Gibbs looks ahead to the Colorado Senate
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Dan Gibbs has his work cut out for him over the next month-and-a-half as he prepares to return to the state Capitol as a member of the Senate instead of the House of Representatives.
“I need to introduce myself to a lot of people in the new district, which includes six counties, set up town hall meetings and try to knock on as many doors as possible before the legislative session starts so I have a good idea what folks want me to look into,” said Gibbs, who’s leaving his post as Eagle County’s state representative.
On Monday night, the Democratic Senate District 16 Vacancy Committee appointed Gibbs, of Silverthorne, to the Senate seat vacated last week by Joan Fitz-Gerald so she could concentrate on campaigning for U.S. Congress. The new post doesn’t include Eagle County.
Gibbs, who was elected to House District 56, covering Summit, Eagle and Lake counties, last year will now represent Summit, Clear Creek, Grand, Gilpin and parts of Jefferson and Boulder counties as a state senator.
Although he’s venturing into new territory, it won’t all be unfamiliar.
As director of U.S. Rep. Mark Udall’s Western Slope office in Minturn before his election to the Colorado House, Gibbs covered Gilpin, Summit, Grand and Clear Creek counties and worked on issues like transportation in Jefferson and Boulder counties.
“I’m not walking in not knowing any folks within those communities ” I know a few, but I still have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Aside from the challenges of representing a larger district, Gibbs will also need to start campaigning almost immediately because he must run next November to retain his Senate seat.
Even though he served just one year in the House, Gibbs said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to seek the Senate seat, where he felt he could be a stronger voice for his constituents.
With only 35 members in the Senate compared with 65 in the House, the committee sizes are smaller, which means there are fewer colleagues to convince to push his bills through.
In the House, Gibbs pushed through a law that increases the fines for truckers who don’t put snow chains on and also helped get more state more funding to fight pine beetles.
Gibbs will likely officially vacate his House seat in early December. From that date, the House District 56 Vacancy Committee will have 10 days to pick his successor.
Edwards attorney Rohn Robbins along with Realtor Josh Lautenberg and Eagle Mayor Jon Stavney have said they are interested in replacing Gibbs.
Two Summit County locals had told committee they were interested in the position: Silverthorne Town Councilwoman Rosanne Shaw and Emily Tracy, who chairs the legislative affairs committee for the Summit Chamber of Commerce.
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