White’s state Senate replacement likely to be named today in Craig

A replacement for state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, will likely be chosen today by a vacancy committee in Craig from a list of at least five candidates that includes White’s wife, Jean White. The Republican District 8 Vacancy Committee is slated to meet today at 2 p.m. at the Moffat County Courthouse.

Also in the running, according to the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, is Glenwood Springs businesswoman Shannon Stowe, the vice chairwoman of the Garfield County Republican Party and the wife of former county commissioner Walt Stowe.

White, in the middle of his first term in the state Senate but before that a member of the state House for eight years, is stepping down in the coming weeks to head up the Colorado Tourism Office for the administration of governor-elect John Hickenlooper. White’s wife, Jean, serves on the GOP vacancy committee and will have to recuse herself today because she’s a nominee.

Also in the running, according to the Post-Independent, are former 3rd Congressional District candidate and retired Col. Bob McConnell of Steamboat Springs and Jeff Frye of Hayden. A member of the vacancy committee told the paper more candidates may still come forward today. The Denver Post reports Kay Mayring of Walden is also in the hunt.

White is considered a moderate who tried hard to juggle the increasingly divergent interests of the sprawling Senate District 8, which includes Eagle, Garfield, Routt, Jackson, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties in sparsely populated Northwest Colorado.

A longtime ski shop owner in Winter Park, White says tourism is key to Colorado’s economic recovery, but he also strongly backed more intensive industrial uses for the state’s vast tracts of public lands, including heavily supporting the coal mining and natural gas industries on the Western Slope.

Some ski industry and outdoor recreational interests have grown more vocal in recent years about stepped-up extractive industries in areas that could see tourism impacted as a result. White’s successor will have to deal with many of those same conflicting issues.

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