Avon Republican to run for state rep. | VailDaily.com

Avon Republican to run for state rep.

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyMuhammad Ali Hasan

AVON ” Western Slope issues have been ignored by Front Range lawmakers for too long, said Muhammad Ali Hasan, who wants to represent Eagle, Summit and Lake counties next year as a state representative.

Hasan, 27, will be running for the District 56 seat in November 2008, recently vacated by Democrat Rep. Dan Gibbs.

Hasan, a Beaver Creek resident, had originally intended to run for a state Senate position, but decided to run for the representative seat instead, he announced Friday.

“I felt I could have more of an impact in the House,” he said. “I feel I would have a voice and a leadership position there.”

Also, if he ran for Senate, he would have to face state Rep. Al White, a Republican from Hayden, in what could be a very “contentious and bloody primary,” said Hasan, who said he has the support of both local and state Republican officials.

House leaders will be supporting Hasan’s campaign in going door-to-door, fundraising and hosting town hall meetings, said House Assistant Minority Leader David Balmer, R-Centennial.

“I think he’ll be an outstanding candidate. I think the central mountains are ready for a free-enterprise, mainstream Republican like Mr. Hasan,” Balmer said.

The theme of his campaign will be “holding Denver accountable,” Hasan said.

“(The Front Range) looks at us like a buffet table,” said Hasan, who helped found Muslims for Bush and the Young Eagle County Republicans. “We provide most of the tourism, oil and gas, but they think they can exploit us by making mill levy freezes and making gun laws that hurt our sportsmen.”

His goals are to tackle the pine beetle problem, and help keep money from gas drilling on the Roan Plateau local, instead of being diverted to Front Range programs, he said.

Eagle County is one of the areas hit hardest by pine beetle infestations, and it is not enough just to contain them, he said.

He plans to invest money to do studies and set up a Web site to educate the community about the problem, he said. If in office, he would like to see more state funds go toward eradicating the bugs.

Hasan, who was a public school teacher, said he supports school choice and is against standardized testing because it evaluates teachers based on “arbitrary standards.”

Hasan would like to some major changes within the party, too.

“The reason we’ve lost the House, Senate and governorship is that we’ve been operating like a members-only club. People don’t think we care,” he said.

But that is what he wants to change. His campaign will focus on hosting town hall meetings and going door-to-door in the community, he said.

The involvement of Hasan and other younger Republicans has helped with reaching the community, said Eagle County Republicans Chairman Randy Milhoan.

“These races are won knocking on doors and going to meetings,” Milhoan said. “The younger people have really worked hard and given us a boost.”

Besides teaching, Hasan has also been a film producer and director and has been involved in local politics through his parents, he said.

Even though he has never held public office, he was involved in defeating last year’s home rule initiative and bringing reforms to the way teachers were paid under the Teacher’s Advancement Program.

He will run for the position against a yet-to-be-named Democrat who will be chosen later this month to replace Gibbs.

His chances are good, he said.

“I’ll knock on every door. I’ll do what it takes. I want this bad,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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