Ten months after quitting the legislature just before what would have been his final term, former state Rep. Mark Cloer is walking away from his job as Congressman Doug Lamborn’s government liaison and launching a lobbying and consulting company with his wife. His reasons may surprise you.
“Really it has nothing to do with Doug at all,” said Cloer. “The truth is, we bought a house out of town and I don’t want to commute. We’re grateful for the employment he’s given me, it’s just time for a change in our lives.
“We want a simpler life.”
In August, Cloer and his wife Tanya bought a house in Sugar City, population 263. The town, in its heyday bustling from the state’s once-thriving beet sugar industry, is in Crowley County about an hour-and-a-half’s drive southeast of Colorado Springs. Cloer said he paid “substantially less” than the $36,674 value that is currently listed for the house with the assessor’s office. The town has no gas station; the closest school is five miles away.
“The opportunity to buy a house in Colorado Springs was beyond our reach,” said Cloer, a Republican who before his election to the legislature was a substitute teacher. “We don’t have $200,000 laying around and we were tired of renting our condo.”
Shortly after Christmas last year — and less than two months after winning a fourth term in the legislature — Cloer unexpectedly resigned from the statehouse, citing an unspecified health problem involving the younger of his two sons, who was eight years old at the time. Cloer represented a racially and politically diverse district in southeastern Colorado Springs.
Following the departure from the state legislature, the newly elected Lamborn hired Cloer, a longtime supporter, as a caseworker and government liaison based in Colorado Springs. The job paid $50,000 a year. He said his son’s health is much better.
Cloer, whose last day working for Lamborn will be at the end of the month, is the second high-profile staffer to depart. In August, just after Republican Jeff Crank announced plans to challenge the freshman congressman, Lamborn’s director of communications, Chris Harvin, resigned to take a job as a vice president of a strategic communications company in Washington DC. Like Harvin, Cloer said that he continues to support Lamborn, and denies that the congressman, who has made several missteps in his first year in office, had anything to do with his decision to step down.
In August, Tanya Cloer registered the couple’s new company, Peerless Communiqu