In excellent shape to legislate

Sen. Taylor wins lawmakers' Health and Fitness Challenge

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— State Sen. Jack Taylor has a new feat to add to his resume. The Steamboat Springs lawmaker has been named the fittest state senator after the six-week annual legislative Health and Fitness Challenge.

The challenge encourages legislators in the House and Senate to compete against one another to increase awareness about the importance of good health.

"I didn't do an awful lot different than what I do everyday," Taylor said Thursday. "I walked up and down the steps instead of riding the elevator."

During the competition, points were earned for eating healthy foods, exercising, participating in educational seminars, monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol and attaining a more healthy weight. Taylor climbed more than 17,000 steps during the event.

Taylor won the challenge with 427,865 points, which was 24,527 points more than second-place finisher Sen. Steve Johnson earned.

"I would say that, with a couple exceptions, everybody in this competition was certainly younger than I am," said Taylor, who is 70. "The guy who took second was probably 25 years younger than me, so you got to work hard."

Geneva Taylor, Jack's wife, said her husband still can fit into his Navy uniform. He also still cleans out many of the irrigation ditches in Strawberry Park, where the couple lives.

"He definitely doesn't slow down," Geneva Taylor said.

Lawmakers didn't have to win the challenge to benefit from its mission.

"Rep. Tom Massey lost over 100 pounds," said Melissa Elder, press secretary for House Republicans. "He looks like a completely different person."

The challenge carried a universal message, Taylor said.

"It's a challenge to everybody and shows the importance of what minimal exercise will do for you," Taylor said. "Everybody should be trying to do more exercise."

Taylor was given a bicycle from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield to give to a needy child in his district.

"I made the decision to donate that bicycle to the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, and they will determine through some mechanism what they want to do with it," Taylor said.

The challenge was set up to pit House and Senate Demo--crats and Republicans against one another.

"The Republicans won both sides," Taylor said. "It's clean living we do."

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