Following background checks for 2021 Glenwood Springs council candidates, just one found with misdemeanor conviction
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct information about voting.
The results of criminal history background checks conducted by the Post Independent on four Glenwood Springs City Council candidates showed that one candidate had a misdemeanor drug conviction in 2018.
Ricky Rodriguez, 41 was found guilty of a misdemeanor drug charge in October of 2018. Rodriguez faced other charges stemming from an Oct. 28, 2018 arrest, but all of those were dismissed by the district attorney’s office.
Rodriguez is the owner of Native Son Restaurant and Bar and is the only non-incumbent candidate on the ballot.
He’s running for the At-Large seat against incumbent Shelley Kaup.
Incumbents Jonathan Godes and Ingrid Wussow are also up for reelection.
Background checks on Kaup, Godes and Wussow revealed no past criminal history.
The background checks were completed through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Voting for the April 6 city election is now open. Eligible voters who are already registered should receive a ballot in the mail, which can be mailed back or returned at the drop box outside the Garfield County Courthouse.
Those with a Colorado driver’s license can register to vote online at sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterHome.html. Colorado voters without a driver’s license must fill out the form online at https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterRegFormEnglish.pdf and “then mail, deliver, or scan the signed form and email it to your county clerk and recorder.”
Ballots are available upon appointment at Glenwood Springs City Hall. For more info go to https://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/151/City-Clerk or call the City Clerk at 970-384-6406.
Glenwood Springs City Council Q&A
Glenwood Springs City Council candidates, both contested and uncontested, answered a series of questions from the Post Independent in a question and answer format. At-large incumbent Shelley Kaup is being challenged by Ricky Rodriguez. Ward 5 representative Jonathan Godes and Ward 2 representative Ingrid Wussow are up for reelection but face no challengers on the ballot in the April 6 city election. Rodriguez did not respond to requests for comments.
Glenwood Springs City Councilors aren’t required to disclose any conflicts of interest until they arise on a case-by-case basis. Would you support having councilors file conflict of interest forms at the beginning of their term (and updating as necessary)?
Kaup: I would not oppose disclosing the type of work and affiliations that each Councilor has at the beginning of a term. If someone has a job, interest, or project that may cause conflicts, that is typically disclosed when they join council. But we live in a small community where “everyone knows everyone,” and it is hard to know, months or years in advance, what may come before council or when a conflict may occur.
That is why we disclose conflicts on a case-by-case basis before each meeting, or when the conflict becomes evident. We do not always know what projects, decisions or issues will come to council until a couple of weeks before the meeting. Only then can each council member know if they have a conflict of interest. Please refer to Article 020.040 of the Municipal Code for more information.
Godes: We verbally attest to any conflicts of interest prior to every city council meeting currently, so doing a blanket “what if” declaration seems unnecessary to me. In addition, we are subject to the “conflicts of interest” policy in the employee handbook. Furthermore, we have been working on a Council “Code of Conduct” that we sign that also spells out what a conflict of interest is and how and when a recusal is appropriate.
There are so many scenarios that cannot be anticipated that potentially COULD be a conflict, that there is no pre-emptive form that would capture everything that might come before a councilor.
Wussow: I support the idea of requiring candidates to prepare a Conflict of Interest Form at the beginning of a candidacy. Requiring candidates to share their conflicts of interest helps illustrate their alliances and identify their loyalties long before the community votes. As history has demonstrated, hidden agendas can be more influential on a politician’s vote than a vote supporting what’s in the community’s best interest.
What work would you do to balance the city budget without burdening taxpayers?
Kaup: I study the budget closely every year. Council works with the citizen Financial Advisory Board, staff, city manager and finance director to set priorities and reach a balanced budget. The city works across many separate funds, each with distinct purposes and revenue sources to serve the community. City Council has set goals to have healthy cash reserves to help cover emergency needs and drops in revenue. For the 2021 Budget, the General Fund, which funds most of the city’s general and administrative services, had a contingency cash reserve of about 20 percent.
