FRISCO " Christine Scanlan gave her first political speech Wednesday evening, shortly after the Democratic vacancy committee appointed her to fill the Colorado House of Representatives seat Dan Gibbs recently vacated as he became a state senator.
She will fill out the remainder of Gibbs term and plans to run for the seat in the November election.
"Dan has set the right expectation for the job, and I'll work hard to rise to that challenge," said Scanlan, who is the senior vice president and chief operating officer of The Keystone Center and Keystone Science School, and president of the Summit School District Board of Education.
Scanlan's interest in being a state representative developed through her work on the school board. She has seen the kind of impact that has had on the community and now hopes to take her service to the next level, she said.
In the meantime, Scanlan plans to maintain her role as school board president. "Initially, I want to see if I can manage it. ... I feel like I made a commitment (there)," she said.
Some of what she plans to focus on at the legislative level includes the bark beetle, Interstate 70, economic and education issues. A tough legislative session is ahead with environment, education and economic concerns, said Scanlan who added that she wants to listen to concerns of the community and take action.
"It's about doing better for the future," she said.
The vacancy committee was made up of 18 people from the Democratic Party in Summit, Eagle and Lake counties. Thirteen attended the public meeting Wednesday at Frisco Town Hall and voted Scanlan in by a "clear majority," announced Dr. Flo Raitano, chair of the House District 56 Democratic Party.
Other candidates that were in contention for the appointment include Kim Fenske, Sheila Groneman, Rosanne Shaw and Emily Tracy, all of Summit County, Lake County Commissioner Mike Hickman and Danny Padnick, of Eagle County.
Gibbs vacated the seat earlier this month after being sworn in as a state senator, filling former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald's Senate District 16 position which includes Summit, Grand, Clear Creek, Gilpin counties as well as portions of Boulder and Jefferson counties. A 42-member vacancy committee unanimously chose Gibbs to fill the role.
"It's been an amazing honor to be your state rep down at the state capital," Gibbs said as the vote was being counted.
Once he resigned, the House District 56 Democratic Party had 10 days to fill the position. Now, a date for Scanlan to be sworn in will have to be worked out with the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice. She will have to decide what five bills to introduce into the legislative session that starts Jan. 9.
"I think Christine will be a tremendous voice for our mountain community," Gibbs said. "I know her to be thoughtful. ... She'll go to bat for everyone in the community."
Scanlan joined The Keystone Center in 1994 and leads the administrative office, including finance, operations, human resources, marketing and development activities. She has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's in nonprofit organization management from Regis University.