GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. " One day after Mesa County chose her to replace Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, in House District 55, Republican Laura Bradford of Collbran was already gearing up for a trip to Denver and calling her husband, Linton Mathews, the county's "first dude."
As she thanked supporters for helping her to a 17,632 to 17,049 victory at her Grand Junction company, ProSafe, on Wednesday, she promised to keep Western Slope interests her first priority and extend a personal property tax exemption for small businesses, an effort started by Buescher. She'd also like to continue Buescher's work with Mesa State College.
That's where the resemblances to her predecessor stop, according to Bradford.
"I ran on a low- and no-tax platform," she said. She also wants to work on "balancing oil and gas" issues.
"That's what's keeping people in their homes. That's what's keeping them going to the grocery stores," she said.
Bradford will begin her first day of legislative work today. As committee assignments are doled out, she hopes to grab a spot on the agriculture or business affairs and labor committee.
Buescher said Wednesday he has no plans beyond taking a trip this week to Boston to see his children. He remains open to a position in government, "but I'm not asking and I'm not looking" for one, he said.
"I could end up volunteering at Grand Valley Catholic Outreach or at the library," he said.
Buescher said he's not sure what led to his loss of the seat he held for two two-year terms. It could have been his vote on Senate Bill 200. It could have been his support for Amendment 58 or his friendship with its sponsor, Gov. Bill Ritter. Perhaps it's a shift in his district.
"Mesa County is a very conservative district. I think it has gotten more conservative over the last four years while the rest of the country has gotten more moderate," Buescher said.
"I'm pleased and proud of the new buildings for Mesa State and the new CBI building. I feel I've accomplished things for Mesa County and Colorado, but I respect voters that they see things differently. I appreciate the four years Mesa County had me serve. That's a great honor."
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