Steamboat Springs Former longtime Steamboat Springs City Council member Steve Ivancie will attempt to disrupt the Republican hold on Colorado State House District 57. Ivancie confirmed Monday that he plans to run against incumbent Randy Baumgardner in the November election.
Ivancie, a Democrat who served on the City Council for eight years, was term-limited and left the council in November 2009. He acknowledged that although he’s entering the race a bit late, it’s the right decision to make.
“I should have made this decision earlier, but I sat down with my wife and other people who have been very supportive of me” and decided to run, he said. “I said, ‘Well, it’s about time to step up to the plate and make a decision.’”
Ivancie is running in a district that traditionally goes Republican. Baumgardner beat Democrat Todd Hagenbuch in 2008. Prior to that, state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, held the seat for eight years. House District 57 includes Routt, Moffat, Grand, Garfield, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties. And although Routt County has voted Democratic in recent years, a strong Republican vote in the other counties has carried Election Day for GOP candidates.
Ivancie said he isn’t concerned about party affiliations because he bases his decisions on facts, not the party line.
“I think people are tired of parties, both parties, winning elections for partisan purposes,” he said. “It’s a new era, and we don’t have the luxury of being as partisan as we have been in the past.”
Baumgardner said he will not rely on the Republican tradition in the district to help him retain his seat.
“Nothing is safe. You have to get out and do your best,” he said. “I have a voting record, though, that people can look at now after two years. That’ll be the difference, I think.”
Tackling the issues
Ivancie said several of the issues he wants to address include three controversial November ballot initiatives and education funding. Proposed state constitutional Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 aim to reduce government spending and taxation.
“I consider myself a fiscal conservative, but we have to be careful we don’t overreact to these things because it could make it very difficult for our local government to deal with the things they need to do,” he said.
Ivancie also stressed that he wants to cooperate with other legislators, something he said isn’t happening now.
“We need to have some representation in District 57, and I think our representation is sorely lacking,” he said. “We need to have someone who can represent the district who has some experience and looks for collaboration in the other lawmakers.”
Ivancie said he wants to create a team of pragmatists to deal with problems and bring jobs to Northwest Colorado.
“My feeling is that it’s time for us to position ourselves for an economic recovery and make sure Northwest Colorado is ahead of the curve, and we can create jobs,” he said.
Baumgardner said he has had success working with other lawmakers on legislation and has voted for bills that will bring jobs to the district.
“I’ve worked very well with both sides of the aisle, my voting record will show that,” he said.
Baumgardner said he voted on renewable energy bills and a bill that “kept the coal industry alive,” bills that he said could help create jobs.
Ivancie said he learned many lessons in his time on the City Council, and one that he will retain is how to run a lean campaign.
“It’s very late (in the campaign season) so it’s going to be a very austere and conservative campaign,” he said. “Even when I ran for council I didn’t believe in spending money on ads and things.”
He said he plans to travel throughout the district and introduce himself to constituents. Ivancie said he has held jobs that encompass aspects from all across the district. He has worked as a miner, on a ranch, as a ski patroller and as a project manager.
“I learned a lot of very valuable lessons from my years as councilperson,” he said, alluding to working with diverse council members and on divisive issues.
“I want to take that experience to the next level.”