Pace to seek CD3 seat in 2012

State House Minority Leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, filed his paperwork today to run for U.S. Congress in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in 2012.

That seat is currently held by Republican Scott Tipton, who ousted Democrat John Salazar last year. Pace worked as district director for Salazar and was first elected to the State Legislature in 2008. He was named Minority Leader this year after the GOP regained control of the State House in 2010.

State Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo
“It would be a great privilege to represent western and southern Colorado in the U.S. Congress,” Pace said in a release. “I intend to travel the district, listening to the worries and hopes of Coloradans, talking with them about what Washington does – and what it should not do – to foster an environment to improve the lives of our families.”

Pace emailed supporters that he is “worried about the society we will leave for our children … When I think of my boys’ future, I know that to get there, we need a new approach to governing. We will not accomplish anything if both sides dig in their heels, refuse to negotiate and vilify the other side of the aisle.”

Pace, a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, worked for Salazar as a legislative aide in the Colorado State House and later ran Salazar’s successful 2006 re-election campaign.

Salazar, a farmer and the brother of U.S. Interior Secretary and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, was a Blue Dog Democrat who voted against climate change legislation and other energy reforms but still got swept out of Congress during last year’s Tea Party movement.

Tipton has enraged the more conservation-minded constituents in his district with his relentless campaign to limit the powers of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to reverse the public lands policies of the Obama administration. Others clearly back his pro-business, pro-extractive energy agenda.

Pace will have to walk the same fine line to represent a largely rural and conservative region that currently includes Pueblo and Grand Junction as its two biggest cities.

Pace promises a campaign “that focuses on jobs in the district, on controlling the nation’s unsustainable debt, protecting our rural water, on opportunity for our kids, and on living up to our commitments to our seniors with Medicare and our veterans.”

Martelle Daniels, an attorney from Grand Junction, has been named the campaign’s treasurer. Click here for the Pace campaign website. Pace and his wife Marlene Valdez Pace have two young sons, Wyatt and Carlo.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.

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