Gary Lindstrom to run for state representative |

Gary Lindstrom to run for state representative

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom has set his sights on the Colorado Capitol.

Lindstrom, who changed his political affiliation from Independent to Democrat in June, last Friday filed the paperwork necessary to run for the state representative seat currently held by Democrat Carl Miller of Leadville.

Miller, who represents Lake, Eagle and Summit counties in District 56, will have served four terms, and by state law, can’t run again after his term expires in November 2004.

“I’m very happy with the way things in Summit County are currently,” he said of his reason for running. “I believe there’s lots of work to be done at the state level right now. They need some experienced help down there. There are people who have been there who have really made a mess of things.”

Lindstrom doesn’t plan to officially announce his candidacy until late November or early December, giving him time to develop a platform and establish committees. Filing the paperwork does, however, reserve him a place in the running and allow him to raise funds.

Eagle County-based realtor and attorney Heather Lemon, who ran against Miller last year, said she is considering making a run for the seat and has spent the past year studying the issues.

“It’s a definite maybe,” she said. “A year’s too early to declare.”

Lindstrom, who was appointed to fill out the term of County Commissioner Rick Hum in 1995 and has since run unopposed in 1996 and 1998, can run for commissioner one more time, if he so chooses. His current term expires in 2006.

“I have said repeatedly, I will not run (for a third term),” he said. “At the end of this term, I will have served for 11 years and 10 months and that’s long enough for anyone. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to; I think it has a lot to do with, I’m a firm believer in term limits. Some elected officials believe they are ordained by God to serve in their elected position forever. That’s when it’s time to go home.”

Locally, Lindstrom has fought on behalf of Western Slope interests, including water rights and transportation – two topics likely to rise to the top in upcoming legislative sessions.

“That’s why experience is paramount for this district,” Miller said. “Especially when you get into the Legislature. There’s a lot to learn, so if you have some elected experience, it’s certainly a plus.”

Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, agrees.

“Gary would understand all the issues, especially water,” she said. “He sits in a great vantage point as a county commissioner to understand how legislation affects programs and people. This is a time when people who have the experience and patience are so badly needed. We (the Legislature) have choices, not between bad things and bad things, but between bad things and really bad things.”

She also would welcome someone with a similar mindset on the other side of the aisle. Lindstrom said he believes the biggest challenge would be in creating coalitions on both sides of the aisle and finding common solutions to problems.

“I think we could get a lot of good things done for people who live on that side of the Divide,” Fitz-Gerald said. “I welcome that opportunity.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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