Glenwood Springs Democrat Colin Wilhelm to run for Colorado Assembly

Colin Wilhelm

Glenwood Springs attorney Colin Wilhelm will run for Colorado House District 57 as a Democrat in 2020.

If he makes it through the primary, Wilhelm would likely face incumbent Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle. House District 57 is made up of Garfield, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

Wilhelm announced his campaign at the Rifle library Monday.

“I saw that there were some deficiencies in our representation, and I felt that the people needed to be represented more,” Wilhelm said in an interview. “I feel I have the opportunity to go out and work for the people, and represent the people directly.”

Economy and health care

Wilhelm mentioned jobs and health care as two major issues facing his northwest Colorado district.

“We’re on the brink of economic transition out here, and we need to embrace that transition,” Wilhelm said.

The economic risks aren’t just related to oil and gas, but to single-industry towns, Wilhelm said.

“We need to work with current stakeholders, local and state governments to keep the jobs we have while transitioning to new jobs in multiple fields to allow for economic growth,” Wilhelm said.

The current representation doesn’t appear to be looking in that direction, he added.

As an example, Wilhelm mentioned that rural towns reliant on single industries like coal extraction have the opportunity to become leading producers of outdoor recreational equipment.

“Also, we need to increase access to healthcare. And particularly, mental health care access is lacking in Colorado, so I plan on taking that head-on,” Wilhelm said.

A new incumbent

In 2018, Wilhelm challenged then-Rep. Bob Rankin for the same seat, but lost by a 9% margin, or about 2,000 votes.

“I learned a lot from the last campaign, what to do and some of what not to do. I’m going to take that information and move forward. I feel confident about our chances,” Wilhelm said.

Both Rankin and Wilhelm ran primarily based on issues, and avoided more rancorous campaign rhetoric. Rankin commented after his victory that the race against Wilhelm “was almost too civil.”

“We sort of agreed on everything,” Rankin said on election night.

After the 2018 election, Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, was appointed to replace former Sen. Randy Baumgardner in the Colorado Senate. A Republican panel selected Will to fill Rankin’s seat in the house.

Wilhelm directed supporters to follow his campaign Facebook page for more information.

“We’re looking forward to getting out, and there will be many events over the next year,” Wilhelm said.

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