Godes: The current city budget is not out of balance currently as we are not able operate at a budget deficit as our federal government does annually. We have reserves to weather bad years like 2020 which we replenish in the good years by budgeting for a slight revenue surplus.
When there are concerns about the lack of funds for a project, program or department, we prioritize our expenditures (if it is minor), raise fees to match expenses (if it is an enterprise fund) or we take larger issues directly to the voters.
Wussow: As we navigate the post-Covid landscape, this is a perfect time to rethink the way we’ve always done things, take advantage of Covid Relief funding opportunities and explore more fiscally-creative solutions to manage our budget. Having said that, I do believe that the Financial Advisory Board, as well as the City’s Finance Department, is filled with knowledgeable, capable community members who have our city’s best interest in mind. I believe considering the disruption of this last year, it may be time to do some regrouping and evaluating rather than critiquing. When the ship is in tumultuous waters, it’s not always the best time to extend criticism to the captain. However, once the fiscally-rough waters of last year settle, I believe we will be able to better reflect on how we can improve as we move forward.
What other ways will you plan to increase revenue?
Kaup: I am a fiscal conservative. I am always looking for ways to save tax dollars and make sure they are spent effectively. But as the city grows and the needs of our community expand, there is a need for more revenue. The city is diligent in its pursuit of grant funding to stretch our tax dollars. Between 2018 – 2020 the city won grants in excess of $15 million to fund projects such as the 27th St. bridge, Cedar Crest infrastructure, the new in-town recycling center and South Midland reconstruction. I am interested in working with businesses, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and other city leaders to find ways to raise revenue with the least impact to our residents.
Godes: 95% of our revenue is sales tax and user fees. We can either develop additional retail centers like the 8th St. Crossing and the West Glenwood Mall, or we can raise taxes and fees. Finding the correct mix of these approaches is the tough part. Many people are against any kind of growth which would provide for economically “growing the pie.” Many people are against tax increases. If we are deciding against any future growth and no additional taxes we will certainly see a long, slow, and consistent decline in services and projects as expenses are growing faster than our existing tax base will allow.
Wussow: One place to explore revenue generators is to look at other mountain towns and see if they’ve identified opportunities that we can apply within our community. Are there new recreational trends? New outdoor sports on the horizon that we can create a venue for? Can we grow the mountain-biking trail system and in turn the industry here in the valley? Let’s find revenue streams that the city can benefit from but so too the people who live here as well as those who come to visit our area. Another potential revenue generator would shock the 19-year-old version of myself, who would work overtime to pay her parking tickets. Ah, yes, parking meters. A tried-and-true method for ensuring a steady revenue especially in a downtown that’s lean on parking.
What projects would you delay if necessary due to budget constraints and for how long would they be pushed into the future?
Kaup: As we review the budget and consider project funding, we always
have to balance the “needs” with the “wants.” For me, spending priorities should be essential infrastructure, such as water, wastewater, streets, bridges, electrical and solid waste, and community services such as safety, emergency services, broadband, parks, the community center, and health. Other services and projects are also important to the community but are given lower priority.
Godes: Any life and safety project (like South Bridge) that we delay by making it more expensive is a gamble that we cannot afford, and is literally playing with fire. That project has to be the top priority for elected leaders at both the City and the County.
Our water, sewer and electric infrastructure have significant challenges and is a basic and fundamental service that cannot be delayed. We will need to raise rates dramatically to address those issues, but those cannot wait either. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be, and the greater the chance a catastrophic failure happens.
Any project that doesn’t have a clear return on investment (like the West Glenwood Mall or Eighth8th Street. Crossing) should not take priority over basic infrastructure, health, life and safety services and projects.
