Steamboat Springs Former Steamboat Springs City Council president Ken Brenner is inching closer to a 2008 bid for state Senate.
Brenner announced Saturday at the ninth annual Backcountry Ball that he has filed the necessary paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office to run for the open Senate District 8 seat. The seat is being vacated by term-limited state Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs.
Brenner said Sunday he plans to form a campaign committee and start fundraising immediately. He said he will talk with his family and supporters during the Thanksgiving holiday before making an official announcement - something he hopes to do before Christmas.
"Sometime after Thanksgiving we'll try to make a final decision about moving forward," Brenner said. "There are a lot of people I want to talk to both in other counties as well as supporters; it's just going to take me a little bit of time."
For now, Brenner said he hasn't enlisted any help with the campaign, but he has put together a fundraising list of past supporters.
In a press release to be sent out today, Brenner points to his lifelong involvement with Routt County and years of service with local government as strong points in his understanding of a developing Northwest Colorado.
"I believe that Northwest Colorado deserves a candidate who has lived here full time for over 50 years and understands rural Western values," Brenner writes in the release. Water and air quality, open space preservation, accessible health care, education and maintaining a strong local workforce are among the issues he highlights.
Brenner says he is a third-generation Routt County resident who grew up on a farm and has worked in construction, engineering, local government and medicine. He said he is aware of the challenges of maintaining adequate infrastructure in the face of growth.
"It's just really an amazing challenge that we're looking at, and I think we need someone who is very much aware of that," he said.
If or when Brenner announces his candidacy, he'll face a potential election opponent in state Rep. Al-White, R-Winter Park, who announced his candidacy in early September.
White was first elected in 2000, and has won his past three runs for Colorado House of Representatives District 57. In at least two of those elections, White won majorities in Routt County.
Senate District 8 includes all of Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties, as well as parts of Eagle and Garfield counties. White's current house district includes all or parts of Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.
On Sunday, White said he did eight fundraisers in 16 days to gather "thousands of dollars - it's a significant amount" that he said would be reported at the end of the quarter. In the House's next legislative session, White said he would work to push through beetle kill legislation that would try to find markets for dead timber.
"I am serving, Ken Brenner wants to serve," White said.
"I am doing the job. All he can talk about is what he wants to do, and I can talk about what I'm going to do."