Prospects line up for Scanlan’s House seat |

Prospects line up for Scanlan’s House seat

summit daily news

Citing family and business priorities, Josh Lautenberg has pulled out of the running for Christine Scanlan’s Colorado House District 56 seat, but about six others are waiting to be considered.

Scanlan recently won reelection to State House District 56, but has been tapped by Governor-elect John Hickenlooper to serve on his leadership team. Scanlan, a Democrat from Summit County, will serve as Hickenlooper’s director of legislative affairs and strategic initiatives.

Eagle County’s Lautenberg, who some in the party saw as a lead contender for the appointment, said he removed his name from the list of potential successors on Friday morning.

“I made a decision very quickly, feeling like I needed to,” he said. “The decision, I believe, was made prematurely. I’ve got this wonderful family and incredible wife and two young kids, 10 and 7 years old, and this fledgling real estate company that I took over not even a year ago. I have so many philanthropic and volunteer commitments in this valley that I just can’t bring myself to give up.”

Liz Spetnagel, chair of the House District 56 Committee and vice chair of the Eagle County Democrats, said there are six other candidates currently on the list of potential successors – one from Lake County, one from Summit County and two from Eagle County. She wasn’t clear on the residency of the other two candidates.

One Summit County candidate, Emily Tracy, submitted her letter of interest for consideration.

Spetnagel said she’d just received Tracy’s information and couldn’t comment about her ability to fill the role.

“I don’t know her,” Spetnagel said. “I haven’t had a chance to review her information.”

Tracy, of Breckenridge, has been a Colorado resident since 1965 and has resided in Summit County since 2002. She has co-chaired the Legislative Affairs Council of the Summit Chamber of Commerce for five years, and has served for four-and-a-half years on the Countywide Planning Commission.

She has a long list of public and private sector commitments, such as a career in local- and state-level human services, as well as work with the Colorado Judicial Branch and with nonprofits.

Tracy’s political life includes serving for eight years on the Canon City Council as well as running as a Democratic candidate for representative in southern Colorado’s rural, conservative House District 60 in 2002 and 2004.

“I achieved the highest percentage of Democratic votes that any Democrat has ever received in that District,” she said in her letter.

Spetnagel said the committee is looking for a candidate who “can handle the job.” That means someone who can be in Denver full-time during legislative sessions and committee work. But more importantly, it means someone who is known or can make themselves known to district constituents.

“That’s the key to the success of House District 56,” Spetnagel said, explaining that former representatives Dan Gibbs and Christine Scanlan identified issues of importance by reaching out to the community.

A replacement must be found within 30 days of Scanlan’s resignation from the seat. Currently, Spetnagel is accepting letters of interest along with resumes and is trying to set up a meeting time where a quorum of committee members can come together to make a decision on a replacement.

SDN reporter Janice Kurbjun can be contacted at (970) 668-4630 or at

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