Wussow: In 2020, out of necessity and applied foresight, we postponed many projects due to anticipated COVID-related revenue declines. My inclination is not to plan more delays of projects, rather I prefer to have an enumerated yet malleable schedule that prioritizes needs and includes more “shovel ready” projects. This benefits the city by allowing us to regularly update and prioritize needs, as well as to be prepared to take advantage of federal and state funding that’s recently become available for infrastructure projects. Through our hardworking city staff, we have many of our identified projects already in a “shovel-ready” state, this type of status is a requisite for us to apply for grants/funding from opportunities such as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the Federal Covid Relief Bill and Main Street Program. Let’s be creative, resourceful, and diligent and get these much-needed projects funded and completed.
What would you do to provide more opportunities to live in GS to those who work full time in GS?
Kaup: Affordable housing is an area I am extremely committed to. I worked to get
our Housing Commission active again, after it was suspended during after the 2009
recession. The city uses a multi-faceted approach to provide more diverse and attainable housing for our workforce. We allow accessory dwelling units, provide incentives for developers to rent units below market rates, support low-income tax credit projects, and we are working on inclusionary housing requirements for larger developments. Many types of housing are needed for our workforce and retirees. City Council works to support a diverse range of housing for the community.
Godes: There needs to be a robust affordable housing program in GWS like there are in many other mountain communities. Pitkin County has over 3,000 affordable (subsidized rent and deed restricted housing) units, but they have a large dedicated tax and have been working on this for 40 years. You can either put up a whole lot more units in town to increase the supply in order to lower the demand (and cost), or you can raise taxes. Again though, people don’t like growth and they don’t like taxes.
I don’t believe that you can just build your way out of it and make homes affordable for the working class residents. The free market solution only works when you have unlimited ability to expand geographically and a population that accepts growth. If we want Glenwood to stay a “real” town, we are going to need a regional approach and a dedicated funding mechanism. Otherwise we are destined to be a community of 2nd home owners, retirees and the wealthy at the expense of what makes our community real.
Wussow: In 4+ years on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, I saw many projects brought to the city that I believe primarily benefited the developer. The scope of the projects is too dense for the sites; the developers are more concerned with maximizing profits than blending with the vernacular of the neighborhood. I’d prefer to see more diverse housing that benefits the community and affords increased homeownership to all economic sectors. With the anticipated growth expected in Garfield County, we should shift from catering to developers and instead allow developers to cater to our community and provide more attainable housing. Developers listening to what we need, be it more open space or land for a new fire station. The ultimate goal is Glenwood’s workforce able to live in Glenwood’s neighborhoods. I realize not everyone who works in Glenwood will be able to live in our town, however we can do better to meet this goal.
How do you feel about GS residents who don’t want to see change in their community or way of life?
Kaup: I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion about the future of their community and way of life. Change is an inevitable part of life. I believe the best thing we can do for people who are uncomfortable with change is to provide ample opportunity for community input. My goal is to make sure changes and growth are smart, and in the best interests of our community and quality of life. We do this by using tools such as the Comprehensive Plan, which emphasizes community involvement. Our Comp Plan is due for an update, and I look forward to hearing from people in those community conversations.
Godes: I value all residents of GWS and feel that their perspective is a valuable contribution to the fabric of our community.
Change is inevitable, progress is not. Burying your head in the sand and refusing to accept any change is, in of itself, a decision. It is a decision to slowly and surely have more gridlock and traffic on 82. It is a decision to have home and rent prices continue to appreciate to where no regular people can afford to live here. It is a decision to not be bold, visionary and imaginative at the expense of “how it was when I moved here.” It is a decision to not recognize the new normal of climate change and the annual threats it brings to our community. We cannot allow “decisions by attrition” to be the decisions that guide our community forward.
Wussow: When I hear feedback from residents saying they don’t want to see change, I see that as a beautiful reminder that we live in a really sweet place in the world and our residents feel fortunate to live here. If we don’t stay a little protective of our community, it’s easy to see that what makes Glenwood special could inadvertently cause growth that changes our small town and dilutes the community we love. I believe that while a free market does optimistically and eventually balance itself out, using that logic may also result in a population-dense, overdeveloped town. We need to be mindful about what we allow to be built, managing zoning and density, especially by out-of-town investors, who recognize the economic strength and long-term viability of OUR town.
