Who will be our state representative? | VailDaily.com

Who will be our state representative?

Melanie Wong
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” A local Democrat could soon be representing Eagle County in the State House of Representatives thanks to a domino effect caused by a state senator’s resignation.

Rep. Dan Gibbs, Eagle County’s Democratic state representative, was appointed on Monday to fill the place of Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, who resigned last week to run for Congress.

“This is a great opportunity, but I still hope to be of service to people in Eagle County,” Gibbs said.

He still plans to work on issues relevant to the county, such as getting funding to battle pine beetle damage, he said.

Now party officials are looking for someone to take his place as representative for House District 56, which includes Eagle, Summit and Lake counties.

A vacancy committee has 10 days from the time Gibbs resigns to appoint a replacement. Candidates must be nominated and then submit their names to be considered, said New New Wallace, vacancy committee member and Eagle County Democrats co-chair.

Several local Democrats are considering the position, but none have officially submitted their names, she said.

Edwards attorney Rohn Robbins said he is in the running for the spot. He has experience running state senate and mayoral campaigns in California and has always been involved in local politics, he said.

If he took the representative position, he would focus on traffic problems in the area and environmental problems such as drilling on the Roan Plateau and pine beetle infestations.

He would also want to focus on drug and alcohol use among Eagle County youth, he said.

“There seems to be a real drug and alcohol culture,” he said. “There needs to be a more positive orientation for youth in Eagle County.”

Joshua Lautenberg, a broker with Sonnenalp Realtors, said he has been asked to consider the position. He hasn’t decided if he will put his name in because it would keep him away from his two young children and his business, but he has always been interested in a state-level position, he said.

Lautenberg, son of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, has been on several county boards, including the Open Space Committee. A state representative position would give him a chance to bring rail transportation to the county, such as a light rail from Denver to the Eagle County Airport, and work on preventative health care, he said.

“I’ve always been involved with Eagle County and state Democrats. I’ve thought about doing state politics, I was just not counting on doing it this soon,” he said.

Eagle Mayor Jon Stavney also is also a potential candidate, but said he probably will not pursue it because he wants to finish his term as mayor, and he does not want to spend that much time away from his family.

It is more likely that he will run for a county commissioner position, he said.

County Commissioner Arn Menconi’s name also came up to take Gibb’s place but Menconi said he isn’t interested because it would take too much time from his wife and two young children.

Summit Chamber of Commerce co-chair Emily Tracey and Silverthorne Town Councilor Rosanne Shaw have submitted their names, said Flo Raitano, chair of the House District 56 vacancy committee.

Gibbs plans to officially resign sometime in early December.

“It’s an exciting time,” Wallace said of the upcoming appointment. “It’s a chance to be involved in grassroots politics and for a local committee to choose a state representative.”

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

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