State Rep. Kathleen Curry, who recently stunned political observers with her switch from Democrat to Independent, told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel she doesn’t think Gov. Bill Ritter pushing through environmentally tougher oil and gas drilling regulations last spring led to his decision Wednesday not to seek a second term. She did, however, say the industry was probably gearing up to use the regs against him in the campaign.
“He’s really tough, and I don’t think he would have stuck his neck out as much as he did if he didn’t have the fortitude to deal with the follow-up. I don’t think he’s afraid of a fight,” Curry told the paper. Monday she told the Colorado Independent the debate over the new regulations was one of the factors behind her party switch.
Since then Curry has had mostly positive reaction to becoming an independent, according to the Glenwood Spring Post-Independent, although some Dems in the drilling hotspot of Garfield County – long a conservative enclave – lamented losing one of their own.
The move also cost Curry two key House posts when House Speaker Terrance Carroll Tuesday replace Curry as speaker pro tem chairwoman of the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee.