Craig There will be a shakeup next year in the tri-county 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, encompassing Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.
District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said Saturday she wouldn’t seek re-election, a move she’s contemplated for some time now.
“When I finally came to the decision that I wasn’t going to run again, I started searching for someone I thought would be good to transition into that role,” Oldham said. “I wouldn’t say bringing Brett (Barkey) in was a calculated move, but he is someone I think would bring a lot of experience to the office.”
Barkey, 50, a Hayden resident and the 14th’s assistant district attorney, announced Saturday he’s seeking the district attorney’s position in the November 2012 election.
Barkey graduated in 1983 from the University of Denver with a double major in history and economics.
He attended Georgetown University Law Center and graduated in 1986 with a Juris Doctor and a master’s in international law. He passed the bar later that year.
After a short stint in private practice, Barkey said his legal career took off when he took a position in 1987 with the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.
“Ever since I was a DA in the 80s, I always thought that being an elected DA was the right combination and was a good fit for me because the job requires leadership skills as well as legal skills,” Barkey said. “I always told myself that I would run if I ever got the opportunity and that is why I accepted the (assistant DA) position and returned to the Yampa Valley in August.”
In the past 25 years, Barkey has honed his legal skills in a variety of positions.
His public service experiences include positions with the El Paso and Moffat County district attorney offices to a 22-year affiliation with the U.S. Marine Corps.
His service in the Armed Forces includes three tours in Iraq, where he served as a judge advocate and rose through the ranks to lieutenant colonel to positions with the U.S. Department of Treasury.
With the treasury department, Barkey said he wrote an executive order for President George W. Bush in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, that froze financial assets of individuals suspected of being involved in the attacks.
Barkey said the president called the order the “first shot in the war on terrorism” after it was signed Sept. 23, 2001.
One reason Barkey said he’s interested in leading the 14th DA’s office is because it serves as a training ground for young attorneys.
“We’ve got a really talented group of lawyers and a phenomenal staff, so I don’t want to discount that,” Barkey said. “But, DA’s offices are places where young attorneys go to get trial experience and I am really comfortable mentoring folks that are new to the job. That’s really the part of the job that I enjoy most.”
Barkey said it would be his first order of business to keep the current staff together.
“We really have a top notch team,” Barkey said. “It’s my intent to keep the band together.”
The district attorney’s position is partisan.
Barkey said he’ll be running as a Republican.
“There’s really not a lot of direct politics with the job,” he said. “I’m a Republican in the sense that I believe in good accountability for government, good accountability for our budget and transparent operations.
“That’s certainly how the district attorney’s office should run as well as any other government office, but there is nothing particularly partisan about the DA’s position in my opinion.”
Barkey said he believes he’s the only candidate to publicly state his intention to run for district attorney. No one within the office has announced an interest, he said.
However, Barkey said he would welcome a contested race.
“I’d be excited to be in a competitive race because I think it’s good for the community,” he said. “I’ve devoted virtually my entire career to public service and I’m committed to devoting my life to it.
“I think this would be a great opportunity to continue down that path.”