Gibbs handily beats Bacher to win re-election | SummitDaily.com

Gibbs handily beats Bacher to win re-election

Over the past several months, Dan Gibbs knocked on practically every door in Summit County. He said he didn't care whether the residents were Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians. He wanted to meet them, shake their hands and ask for their votes.

"To me, it's about community — not politics," he said.

The community responded. More than 66 percent of voters supported Gibbs in his re-election bid for District 1 Summit County commissioner. Gibbs faced Republican challenger Allen Bacher, a conservative who wanted to reduce the size of county government by 20 percent. Gibbs, in contrast, also was pushing for ballot initiative 1A, which asked voters to authorize $30 million in funding over eight years to bring county tax revenue nearer to pre-recession levels and pay for ambulance service, 911 upgrades and water-quality efforts.

"I'm excited voters stepped up and said, 'Hey, Dan Gibbs is going to stand up for Summit County,'" Gibbs said.

Gibbs, who grew up in Gunnison, Colorado, and East Lansing, Michigan, is known as a political prodigy who ran for the state legislature in 2006 and won by a 2-1 margin when he was just 30 years old.

The Summit County resident quickly went on to an appointment to a vacant state Senate seat in 2007, was elected to the same office in 2008 and was heading the Senate Transportation Committee by 2009. It was meteoric rise. He was becoming a player at the state house in Denver, passing bills on everything from forest restoration to banning soft drinks in schools.

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But in 2010, instead of running for another term as state senator, Gibbs decided to run for the county commissioner seat vacated by Bob French.

Gibbs, who now lives in the Wellington neighborhood of Breckenridge with his wife and infant daughter, said he was tired of spending his time in politically polarized Denver and not in the mountains that he loved.

In addition to a heftier paycheck, being a commissioner gave him the opportunity to make a difference where he worked, lived and played.

That theme is what still drives Gibbs, making life better for working-class residents — the firefighters and teachers — who want to live in the mountains.