GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Former Garfield County commissioner Trési Houpt is resigning her post as chair of the Garfield County Democratic Party, she confirmed on Wednesday.
Houpt, 56, was defeated in her 2010 re-election bid by current county commissioner Tom Jankovsky, and she quickly rejected any suggestion that she was thinking of challenging him in the 2014 general election, when Jankovsky’s job will be up for grabs.
When contacted by telephone on Wednesday about her resignation, Houpt expressed surprise since she had not yet had time to sit down with the party leadership to talk about her decision and its ramifications.
For example, there is no clear candidate to take her place as chair of the county party, she said.
“It’s for very personal reasons,” she said of the decisions to step down. “I just think somebody else can do the job, honestly.”
Houpt has been party chair since last spring, when, as she put it, “I agreed to do this to help the party out” after former chair Jack Real stepped down.
Although she worked hard at it, she said, she feels it is not the kind of work she does best.
“I’m a policy wonk,” she declared, explaining that she is more comfortable working on policy positions and being part of the political background than being the leader of a political party.
“I just don’t have that skill set,” she said.
Asked whether she’ll challenge Jankovsky and try to regain her old job, she said, “I’m always looking at that, because I have been engaged for so long.” Houpt was a county commissioner from 2002 until her defeat in 2010, and has since been politically active around the state and regularly interviewed by regional news media.
But she is not interested in trying to unseat Jankovsky in next year’s election, she said, although she is not sure what, exactly, she does want to do next.
“I told them I’m going to help on the sidelines in any way that I can,” Houpt said, referring to the Democratic Party, adding that she will be involved in recruiting a replacement for the chairmanship as well as new members for the county party.
“I would really like to see us recruit new people, younger people,” she said regarding party leadership as well as membership.
For the chair, she said, “We need a more grassroots-type orientation, somebody like a community organizer,” who will encourage involvement by area citizens who might not have thought about party involvement before.
“We really need somebody who has been out there, really building coalitions for Democratic principle,” she continued.
As for a challenger for Jankovsky, she said, “We’re working on that. We have some great people interested in it.”
She said she plans to step down from the chairmanship no later than the end of November.