Steamboat man seeks vacant state Senate seat |

Steamboat man seeks vacant state Senate seat

Bob McConnell

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Bob McConnell came late to politics, but he’s a believer now.

The Steamboat Springs Republican a few years ago started catching what he calls the “Tea Party spirit,” after looking at what he believes is excessive federal spending and debt. A U.S. Army veteran, McConnell said he believes the country is in trouble, and wants to help. Now, he believes he’s the right man to replace State Sen. Al White, and wants to represent the district that includes all or part of Eagle, Moffatt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Routt and Garfield counties.

White, who was elected to a second term in the seat in 2008, resigned last week to take over the Colorado Tourism Office. A committee of Republican party officials will meet in Craig on Monday and is expected to pick a replacement for White before the Colorado General Assembly starts its 2011 session.

White’s wife, Jean, has applied for the position. But McConnell believes that the seat hasn’t necessarily been filled.

“I think I’ll get a fair shot (from the committee),” McConnell said. He added that he’s been asking his supporters from his first shot at politics to lobby party officials to give him a chance.

That first run at office came last year, when he decided to run for Congress in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, facing Scott Tipton in the party primary. Tipton won the primary, and ultimately ousted incumbent John Salazar.

McConnell thought he was done with politics after that campaign. In fact, he’d been working as a volunteer ski patroller at Steamboat and hadn’t heard about White’s resignation until he started getting calls and e-mails from people who’d supported him in his congressional run. That was Monday of this week.

In the few days since he applied for the job, McConnell said he’s immersed himself in state issues. That early look has led him to what he sees as the four main issues facing the state:

• The state’s budget shortfall.

• The fact there are a lot of people looking for work.

• The fact “there’s a lot of work to be done.”

• “There are a lot of barriers separating the second and third points,” he said.

McConnell said he believes many of those problems can be solved with less government, and allowing the private sector to do its work with fewer regulatory barriers.

Whether or not he’s appointed to fill White’s seat, McConnell said he plans to stay involved with politics, or at least civic involvement.

“I’m not in this for my ego,” he said. “I want to do this for the people.”

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User