Direction emerges for open Colorado Senate seat
Candidates will have 3 minutes for introduction, 25 minutes for Q-and-A on Monday
If you go
What: State Senate District 8 vacancy committee meeting
When: 2 p.m. Monday
Where: Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, Craig
For more: Those interested in being nominated for the vacant state Senate seat are asked to e-mail Phil Vaughan, chairman of Senate District 8, at email@example.com, and Senate District 8 secretary Audrey Danner, at audreydanner@gmai..., before the committee meeting. Anyone interested should include name, address, phone number and e-mail address with the letter of interest, biography and proof of Republican Party registration in the district.
State Senate District 8 vacancy committee:
Randy Milhoan, Eagle County Republican chairman
Milt Blakey, Garfield County Republican chairman
Dick Snavely, Jackson County Republican chairman
John Ponikvar, Moffat County Republican chairman
David Smith, Rio Blanco County Republican chairman
Jack Taylor, Routt County Republican chairman
Audrey Danner, Senate District 8 secretary
Jean White, Senate District 8 vice-chairwoman
Phil Vaughan, Senate District 8 chairman
Steamboat Springs — Candidates for the region’s vacant state Senate seat may have to do some fast talking Monday.
Those looking to replace Republican state Sen. Al White, of Hayden, will have three minutes to introduce themselves, followed by 25 minutes for a Q-and-A period that caps each response at two minutes, according to draft rules released Wednesday by the state Senate District 8 vacancy committee.
The committee is holding a public meeting at 2 p.m. Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse in Craig to select the replacement for White, who starts as director of the Colorado Tourism Office on Jan. 11.
The state Legislature convenes Jan. 12 at the Capitol in Denver.
Former state Sen. Jack Taylor, of Steamboat Springs, is chairman of the Routt County Republican Party and a member of the Senate district’s vacancy committee. He said Wednesday that any introduction time less than 10 minutes could be challenging for candidates, especially given the complexity and breadth of issues — such as a budget deficit estimated at $715 million — facing the state and the district.
The time allotted for candidate introductions could change.
Phil Vaughan, chairman of the Senate district committee, said the committee will review the agenda and rules Monday at the meeting and could make changes at that time.
“Until Jan. 3, we won’t know exactly how the process will work,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan lives in Rulison, a Garfield County town between Rifle and Battlement Mesa, and has owned Phil Vaughan Construction Management since 1989. He’s been involved in regional politics through the Republican Party since the mid-1980s but has not held elected office, choosing instead to serve on precinct and district committees.
He’s also business affairs chairman for Club 20, a conservative-leaning Western Slope advocacy group.
Whoever fills the Senate District 8 vacancy will serve the rest of Al White’s term through 2012.
Steamboat Springs Republican Bob McConnell, who lost a congressional primary in August, has declared his candidacy for the state seat. So has Jean White, wife of Al White and vice chairwoman of the Senate district committee. She said this week that she’ll recuse herself from all discussions and actions related to the vacancy.
Jeff Fry, of Hayden, has expressed interest in the vacant Senate seat. Fry is a Routt County Planning Commission member who has served as a regional vice chairman for the county GOP. Taylor also said Shannon Stowe, of Garfield County, has expressed interest, along with others from Garfield, Eagle and Moffat counties.
Vaughan said the candidate pool could get deeper.
“Folks don’t have to make contact prior to” Monday, he said. “They can come to the meeting that day, have someone nominate them, and they can certainly make their argument at that time.”
Colorado’s Senate District 8 includes Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco and Eagle counties along with part of Garfield County.
Vaughan said the selection process could extend beyond Monday.
“We may have a tremendous amount of candidates, and that meeting may have to continue to another day in order to hear everyone and make that decision,” Vaughan said.
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