Opinion | Karl Hanlon: A voice with deep roots on the Western Slope | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Karl Hanlon: A voice with deep roots on the Western Slope

Karl Hanlon
Senate District 8 Democratic candidate
Karl Hanlon, democratic candidate for District of 8 of the Colorado Senate, poses for a portrait at the Dillon Amphitheater in Dillon on Sept. 3.
Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography

I grew up in a ranching family in Jackson County raising cattle. My parents were children of the Great Depression who came of age fighting in World War II and working in factories. They raised their children to value hard work taught and the value of good education.

As a first-generation college student in my family, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming. I then spent four years as a seasonal park ranger for the Colorado Division of Parks. I earned a law degree with an environmental certificate from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. That is when I returned to Colorado to practice water law on the Western Slope.

I am currently the city attorney for Glenwood Springs, the town attorney for Silverthorne and a partner at the firm Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C. My water law experience includes representing Glenwood Springs and Rifle in the negotiation of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.

In my time at Glenwood Springs, I’ve been involved in the fight for our public lands, opposing the development of a strip mine on public land by politically connected cronies, a yearslong fight that proves I’m willing to show up and do what it takes to fight for the people I represent.

I am also a husband and a father of four living on a small ranch in Carbondale. There, my wife, Sheryl, and I founded Smiling Goat Ranch, a nonprofit that brings children with autism and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to interact with horses and other animals. I have served on numerous boards, including my local school board, and I am an avid motorcyclist and skier.

In the month of September, my campaign embarked on a camper caravan tour of the district, where I went through every county and every town in the district connecting with voters in different ways. That was a great experience, and while lots of different folks have lots of different ideas, one theme rose up in pretty much all of the conversations I had: People are ready to have someone represent them whose roots are in this district and who will show up in their communities and fight for the things that are important to them.

As your state senator, I promise that my commitment will be to the people of Senate District 8, regardless of political persuasion or background. Our rural communities here on the Western Slope have all too often been forgotten, even by the people claiming to represent them. We need new leadership and a voice for the Western Slope who can go to the Legislature and get things done. This November, I’m asking for your support to bring a fresh voice to the Legislature. We need new perspectives now more than ever.

Karl Hanlon is the Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate District 8.

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