Sen. Ellen Roberts, president pro tem of the Colorado Senate, announced today she is resigning her Senate District 6 seat, which covers eight counties in southwestern Colorado.
Roberts made the announcement in a letter to her district, which was published in today’s Pagosa Sun. Her resignation takes effect on December 31.
The senator, of Durango, has served six years in the Senate and previously spent four years in the House. She had two years to go on her final term. Her job as the President Pro Tempore (or pro tem) is to preside over Senate activity when the Senate President is absent.
In her resignation letter, Roberts said she had been contemplating her decision for more than a year.
“It’s not a result of the rather tumultuous election year we find ourselves in,” she said. “The time has come for me to move on after 10 years of what has been for me a very positive and productive experience as your public servant,” she wrote. “I appreciate the trust and support that I’ve received by so many over the years, both in my district and at the Denver Capitol. Public service isn’t for everyone, but it was instilled in me by my father, a proud World War II veteran and a dedicated teacher, sports coach and community volunteer. “
Roberts is viewed as a moderate Republican in the Senate. She’s an attorney and is best known for her work on water, wildfire and healthcare issues. She has been a strong advocate for “Good Samaritan” legislation in the wake of the Gold King mine spill in August, 2015, sponsoring legislation to ask Congress to limit liability for companies and organizations that want to work on the cleanup of abandoned mines.
Roberts is also viewed as one of the few pro-choice Republicans in the General Assembly.
Last year, Roberts had been one of the first Republicans considered for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, which was eventually won by El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. But Roberts was viewed as a longshot for the nomination, in part because of some of her more moderate positions.
A vacancy committee will be convened to pick her replacement, although Republican Rep. Don Coram of Montrose is believed to be the leading candidate to finish out her term. Coram would then be able to run for a full four-year term in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Sen. Ellen Roberts