Monday, January 21

Johnson's corner: State senator announces commissioner campaign

Steve Johnson has made officially official his intention to leave the state Senate early and run for Larimer County Commissioner :

Abridged press release:
Sen. Steve Johnson (R-Larimer County) announced today he will run for Larimer County Commissioner District 2.

Johnson is mid-way through his second four year term representing Larimer County in the Colorado State Senate. Term limits will force Johnson out of the legislature at the end of his term.

In his announcement Johnson said, “I am running for County Commissioner because I have lived in Larimer County for 30 years. I fell in love with Larimer County when I first came here as a student at CSU, and like many residents I chose to stay here. I have seen the population of our county more than double, and still we have the best place to live in America. This is because of the planning and choices those who came before us made. The question for us is, will we make wise decisions and plan for the future in a way that will insure that we remain that great place to live, work, and raise a family? Our County Commissioners will play a huge role in answering that question.”

Johnson will stress the economy, education, and the environment in his campaign.

Having earned a reputation for bipartisan work toward practical common-sense problem solving, Johnson said he expects to earn the support of Republicans and Democrats in his race for Commissioner. Most notably, Sen. Johnson worked with Democrat Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff in writing Referendum C which addressed the state’s budget crisis after the recession of 2001. He is currently working with Fort Collins Democratic Reps. Randy Fischer and John Kefalas to update the state’s mining laws in the face of proposed uranium mining in Northern Colorado. He cites getting the Loveland Driver’s License office reopened as another example of his ability to get things done. The office, which was closed during the 2001 budget cuts, has caused major lines at the Fort Collins and other offices. Johnson said, “People don’t elect us to fight with the other party, they elect us to solve problems. I’ve always been able to do that.” Johnson believes this kind of bipartisan leadership and listening to citizens is precisely what the County Commission needs at this time.

As Larimer County faces budget challenges, Johnson believes his service on the state’s powerful Joint Budget Committee as one of six legislators writing the state’s $17 Billion budget will serve him well as he deals with Larimer County’s budget.

The announcement isn't a surprise — we reported on it last week. Democrat Randy Eubanks, who has held the District Two Seat since last summer, when Karen Wagner resigned, apparently told the Reporter-Herald last night that he's in, too. Eubanks has been an astute student of county government during his half-year in office, and the race should be tight and well-funded on both sides. No less intriguing is what will happen to Johnson's Senate seat, another topic the Chronicle tackled last year.

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