HD 3 vacancy committee set to vote Thursday to replace retiring McGihon

State Rep. Anne McGihon (Photo/Colorado Legislature)
State Rep. Anne McGihon (Photo/Colorado Legislature)
The vacancy committee for House District 3 is set to pick the successor for Democratic state Rep. Anne McGihon from among 10 candidates Thursday night. McGihon, a Denver attorney, announced March 16 she planned to step down from the seat because of the demands of a new job with the law firm Akerman Senterfitt.

McGihon was herself appointed to the seat in 2003 to replace Jennifer Veiga, who was appointed to take state Sen. Doug Linkhart’s place after he won election to the Denver City Council. MicGihon won election to a fourth term last fall with 65 percent of the vote in the south metro district, which includes parts of Denver, Englewood and Cherry Hills Village.

Because there are so many in the running, party officials have adopted a three-round balloting method to allow committee members to narrow the field to six candidates in the first round by picking up to three candidates. For the second round, committee members get one vote, and the top two finishers advance to the final ballot. Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor but won’t appear on the first printed ballot.

Democratic officials said they expect as many as 100 spectators at the vacancy election, scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. in the east basement of the University Park United Methodist Church, 2180 S. University Blvd., Denver. The meeting is open to the public, but drivers need to obtain a permit at the registration desk to park on surrounding streets.

These are the 10 announced candidates in the order they’ll appear on the first ballot:

Douglas Farquhar is an attorney and program director of the National Council of State Legislatures environmental health program. He teaches in the University of Denver environmental policy and management graduate program and has been a district resident since 1990. Read Farquhar’s candidacy statement here.

Stephen White is a licensed clinical social worker with the Cherry Creek School District. Read White’s candidacy statement here.

Judith Judd, an attorney and founder of one of the first woman-owned law firms in the state, is on the board of AAA of Colorado and NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation and is a past member of the Kempe Foundation and Rainbow House boards. Read Judd’s candidacy statement here.

T.R. Reid, who retired as a global affairs correspondent from The Washington Post last year, is an author and PBS documentarian who says he’ll bring expertise and a passion for health care reform to the Legislature. His Frontline documentary, Sick Around the World, asks what America can learn about health care reform from the rest of the world. Read Reid’s candidacy statement here.

Daniel Kagan, who emigrated from England in 1975 and became a U.S. citizen in 1984, is a Yale Law School graduate. He was a Democratic National Convention delegate and legal counsel to Hillary Clinton’s Colorado campaign. Read Kagan’s candidacy statement here.

Aaron Silverstein is the legislative aide to state Rep. Andy Kerr and self-described “committed and unashamed liberal” with a background in community organizing. When the Legislature isn’t in session, Silverstein is a regular blogger at Square State. Read Silverstein’s candidacy statement here.

George Brown is a precinct captain and the curriculum director for Leaders Challenge, a high school leadership development program that works with teachers and students up and down the Front Range. In 2003 he was one of four candidates who sought appointment to the seat, which eventually went to McGihon. Read Brown’s candidacy statement here.

Colleen O’Brien is a longtime party activist and the Advanced Placement government teacher at Overland High School. She owns PushGym Fitness and Physical Therapy along with her husband. Read O’Brien’s candidacy statement here.

Sam Cassidy, an attorney, served as lieutenant governor under Democrat Roy Romer and was minority leader in the state Senate in the early 1990s, when he represented a district in southwest Colorado. He was president of Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry at the end of the last decade and developed the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Read Cassidy’s candidacy statement here.

Shelley Watters worked for seven years as an aide to Denver City Councilwomen Joyce Foster and Carol Boigon and ran for the City Council District 7 seat in 2007, when The Colorado Independent’s predecessor site interviewed her. Read Watters’ candidacy statement here.

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the vacancy selection on the Denver Democrats site.

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