaign of state Rep. Christine Scanlan, though less bold and elaborate than that of her opponent, is "ramping up" toward November.

"I'm more interested in the policy part of the job than in the politics part," said Scanlan.

With an eye on further legislative objectives next session, the House District 56 representative said she is confident that her accomplishments will help carry her through the polls.

Scanlan, 44, lists opening Dillon Dam Road, carrying the education-reform bill or standing up against tolls on Interstate 70 among her accomplishments.

"The most important part of my job is listening to folks and what they need," she said.

She has an advertising campaign under way, is scheduling town-hall appearances and has been knocking on doors afternoons and weekends. Scanlan said local Democrats have been "very involved" with U.S. Rep. Mark Udall's campaign for U.S. Senate, but that there is rising emphasis on her own race.

As her opponent " Ali Hasan, 28, of Beaver Creek " pushes his image with tactical prowess, Scanlan flew to Washington, D.C. last week to lobby for pine-beetle funding. She said the potential for massive wildland fires and widespread power outages is a pressing, bipartisan concern.

"Colorado doesn't effectively lobby for federal dollars," Scanlan said. "We need a strategy to keep (the state's) issues on the front burner in Washington."

Local Democrat and political consultant David Cunningham said he expects the race to be close.

"Christine is doing a good job and is obviously working hard," he said. "She's obviously up against a very formidable opponent spending great sums of money I've never seen before in a House race."

He said the "huge contrast between camps" is clear through Scanlan's grassroots campaign versus Hasan's mostly self-funded one.

Scanlan balances her legislative responsibilities with those of being Summit County school board president and wife and mother of three daughters. She also remains a part-time development officer with the Keystone Center and Keystone Science School.

Wearing the hats of both school-board president and state representative has a positive impact on her work, she said.

"It's one thing to write education policy at a state level; it's another to live it at the district level " so I think it's a really healthy perspective," Scanlan said.

Constituents have not expressed concern for her being able to handle the variety of commitments, she said, but some were concerned she would leave the board.

Scanlan said she's received support from other board members when there are schedule conflicts, such as with contract negotiations with teachers.

"That happens exactly during the legislative session. And so Jon (Kreamelmeyer) stepped up to that, and that really has allowed me to do this work," she said.

She has lived in the district 14 years and has more than 20 years' experience working for nonprofit organizations.

"I think I've earned a reputation of balancing business interests with being strong on the environment, and I think I've earned a reputation for working for solutions across the aisle," Scanlan said.

She has a bachelor of arts in history and a master of arts in nonprofit organization management from Regis University in Denver. Scanlan also serves as president of the Mountain Boards of Cooperative Educational Services board, which serves 10 Colorado school districts.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Sep 14, 2008 01:35PM Published Sep 12, 2008 08:34PM Copyright 2008 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.