Kaup, Rodriguez share what change they want to see in Glenwood Springs during candidate forum
Glenwood Springs City Council candidates both want to see change in their city, with incumbent Shelley Kaup wanting to see more affordable housing while her challenger, Ricky Rodriguez, wants to see more community events.
That was one of the topics discussed by candidates during Monday evening’s virtual candidate forum.
Kaup’s seat is the one contested in the April 6 city election. Ward 5 representative Jonathan Godes and Ward 2 representative Ingrid Wussow are up for reelection but face no challengers on the ballot.
“I think the cost of housing is off the charts,” Kaup said when asked what change she wants to see happen.
Kaup noted how prices have only increased while supply has gotten tighter in the city’s housing market.
Kaup said she wants to find ways to encourage affordable housing to at least ensure the city’s workforce has a place to live in Glenwood Springs.
“I know not everybody can live here but I would love to see that change,” Kaup said.
Rodriguez said he would work to bring more community events to Glenwood Springs.
“I want to do more things in the community so people can get out there more, “ Rodriguez said.
“I would like to utilize our mountain bike trails and utilize the airport a little bit more,” he said adding that Glenwood Springs is more of an adventure community and he wants to emphasize that.
“One of the best ways of bringing people together is an event. Whether we can sell their food, vendors, we could bring music,” Rodriguez said.
When the candidates were asked how they would approach lifting the mask mandate, Rodriquez said his message would promote healthy life choices overall.
“I wanted to put a different message out there. For individuals to start taking into account that they have a lot to do with what’s going on. I want people to be healthier —to feed your body better, move your body more and just more healthy in general,” Rodriguez said.
Kaup would have a different approach that would rely on statistical evidence.
“As more and more people get vaccinated throughout the community and certain percentage of people in the county that have experienced disease, I think if we reach a metric that shows that herd immunity number, that’s something we certainly could consider,” Kaup said.
When it comes to wildfire prevention and control, Kaup said that’s a tough and challenging topic.
“The state’s been in an extended, extreme drought. Our fire department does do work with residents along the edges of town to do fire mitigation and cut the undergrowth back. Long term for me we need to address climate change, because it is a driver of this drought,” Kaup said.
Kaup added addressing wildfire concerns includes ensuring the city’s water system is strong and that the boundary of the city is distinct so the infrastructure is in place to fight a wildfire.
Rodriguez said he would focus on a public campaign that informs travelers of the fine they’ll face for throwing out cigarettes while driving through the area.
“It seems like people are always flicking out cigarettes. I’d make it a priority, so people know if they get caught throwing a cigarette out they know there’ll be a big fine for that,” Rodriguez said.
Gregg Smith ends his bid to unseat Republican Lauren Boebert
Democrat Gregg Smith is ending his short-lived campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert on Monday, saying he’s now confident there are other progressive candidates who can win in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District next year.
“I’m satisfied that Lauren Boebert will not be a congresswoman in January 2023,” Smith told The Colorado Sun in an interview over the weekend.
Smith, who lives west of Pueblo, in the town of Westcliffe, announced his candidacy about six weeks ago and faced sharp criticism from some Colorado Democrats. He only permanently moved to the state about a year ago and didn’t register as a Democrat until just before announcing his candidacy. Smith also formerly had close ties with Erik Prince, the controversial former head of the private security firm Blackwater, with whom he ran a global logistics business.
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Glenwood City Council candidates square off in Monday virtual forum
Glenwood Springs City Council candidates, including those for the one contested race in the April 6 city election, will have a chance to share their views at the Glenwood Chamber’s Issues and Answers Night virtual forum Monday evening.
Invited to the forum are the two at-large candidates, incumbent Shelley Kaup and challenger Ricky Rodriguez.
Candidates for the two uncontested council seats in the spring election, Ward 2 representative Ingrid Wussow and the Ward 5 representative, Mayor Jonathan Godes, are also expected to participate.
The Issues and Answers City Council Election Forum takes place via Zoom from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
And, to suggest a question to be posed to the candidates, click here.
