Democrat challenges Republican incumbent in 57th District race
Democrats have a candidate to face Republic incumbent Al White in the 57th House District race.
He is Terry Carwile, a 54-year-old heavy equipment operator at the Trapper coal mine near Craig.
“I’m running for the state House of Representatives because the working people who provide the basis for a strong rural economy and who value a rural lifestyle need a voice in our legislature,” Carwile said.
“The working taxpayers in District 57 need someone who will protect their interests in the Colorado General Assembly,” he added.
Carwile said rural health care, and a decreasing number of insurance providers, is a big issue. “It needs to be looked at and studied, and rectified in some way,” Carwile said.
Carwile is a long-time trade union member, and opposes right-to-work laws that ban mandatory union membership in companies with union contracts.
“That (right-to-work) is really bad news for union members. It dictates that union and management can’t negotiate union security,” Carwile said.
This will be Carwile’s first bid for elected office, although he is currently the vice-chairman of the Moffat County Democratic party.
“We haven’t had a Democratic candidate in the 57th District since I can’t remember when,” Carwile said.
A Vietnam veteran, Carwile has lived in northwest Colorado since the mid-1970s. He’s quick to point out the difference between rural and Front Range Democrats.
“If you’re going to lump me in with Democrats from the Front Range, I’m not that person. I hunt. I fish. I’m a member of the National Rifle Association. A lot of my Democrat friends on the Front Range yell at me about that. Rural Democrats are a different breed than urban.”
So un-Front Range is Carwile, he points to Republican Dave Wattenburg, a former state senator from Walden, as an elected official he admires.
“I liked the way he looked out for the rural area. I tend to be a Democrat in the sense that I’m sensitive to work place issues and things like that,” he said.
With Republicans outnumbering Democrats 2 to 1 in the 57th district, Carwile realizes he faces an uphill battle.
“But there’s a huge number of unaffiliated voters. That’s who a Democrat wants to get in there and attract,” he said.
Revenue sharing, a Republican proposal that would have allowed tax dollars from rich counties like Pitkin County to be diverted to less wealthy neighboring counties like Garfield, has lost support since Russell George left the statehouse. Carwile said he hasn’t given revenue sharing a lot of thought, although he understands the economic impacts resorts have on their bedroom community neighbors.
“I don’t know whether mandated revenue sharing is the way to do it, but I need to look at that.”
As for hobbies and other interests, Carwile said he was Harley Davidson motorcycle owner years ago, and has owned snowmobiles. “But I hate wrenching on them all week so I can ride them on weekends,” he said.
These days, Carwile is more likely to be seen on his bicycle.
“I’ve done seven Ride the Rockies tours,” he said. He has also competed in triathlons and 10K runs. “It helps keep the wolves away,” he added.
Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Mildred Alsdorf said the state Supreme Court hasn’t yet approved the Reapportionment Commission’s new boundary lines for the 57th District.
The current proposal calls for the 57th District boundary line to run north and south between Silt and Rifle, with everything west of the line being included in the reconfigured 57th District. The other 57th District counties are Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand.
Incumbent Al White, a first-term Republican, lives in Grand County.
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A coalition of northwest Colorado local governments want more say-so in the plan to reintroduce wolves in the state, especially as it relates to the Western Slope.