BRECKENRIDGE " Gary Lindstrom, Eagle County's representative in Denver, will run for the state's top spot " he announced Thursday he's vying for the governor's seat in 2006.
The 31-year local resident and former county commissioner who currently represents Summit, Eagle and Lake counties in the State House of Representatives, has decided to make a bid for the Democratic nomination to fill the gubernatorial seat.
Lindstrom, 63, who stands on a 45-year career in government, said he will run for governor as a politician who isn't afraid to speak the truth. That truth, from his perspective, is that the state of Colorado does not have a vision and its politicians merely are "reactive" to the main problem facing the state " growth.
"We have a five-bedroom house and we're inviting 20 people to stay," he said. "We're marketing something that's over capacity. You can tell people to try to stand up in the kitchen to sleep, but that's not going to work."
Lindstrom spent his freshman term in the State Capitol this year, where he said he realized too many good people are motivated but afraid to tell the truth, afraid to speak their minds about Colorado.
"Many of them position themselves for a greater political office and think they may hurt their position," he said. "No one is willing to take on the governor's office and say, 'You made a mistake.'"
'The little guy'
Before the state grows more, infrastructure needs to be fixed. He listed roads and water as top priorities, Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom drives to Denver from his 2,500-square-foot home just north of Breckenridge nearly every day. It's a misconception that traffic congestion is only a weekend, he said.
"We have too many people, too many cars, too little road capacity," said the long-time supporter of mass transit on the I-70 mountain corridor.
While Gov. Bill Owens formed roundtables in each basin to address water supplies, Lindstrom said that results in a bunch of talk and no action. He supports small reservoirs " smaller than Dillon Reservoir in Summit County " to store water each spring.
He also wants to see development slow down along Interstate 25 on the Front Range, and instead suggested focusing efforts to attract more industry on the Western Slope, where there's more water and people need the economic boost.
He wants to put a face on the "little guy," the people who live in places like Leadville.
"They live hand-to-mouth ... we need to figure out ways to do economic development in places like that," he said.
Lindstrom said he plans to run a unique campaign. While he doesn't agree with Jesse Ventura's politics, he said he will emulate the former wrestler-turned-politico's style of standing up and saying, "This is me."
"I'm going to tell you the truth," Lindstrom said Thursday.
He floated his name as a potential candidate in October, but received a cold response in the mainstream media. Some in Front Range political circles said his contemplation for the state's top political spot was a joke. Lindstrom balked at the reaction.
"Once they see my platform, they may not agree with me but they'll know I'm a person of courage and I'm willing to speak the truth," he said.
In the past few months, he lamented publicly several times that the Democratic Party did not have a viable candidate for governor. Former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, the only other Democratic candidate, is not universally supported by the party.
"If I do nothing more than get my message out, talk to people, get them thinking about the issues and why the state government is run the way it is," he said, "then I will have accomplished something."