The Issues and Answers forum is presented each election cycle by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and KMTS. Bryce Jacobson, publisher of the Post Independent and The Citizen Telegram, is the moderator.
This year’s event will also be recorded and translated in Spanish.
State, national politics push Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky to consider running again
Tom Jankovsky was pretty sure he would step down after a third term on the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners in 2022, but a combination of state and national political concerns have him thinking otherwise.
“I had said (after the 2018 election) that I wasn’t going to run, and that I was going to retire from being a commissioner,” Jankovsky acknowledged in a recent interview.
“But, with what’s going on at the state level and with some of these federal issues … I am reconsidering,” he said.
Jankovsky, a Republican, has been an outspoken critic of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis of late, referring to Polis at a Jan. 30 rally in Glenwood Springs as a “dictator,” and at another conservative gathering in Rifle in mid-December as “evil.”
He even jumped into the geo-political fray at the Glenwood rally, saying he suspects China created the novel coronavirus on purpose as a “cold war” act.
Closer to home, Polis’s policy decisions around the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response, especially the public health mandates on businesses, have helped fuel Jankovsky’s ire.
Mostly, though, it’s the state’s new regulations on the oil and gas industry and its expected economic impacts on natural gas producing counties like Garfield County that mostly have him fired up.
“Nobody is calling out the governor about what is happening in our county because of Senate Bill 181,” Jankovsky said of the legislation signed into law by Polis in spring 2019, which brought about sweeping changes to the way the industry is regulated.
“It has destroyed an industry, and nobody is saying anything about that,” he said.
In particular, even after Polis came out against the 2018 Amendment 12 when he was campaigning for governor — a measure that was soundly defeated by voters — he was quick to impose some of the same measures as part of the SB 181 rulemaking process, Jankovsky noted.
In particular, while Amendment 12 called for a 2,500-foot setback for oil and gas wells and facilities from homes and schools, the 2,000-foot setback that came about in the rulemaking is just as onerous, Jankovsky said.
“It doesn’t destroy the oil industry, because they can be 2,000 feet out without a problem,” he said of resource extraction that’s more common along the Front Range and eastern plains.
“The natural gas industry that we rely on out here can’t do that,” Jankovsky said, adding that when natural gas prices bounce back, Colorado and Garfield County could be left out as a major producer due to costs associated with the new rules around siting of facilities and air quality controls.
That gets the broader issue of Colorado’s urban-rural and east-west divides, which Jankovsky believes Polis has made worse.
Garfield County, which is represented by three Republican county commissioners, has been successful in working with past Democratic governors, Jankovsky said.
Former Governor and now U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper “was completely different” in terms of recognizing Western Slope interests, he said.
“We complained over here about what was going on, and he listened to us and made some changes,” Jankovsky said, commending Hickenlooper for appointing John Swartout (now executive director for Colorado Counties, Inc.) as a mediary on Western Slope concerns.
“This governor (Polis) and the Democratic leadership in the Legislature doesn’t care about the Western Slope, in my opinion,” Jankovsky said. “Somebody needs to talk about what he’s done, and I feel like I’m the only one doing that right now.”
At the federal level, Jankovsky said he sees a return to what he refers to as a “top-down” approach to public lands management seen during the Obama administration with new President Joe Biden.
“I was in the thick of things with a lot of that out here,” he said in regards to the county’s involvement regarding protections for the greater sage-grouse and oil and gas leasing on the Roan Plateau.
“I see that all coming back now, with the same players we were dealing with in Washington and a big government, top down ‘we’re going to tell you how to run your federal lands’ approach here in Garfield County.”
Jankovsky acknowledged that another run for commissioner in two years is likely to be a “brutal election,” with a few names of potential Democratic challengers already being mentioned.
“But, I’ve been there before,” he said.
Rodriguez looks to lead ‘new generation’ in bid for Glenwood City Council
Glenwood Springs restaurant owner Ricardo “Ricky” Rodriguez made it official Wednesday that he intends to challenge Glenwood City Councilor Shelley Kaup for an At-Large seat in the April 6 City Council election.
