Rifle’s Steven Arauza enters race for Garfield County Commissioner in 2024

Rifle resident Steven Arauza has announced his entry into the Garfield County Commissioner Race as a Democratic candidate for District 3, according to a news release.

The District 3 seat is currently held by Republican Mike Samson, who was first election to commission in 2008.

“Garfield County is ready for a fresh voice,” Arauza said in the news release. “It’s time for a commissioner who understands the needs of young families and working people, the backbone of our economy. I know firsthand the challenges we face every month when expensive grocery bills are eating the monthly budget, healthcare options are limited, and saving to buy a house is impossible due to continued increases in rent. As commissioner I will prioritize community voices to foster partnerships and find solutions to improve the quality of life for residents of Garfield County.”

Arauza lives with his wife and two young children in Rifle. He’s been working as an environmental protection specialist at the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission for over eight years. His work there includes implementing and enforcing environmental regulations, as well as work in spill response and remediation. His background includes oil and gas regulation, the release said. 

Arauza also sits on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. This board makes recommendations to the state for supporting communities who have historically been marginalized by policy and disproportionately impacted by polluting industries, the news release said. 

Arauza has been endorsed by State Rep. Elizabeth Velasco (HD57), RE-1 school board member Jasmin Ramirez, Carbondale town trustee Luis Yllanes and former Garfield County Commissioner candidate Beatriz Soto, the news release stated. 

“I’m excited to endorse a candidate who will put working families first,” Velasco said in the news release. “As a dad and a Rifle resident, he understands the challenges and opportunities for strengthening our community. Steven is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in energy and community resiliency. He will bring the change, hope, and fresh ideas that we need to move Garfield county into the future.” 

“I’m proud to support Steven Arauza for Garfield County Commissioner,” Ramirez said in the release. “I have worked with him extensively and am confident that as a father, husband, and friend in this community, he will always care for our county in a way that protects the valley we love. His background in worker advocacy, organizing, and environmental protection will be invaluable to our community, particularly to our children.”

Arauza adds in the news release, “We have a bright future ahead of us, but to get there, we need a resilient community, a resilient economy, and we need to be proactive to adapt to the challenges ahead. I am ready to work collaboratively to ensure that thriving future, and to do so with integrity and with the best interest of the people of Garfield County always my top priority.” 

More information about Arauza’s campaign can be online at

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.