Houpt will stick with Garfield County | PostIndependent.com

Houpt will stick with Garfield County

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Tresi Houpt

Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Houpt confirmed on Wednesday that she will be running for re-election to her third term on the county board, ending weeks of speculation as to her political plans.

Houpt, who represents the southern portion of Glenwood Springs along with Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley to the Eagle County line, had announced last October that she planned to seek re-election.

But since then, State Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison switched her political affiliation from the Democratic Party to Independent.

When that happened, Democrats pledged to put a candidate up to keep Curry’s District 61 seat on their side of the aisle in the Colorado General Assembly, and Houpt said that making a bid for that seat was, for her, “a serious consideration.”

But in the end, she said, she opted to stay where she is because “I truly believe there are things that I can accomplish in the county … that are really important.”

For one thing, she said, “I want to maintain the balance on the board,” where her two fellow commissioners are Republicans with very different agendas than hers in many respects.

Plus, she said, the county has taken important steps in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency that she hopes to help move forward, as well as coming up with programs to encourage industrial and economic diversification.

Houpt also mentioned such things as the county’s efforts to figure out how best to handle mass transit that meets the needs of its populace; what to put in an updated comprehensive land-use plan; and how to deal with a citizen-initiated movement to start a county open space program as programs she wants to influence.

“It was very flattering that people wanted me to run for the Statehouse,” she conceded, adding that she may do so some time in the future.

But with the county mired in a recession, along with the rest of the nation, and many unresolved questions swirling around the oil and gas industry, Houpt said, “There are a lot of issues that have become active in Garfield County that are important to weigh in on.”

For instance, she predicted that the regional oil and gas industry will rebound at some point, “but there’s no way of telling how much or when,” so the county must prepare for several possible future scenarios.

Houpt said she had discussed with Curry, who is both a political ally and a friend, her thoughts about running for the Dist. 61 seat.

“I’m very disappointed that she left the Democratic Party,” Houpt remarked, adding that Curry understood that if Houpt had run for the Dist. 61 seat she would have been “trying to keep that seat for the Democratic Party.”

As it is, she said, she is not expecting the coming campaign to be an easy one.

“I never go into a race assuming that I am going to win,” she said, predicting that there is likely to be local ramifications from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision opening the door to greater corporate political contributions.

Recalling that energy industry money played a role in the 2008 elections in Garfield County, she predicted, “that certainly will happen this time.”

So, she concluded, “I’ll have to work hard for this, and I should have to.”

Houpt is a Colorado native who moved to Garfield County in the 1990s. She is married with two sons.


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