Rodriguez was busy Wednesday gathering a few more signatures of registered voters in Glenwood Springs to make his candidacy official, after falling just short of the required number of valid signatures on his candidate petition submitted Monday.
He technically has until Feb. 2 to cure his nominating petition, and said late Wednesday that he had already turned in the remaining signatures he needed.
“Glenwood is my home,” Rodriguez said in a written statement, noting that his parents immigrated from Mexico and “brought me up with the values of hard work, loyalty and commitment to my community.”
Rodriguez was born in Glenwood Springs, which inspired the name of his Native Son restaurant and bar in downtown Glenwood that replaced his former venture, the Loyal Bros. Lounge, in spring 2018.
“I grew up watching the American dream come to life through the incredible example of my mom and dad,” Rodriguez said. “When they became citizens of this country, the vision of unlimited opportunity through hard work was afforded to me and my siblings. I am forever grateful.”
Rodriguez, 41, has been an outspoken critic of some of the city’s policies related to what he says were sometimes onerous restrictions imposed on restaurants and other businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Currently, we are lacking a voice who can speak up for small business owners, for our thriving Latino community and for a younger, more diverse generation that is growing up here in our valley,” Rodriguez said. “I know we are ready for a new generation of leadership …
“I believe my life experiences and success as a business owner through challenging and nearly impossible circumstances will serve to help our community thrive in this post-pandemic era,” he said. “I believe we can work together to create more choices and options that will bring the prosperity Glenwood needs to thrive once again.”
Kaup, who is seeking reelection to another four-year term after being elected in 2017 to one of two At-Large City Council seats, said she looks forward to hearing from voters about what matters most to them, and what they expect from city leaders.
“I always expected this would be a contested race,” Kaup said. “I look forward to the election and the campaign, and I think it’s a great time to have conversations in the community.”
Kaup noted in her own reelection bid announcement Jan. 14 that the city has done its best to support local businesses while protecting public health.
“This year has certainly been a challenge for small businesses, and I believe the city has done all that we can to find that balance and keep businesses and the community healthy, and help them thrive,” she said.
“I’ve also been a small business owner in this community for many years and I recognize the challenges,” said Kaup, who ran an engineering business for many years and has recently worked as a building sustainability and energy efficiency consultant.
“My husband and I raised a family here, so I know the struggles of young people trying to live and succeed here,” she said. “And, I will continue to be a strong advocate in our outreach to people of all colors and backgrounds as we seek to have more community interaction and engagement by everyone.”
Ward seats to go uncontested
While the At-Large seat will be contested in the April 6 election, the Wards 2 and 5 seats — held respectively by Ingrid Wussow and Jonathan Godes — that are also up for election, will go uncontested.
Godes, who for the past two years has served as the council-appointed mayor, said he was surprised to hear no other candidates put in for the south Glenwood ward seat.
“In general, I don’t think that uncontested elections are great, but it’s nice to not have to run a campaign,” Godes said. “Overall, I think the community seems to feel that we are working hard to understand the issues and reflect the will of our citizens.
“While Shelley, Ingrid and I don’t always get it ‘right,’ and while we don’t always agree with each other, we respect each other, the staff and the process. I think that the people appreciate that,” Godes said.
Wussow, who was appointed to the vacant Ward 2 seat last fall to represent the West Glenwood area, said she, too, was expecting a challenge.
“Truthfully, for the purposes of a democratic, fair election, it’s nice to have a choice,” she said. “But I’m honored in this situation to be able to continue representing Ward 2.”
Just one of three Glenwood City Council seats to be contested in April
There will be at least one contested race for Glenwood Springs City Council in the April 6 election.
Native Son Restaurant and Bar owner Ricky Rodriguez was the only non-incumbent candidate to submit his petition by the Monday deadline. He intends to run for the At-Large seat against incumbent Shelley Kaup.
