Eagle County this year is part of a brand-new district for the Colorado House of Representatives. That new district, 26, includes Eagle and Routt counties and nothing else.
We remain disappointed that no one from Eagle County stepped up to run for the seat.
On the other hand, we understand why a run for state office is a big request for anyone - it's a part-time job with nearly full-time demands. Anyone seeking that job had better have a really, really understanding boss, or be in a position to take a lot of time away from his or her own business.
With that said, there's an easy choice in this race: Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush, of Steamboat Springs.
Mitsch Bush is currently a Routt County commissioner, and in that role has already spent a lot of time working on the big issues affecting both counties. For Eagle County's purposes, the top of that list contains transportation and tourism.
She's also done a lot of work on energy exploration and development and the environmental and other impacts that business brings.
Mitsch Bush impressed us with her detailed knowledge of those and other issues.
She's also impressed us with the amount of time she's spent getting to know her potential constituents in Eagle County.
In a job that throws people quickly into unfamiliar territory, Mitsch Bush seems as if she'll be able to start work right away with only a minimal amount of rookie confusion.
She also seems well aware that a big part of her job representing our counties is to play defense against legislation sponsored by Front Range legislators that could be harmful to our region.
We're also confident Mitsch Bush will be able to work with Republicans if that party continues to hold its slim majority in the state House. She's a member of the board of Club 20, the Western Slope lobbying group that's still predominantly conservative in its views. She has also earned an endorsement from the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, another group you don't think of as particularly welcoming to liberal ideas.
We've mentioned the slim Republican majority in the House, and in most years we'd probably lean toward a Republican candidate to maintain that balance, since much of this paper's editorial board believes strongly that divided government is usually in the best interests of the electorate.
That said, Mitsch Bush's Republican opponent, Chuck McConnell, simply doesn't have the connections or, frankly, the knowledge he needs to be an effective representative for our county.
Our view is that he knows a lot about energy development and business and is a strong believer in limited government. But he seems to know very little about the differences in the economies of the two counties he's campaigning to represent.
That's simply unacceptable.
In short, we believe Mitsch Bush has the skills and temperament to make an immediate impact in Denver. And, unlike several of our representatives in the recent past, we're confident we'll see her in our part of the world more often than just during campaign seasons.
Vail Daily Editorial Board