A Review of House District 54

Note: This is first in a series of the legislative battles on the Western Slope starting with House District 54, an open seat vacated by Rep. Josh Penry. HOUSE DISTRICT 54

Democratic Candidate: Rich Alward

Information included on his website:
Professional background: Graduated from Colorado State University with a Ph.D. in Ecology. Served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Africa. Worked for 20 years in the private sector, in the academic community, and with the US Geological Survey. Owns Aridlands Natural Resource Consulting.

Lists water, energy development, K-12 education, renewable resources, Referendum C, severance taxes and healthcare as issues for the 54th legislative seat.

Republican candidate: Steve King

Information from his website includes:
Professional background: Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a minor in political science and a criminal justice associates degree. Spent 24 years in law enforcement including investigator for the Mesa County Complex Crimes Unit. Now owns a business that teaches women self-defense.

Issues: Strongly committed to drug enforcement, prevention and education policies.

2004 Results: St. Rep. District 54
Josh Penry (REP) 23,690 67.42 %
Teresa Coons (DEM) 11,447 32.58 %

Analysis: There hasn’t been a Democrat elected in the 54th for 30 years. Currently, the Republicans outnumber the Democrats 23,080 to 11,034. There are 16,397 unaffiliated voters. Alward definitely has an uphill fight. King’s best campaign strategy will be to say little about issues and his opinions.

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