Democrat looks to hold western Colo. seat for party
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – One of Roger Wilson’s main reasons for throwing his hat into the Colorado House District 61 race is to make sure that the seat is retained by a Democrat.
“Let’s be clear, I’m not challenging [Kathleen] Curry,” he said. “I’m primarily challenging Luke [Korkowski].”
Korkowski is the Republican candidate for the seat.
Wilson, 63, is the Chief Technical Officer for Starfall Education, an educational reading website for kids from first through third grades. He also works for a related company called Blue Mountain Arts, based in Boulder, which specializes in greeting cards.
He lives in rural Garfield County, southeast of Glenwood Springs, and considers himself a “worker bee,” not a politician.
“I am as close to a citizen candidate as you can think of,” he said. “I’m not at all an experienced or professional politician. I think, to some extent, that is what the voters of the state wanted by voting in term limits – to have people who have experience in life, but not as much experience as a politician.”
He claims to have been a Democrat for several decades, but admits that he wasn’t politically active until this year, when he actively participated in the caucuses.
Wilson said he decided to run for the District 61 seat against three-term incumbent Curry, and Korkowski, a lawyer from Crested Butte, after a conversation with Eagle County Democratic Party co-chair Harvey Branscomb.
Curry, a rancher from Gunnison, left the Democratic Party last year and served as an independent in the 2009-10 session. Curry’s decision left Democrats fearing that the seat could be gained by Republicans. That fear remains with having a Democrat possibly split the vote with Curry, leaving the victory to the Republicans.
“I was a little concerned, as other Democrats, about splitting the vote between myself and Kathleen [Curry],” Wilson said. “That is an ongoing issue of course.”
But, Branscomb said it’s too early to worry about that issue, and that their focus in on Wilson’s campaign.
“At this point we are organizing a campaign for Roger, and not worrying about what the ballot is going to look like,” Branscomb said.
While Wilson understands Curry’s decision to change party affiliation, he said that the change will likely hinder her ability to accomplish things if she’s elected.
“I will say that I’m not necessarily against what Curry is doing,” Wilson said. “I understand, to some extent, that she has a lot of close friends out here. And I understand the spirit of that in the sense that it’s a very Western spirit. But, I also feel that she will be less affective getting things done, even on the behalf of independents.”
Wilson said that the legislative position requires working with a group of people who will now look at Curry as an outsider.
“I think I’ll be more affective as a Democrat doing things for independents than she will be as an independent,” Wilson said.
The other aspect is that Curry is running for re-election as an independent, and as a write-in candidate in an off-year election. From that point of view, “It doesn’t look good,” Wilson said.
“She’s obviously got support for her and she’s got a strategy,” he said. “And she may do a great job at it. But it’s an experiment.”
An experiment that Wilson believes may be costly to the district and the state if it results in a Republican taking the vote come November.
“I’m not saying that all Republicans are a problem,” he said. “But the policies on [Korkowski’s] website are a problem.”
Wilson was selected as the Democratic candidate for District 61 by receiving 70 percent of the delegates’ support.
“I think the future is very serious and it has a lot of opportunity,” he said. “That is why I’ve entered the race and that is why I’m going to give it my all in this election.”
District 61 includes a part of Garfield County, plus parts of Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison counties.