Jack Taylor

Jack Taylor

Taylor thanks the people

Earnest try in politics marks senator's memory of career

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The wind was blowing, but the weather was warm.

The sun was shining but not hot enough to sting when wandering out from underneath the shade.

Saturday was calm at the Yampa Valley Golf Course, where the only tension was in asking a golfer his handicap.

Colorado Sen. Jack Taylor seemed to take the peacefulness in stride, recently having finished the last session of his state Legislature career fighting for his constituents' severance tax funding and water rights, among other things.

Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, has represented the Yampa Valley for the last 16 years, first as a representative and recently as a senator. Term limits prevent him from running again.

Rest will have to come later, though, after another cloudy winter has passed between this Saturday and when Taylor finally packs up his capital office.

Taylor's term officially doesn't end until January, and he has commitments with the Agriculture and Natural Resources and Legislative Audit committees, as well as the Colorado Tourism Board.

He said he'll probably work through December and put about 15,000 to 20,000 miles on his car this summer.

"But that's what it is when you come home, for me," Taylor said. "I went into it with the realization and understanding that it's a full-time job if you're going to do it right."

With more than a decade and a half in the state Legislature, Taylor counts at the top of his successes a 2006 bill to fund state tourism marketing with money from casinos.

For every dollar spent on marketing, the state sees $20 back in collected taxes, Taylor said.

On a more personal note, Taylor said, the biggest accomplishments he had were smaller in scale.

"Just answering the phone and solving problems for people that have problems," he said.

Geneva, Taylor's wife of nearly 25 years, added she doesn't think Taylor will ever get away from that, whether he's a politician or not. She said it's one of the things she loves about him.

"I'm just grateful he has the way to do that for people," she said.

Although he expects some bumps in the transition, Taylor has some connections to his life before politics, Geneva chief among them.

But other oddities and objects, also, such as his 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. The car is the same one he drove from New Orleans to Colorado on a whim, shortly before moving to Steamboat.

That was 1969, when Taylor was living in New Orleans for the second time, recently having escaped New York City.

"New York City was not for me," he said. "I'm an Iowa farm boy. I wanted to get back to skiing, back to the open spaces."

Ironically, Taylor had spent the 12 years of his life before that going from big moments to big places, hardly seeking the tranquility from his youth.

His Iowa State baseball team went to the College World Series in 1957 and placed third. As a lifelong baseball fan - and second basemen - Taylor said he hasn't shaken the feeling of being on the field.

In life, however, he chose to uphold his U.S. Navy commitments after college and not pur-

sue a baseball career.

"I'll go to my grave wondering coulda, woulda, shoulda," Taylor said. "But I wasn't going to flunk out of the Naval Academy for that."

After the Navy, he lived in New Orleans and worked on launch rockets for the Apollo moon-landing missions. He lived in Kuwait for some time, getting a job through a Navy friend with an international financial consulting firm, now known as KMPG.

His turn to politics several years later came about as simply as his arrival in Steamboat.

While between jobs in 1969, an employment ad Taylor saw in the Wall Street Journal brought him to Colorado. When he didn't get the job, he drove to Steamboat, which he'd read about in skiing magazines.

In 1992, he got the call that friends and legislators wanted him to run for office, right after his and Geneva's youngest child graduated from high school.

"The way we looked at it was a window of opportunity that would never happen again in our lifetime," Taylor said. "We said OK, just to try it.

"Here we are 16 years later, never dreamed it would develop into that. It was not a designed plan at all."

The Taylors said they might do some traveling when all is said and done and a new senator takes Jack's seat on the Senate floor.

And while they are traveling - mostly to see the things in Colorado they haven't had time to see - Taylor said he'd like to try and get back to western Moffat County, where he knows a nice spot by Echo Park. It's not too far from a Dinosaur ice cream shop he likes to stop by when in the neighborhood.

He said he won't regret giving 16 years to public service when he could have been visiting those places.

"I stuck around for the special moments, they just don't happen that often," Taylor said. "There wouldn't be those moments, though, without the people. And I'm thankful for that."

Comments

justice4all 5 years, 11 months ago

Our Heart-felt thanks to Senator Taylor and his wonderful wife, Geneva, for a job well-done. We wish you a great future with a less demanding daily routine. You both have been truly dedicated to the job and will always be remembered and appreciated. May God be with you always.

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