Steamboat Springs State Rep. Al White will face some competition on November's ballot.
Andy Gold, a business owner from Tabernash and chairman of the Grand County Democrats, has begun campaigning for the House District 57 seat that White has held since 2000.
Gold joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter at a public forum in Steamboat Springs on Feb. 25. Gold was in Steamboat again Wednesday, when he spoke to the Steamboat Pilot & Today about his campaign platform.
"I hear about all the nonsense that's going on (at the Capitol), and I want to do my part," Gold, 49, said about his decision to run for elected office. "Things need to be fixed."
Topping the list of those things, Gold said, is a health care industry that has become dominated by profit.
"We need to take the profiteering out of health care," Gold said. "A market economy is wonderful if you sell toasters or surfboards, but I believe there are some industries -- like health -- that have a higher social value."
Gold said proposed legislation, such as a bill that would allow Colorado to enter into a multistate purchasing pool for prescription drugs, is largely a "Band-Aid" for a problem needing a more permanent, widespread solution.
"I believe in universal health care," he said. "It's not going to happen right away, but we can take some steps to make sure it starts to happen."
Gold has lived in Grand County with his wife, Nancy, for 11 years. The couple has a 7-year-old son, Sam, whom they adopted from South Korea when he was 4 months old.
Gold runs an online business that distributes aviation textbooks throughout the country and overseas, a job that he said will allow him to campaign nearly full time.
"I've already been to every community in the district, except Rangely, Dinosaur and Hayden," he said. "It's a huge district geographically, and it's also a huge district in terms of diversity."
So far, Gold is the only Democrat running for White's District 57 seat, which represents Routt, Grand, Jackson, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties along with part of Garfield County.
Long road trips on the campaign trail have given Gold a firsthand look at Western Colorado's booming oil and natural gas industry, which he said provides jobs and energy resources but needs stricter regulations.
"Oil and gas companies must be obligated to provide reasonable compensation to the surface owner," Gold said, referring to a growing dispute between landowners who do not own the rights to minerals beneath their land and the industries seeking to extract those minerals.
Gold said he supports House Bill 1185, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, which would mandate compensations for surface owners.
The November election will determine Colorado's next governor, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurer, along with partisan majorities in the state House and Senate and five Congressional seats. Gold said he likes his party's chances.
"There is no doubt at all that Bill Ritter will be the next governor," Gold said, adding that he expects Democrats to nearly run the table. "This is going to be a good year to be a Democrat."
White, R-Winter Park, narrowly defeated Steamboat Democrat Jay Fetcher in the 2000 election, but he cruised to victories in the 2002 and 2004 elections.