Roesener to vie for GOP nomination in HD 57 |

Roesener to vie for GOP nomination in HD 57

PARACHUTE, Colorado – Ron Roesener has stepped down as chairman of the Garfield County Republican Party to set his sights on earning the party’s nomination to run for the Colorado House of Representatives in the newly redrawn District 57.

Roesener, 62, of Battlement Mesa, becomes the second Republican candidate to announce for the House District 57 seat.

Earlier this month, Bob Rankin, 69, of Glenwood Springs, announced his plans to seek the party’s nomination for the house seat.

The largely rural district now includes all of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties, following adoption of the new legislative reapportionment plan late last year. To date, no Democratic candidates have formally announced for the seat.

Roesener’s decision did mean that he had to resign the Garfield County Republican chairmanship that he had held for the past year. State party rules do not allow active county party chairs to run for public office.

He announced his resignation during the Garfield Republicans’ central committee meeting last Saturday in Rifle. At the same time he asked for support in his bid for the HD 57 seat.

“I believe my background in estate and financial planning in the rural farm and ranch market gives me a better idea of the needs of agriculture,” Roesener said in a statement posted to his campaign website.

He was a past business sponsor of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in LaPlata County, and had farm and ranch clients throughout Colorado.

“I also ran a small business, trained new people, and employed over 100 people,” he said. “I know what it takes to meet a payroll, to provide benefits, to assist employees with family needs.

“I also feel like the oil and gas industry has been run out of western Colorado,” Roesener said in follow-up interview with the Post Independent.

“The reason our county has so much money in reserve is from oil and gas production,” he said, noting a decline in activity that has resulted in mothballed housing projects, empty storefronts and half-empty schools in the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area.

He proposes stepping up efforts to encourage more energy development, and using the tax revenues to help the ailing higher education system in Colorado.

Rankin, a retired aerospace executive and current owner of an Internet-based outdoor recreation guide, announced his bid for the HD 57 seat on Jan. 5, calling himself a constitutional and fiscal conservative and free-market capitalist.

He said Tuesday that he was disappointed in Roesener’s decision to challenge for the party’s nomination.

“We as Republicans in western Colorado need to be focusing our resources on defeating Obama and re-electing [Third District Congressman] Scott Tipton,” Rankin said. “This will just pit the eastern end of the county against the west end and set up a primary.”

Rankin said he questions Roesener’s proposal to use oil and gas taxes to supplement higher education.

“Diverting additional severance tax and federal mineral royalty payments to Denver and higher education will not be a good thing for western Colorado,” Rankin said. “I think if you ask any county commissioner or town mayor in this district if the diversion of local severance tax dollars away from roads, bridges and local infrastructure needs, [and] to CU and CSU is a good idea, they’ll stand up and say no.”

Delegates to the Colorado Republican Assembly will be elected at the county assemblies in late March. Candidates for state offices earning 30 percent or more of the delegate vote at the state assembly will advance to the party primary elections, to be held June 26 this year.

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