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Tracey Bernett resigns - David Skaggs eyes District 12 representative office

A Niwot-area resident and former U.S. Representative, David Skaggs, is one of a handful of people who have expressed interest in the vacancy in Colorado House District 12. The unexpected opportunity became available when Representative Tracey Bernett of Louisville recently tendered her resignation.

Bernett resigned just before the new legislative term began under allegations that she falsified her residency to qualify for the recent November election, which resulted in her arrest on multiple criminal charges just days before the November election.

Bernett's home on Crestview Lane just east of 95th Street was located within the previous boundaries of District 12, but when the new boundaries were drawn due to population changes, that home was approximately one-quarter mile outside of the new boundaries.

In response, Bernett rented a home in Louisville which was located within the new District 12 boundaries, and claimed that address as her residence prior to the last election. She was re-elected last November to the position she previously held, based upon her new claimed residence, defeating Republican Kathryn Kirvan by a wide margin.

A well-respected and experienced political figure in the state as well as on the national stage, Skaggs is opting to return to political life when he could easily enjoy a life at home out of the spotlight and without pressure. Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Skaggs, a lawyer and former Marine, served multiple terms in the Colorado legislature.

There are reasons for his unexpected decision.

"I'm interested in trying to solve some problems that I think I can address with some experience and talent, that are going to be solved or not at the state legislature," Skaggs said. He further explained that his platform includes a focus on five areas:

• Challenging the unconstitutionality of TABOR: Skaggs would propose the General Assembly pass a resolution to bring a lawsuit to oppose TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) based on constitutional deficiencies. Skaggs has a well-known depth of experience in opposing TABOR that would serve him well in this effort.

• Increasing civic education: Skaggs believes that current politics are particularly challenging because citizens don't have as strong a background in civics and can't manage or participate in a representative democracy as well. If appointed, he would propose legislation to enhance this civic education.

• A requirement for candidates to be screened for participation in insurrection: Skaggs would propose legislation requiring the Colorado Secretary of State to consider insurrection participation prior to certifying the ballot in an election and to disqualify anyone who participated in an insurrection.

• Addressing water issues that deeply affect Colorado: Skaggs has seen how critical water resources are to life in the state and would propose legislation that manages water as drought impacts the area.

• Gun control legislation: When he was in Congress, Skaggs had previously voted on a previous assault weapons ban that lasted for a decade. Since then, he has seen examples of how those weapons have been used adversely in mass shootings and would encourage that gun control legislation be considered in Colorado.

The process of being named to the District 12 vacancy will intensify this week, as the Boulder County Democratic Party holds its vacancy committee meeting. Known candidates, according to the committee's website include Skaggs, Kitty Sargent, Kyle Brown, Alvarado Alfredo, Jenn Kaaoush and Emily Coffee. All of the other candidates reside in Lafayette, Longmont or Superior. The candidates are being considered by the committee which is expected to provide a decision in late January.

"It's a very interesting process, largely dominated by Democratic precinct committee people and area coordinators that live in House District 12," Skaggs said. "So there are 53 voting members of the vacancy committee and we'll have a candidate forum on Wednesday [Jan. 25] and then the committee will decide the following Saturday [Jan. 28] afternoon. So my fate is in their hands."


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