77-year-old Battlement Mesa man would be oldest first-time senator
Most people at the age of 77 have been retired for a few years. And most would want to stay that way. But not Dana Barker.”I think it illustrates the changing demographic in our society,” Barker said. “A lot of retired citizens are still wanting to give back to society.”And that is what Barker wants to do: give back to the community.Barker is running for the Colorado State Senate District 7 seat that includes Mesa County and the three precincts in Parachute and Battlement Mesa in western Garfield County. If he is elected, he will be the oldest first-time state senator on record for the state of Colorado. Lewis Boyd Walbridge was sworn into office at the age of 74 and served from 1933-36.”From the information that we found, that would be true,” Barker said.Although he has never held an elected position before, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any experience. Barker claims to have plenty.”Age is an asset in this race,” he claimed in a press release. “I’m running against a 30-year-old opponent – I have 50 years of experience in problem solving to bring to the Senate.”Barker worked for the United States Postal Service for 27 years as a budget analyst for the $50-billion-a-year entity. During his tenure at the USPS, Barker was unable to run for any elected office because of government regulations. He did, however, help out with other organizations working with state and federal government agencies.Barker worked for the Fairfax County Housing Authority in Virginia for 13 years while he worked for the USPS, and he was also president of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations for an additional 10 years. His efforts for both of these organizations helped forge his political aspirations. “They were both challenging positions,” he said. “Its very much like a political position in the sense that it was great when we got something done and not so great when we didn’t.”His campaign in the Senate race has been a short one, he admitted.”I entered the race very much at the last minute,” he said.As president of the Garfield County Democratic Committee, he was urged by his fellow committee members to run after no one else had volunteered. To Barker this seemed to be a perfect opportunity for him to contribute some of his knowledge to the state Senate.”I want to get some things done,” he said. “I saw the opportunity to do so, and the rest is history.”Barker and his wife of 50 years, Barbara, moved to Battlement Mesa 10 years ago, after Dana retired from the USPS. Since they moved to Garfield County they have spent most of their retirement volunteering. “I have enjoyed retirement but I like to keep active,” he said. “We’ve benefited from the activities of others in our lifetime, and we just like to give back.”Giving back seems to be in his nature. During his time in Battlement Mesa, Barker helped start the Western Garfield County Democrats and has been an active participant with the local Kiwanis club, volunteering as a tutor, for food drives, and helping out at the visitors cabin.Barker’s focus is on education, reasonable health care for children and the uninsured, lowering drug costs for Colorado Citizens, and gas and oil development and its impact on the environment.Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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