Rodriguez was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday, but indicated in a text message that he plans to make a formal announcement about his City Council bid on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, unless a write-in candidate emerges in the next few days, it appears Ward 5 Councilor and current Mayor Jonathan Godes and recently appointed Ward 2 Councilor Ingrid Wussow will be running unopposed.
According to city of Glenwood Springs Public Information Officer Hannah Klausman, no other candidate petitions were received by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline.
Rodriguez has been an often-outspoken critic of the city’s COVID-19 response and restrictions on restaurants and other businesses over the past year, including the city’s downtown mask requirement. Recently, he penned a guest column that ran in the Post Independent addressing some of those concerns.
Glenwood attorney, former state House candidate Colin Wilhelm announces 2022 bid for Boebert’s CD3 seat
Two-time candidate for the Colorado Legislature and Glenwood Springs criminal defense attorney Colin Wilhelm is adding his name to what’s expected to be a long list of Democrats vying for the congressional seat now held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Rifle.
Wilhelm formally announced Monday that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination in 2022 for the 3rd Congressional District seat, saying that he is “running to create a greater opportunity for every family in Colorado.”
“We are at a period where our democracy is being threatened by fringe elements who have sought to take control of American politics,” Wilhelm said.
Wilhelm issued a statement confirming his candidacy, saying that he is “running to help reconstruct politics in this country through unity.”
Wilhelm ran unsuccessfully for the 57th District Colorado House of Representatives seat last year against state Rep. Perry Will, and in 2018 against now state Sen. Bob Rankin, both Republicans.
He noted that the Nov. 3, 2020 election in which Boebert defeated Democrat Diane Mitsch-Bush that there were more cross-party votes than the district had ever seen before.
“Across our state, parents are struggling to create a better life for their children,” he said in the release. “We must do more to create good-paying jobs that can support a family, guarantee access to quality health care, including mental health care, ensure the affordability of higher education, address the housing crisis, and protect our environment.”
Given Boebert’s controversial start since being sworn in earlier this month — including allegations that her social media comments helped incite the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and related to her association with right-wing militant groups — the field of candidates to replace her in two years may be large.
Several prospective candidates have already formally announced, including Durango crane operator and business owner Marina Zimmerman, who is currently unaffiliated, or said they are considering it.
Among the potential Democrats who may challenge Boebert are current Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, and state Sen. Kerry Donovan of rural Eagle County, according to a Jan. 23 article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
It’s also possible Republicans could mount a primary challenge to Boebert for the party nomination in 2022. Boebert rose to political prominence herself last year when she defeated five-term incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Tipton in the June GOP primary.
Also factoring into the political maneuvering will be this year’s congressional redistricting, which could shift the boundaries of the 3rd District. The sprawling district now includes Pueblo and most of the Western Slope, except Vail and eastern Eagle County and Summit County.
Wilhelm noted in his announcement that he has a degree from Marquette University in communication studies and his law degree from New England Law-Boston.
After he and his wife moved to Glenwood Springs, Wilhelm has been on numerous non-profit and government boards.
“My parents instilled in me a commitment to community and a firm belief in the promise of America,” he said in the release. “I was raised in a close-knit community and a home known for its strong work ethic and service to others. I want to bring that attitude to Washington on behalf of all Colorado residents.”
Monday 5 p.m. deadline for Glenwood City Council candidate petitions to be filed
Monday is the final day for prospective candidates to circulate and submit petitions to run for three Glenwood Springs City Council seats that will be up for election April 6.
As of late last week, only the three incumbents had turned in their petitions — Shelley Kaup for the At-Large seat, Jonathan Godes for Ward 5 and Ingrid Wussow for Ward 2.
However, Acting City Clerk Steve Boyd said the City Clerk’s Office had handed out additional candidate packets for the At Large and Ward 5 seats, but none of those had yet been returned.
Aside from the three incumbents, no official candidate announcements have been made.
Would-be candidates must collect at least 25 valid signatures of registered city voters to qualify for the ballot. Candidates running for one of the two ward seats must collect signatures within their respective wards.