Craig Emily Tracy, a Breckenridge Democrat running for Colorado State Senate District 8, has spent years working in public policy.
But, it wasn’t until after moving to Canon City from Boulder to write for a weekly newspaper she realized she wanted to serve the public.
“I covered governmental meetings like city council, county commissioners and the school board on a part-time basis for about two years,” Tracy said. “It made me realize how interested I was in public policy and how much I wanted to sit in one of those chairs.”
Tracy decided to run for public office and was elected to two terms on the Canon City city council, a non-partisan office.
She used her eight years of experience to propel her into a variety of county and state positions, but spent the bulk of her career working for the Colorado Department of Human Services in child welfare, foster care and adoption.
After 10 years, Tracy ran for the Colorado House out of Canon City in 2002 and 2004.
She lost both campaigns, but didn’t walk away with nothing.
While on the campaign trail in 2002, Tracy met her husband, independent salesman Del Bush.
The two married three years later and moved to Breckenridge.
“I’m a lifelong Democrat and he is a staunch Republican, so we are forced to cross party lines every day at home,” Tracy said. “He calls himself my debate prep, but in all seriousness it has been beneficial to have him.
“So much of what goes on at the capitol is a battle, and it’s a partisan battle that doesn’t benefit anyone in the state.”
After much debate, legislators approved the reapportionment of some of the state’s district lines.
SD 8, which had historically been a Republican stronghold, now encompasses Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Grand, Mesa and Summit counties, making it much more evenly represented by Republicans, Democrats and independents, Tracy said.
“In 2008, the district didn’t exist the way it does today,” she said. “If you look at the presidential election, (President Barack) Obama won this area.
“I think a lot of people assume this is a rural, conservative district, but it is much more diverse after reapportionment, which is why I decided to get into the race.”
Last week, Tracy visited Craig for the first time since she announced her campaign in February, meeting with voters at Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave.
Tracy told local voters the issues facing the state are not partisan ones, but become so when the two major parties make it about winning rather than collaborating on well thought out solutions.
Tracy is fiscally conservative by nature, a proponent of the public school system and the rights of local government, and although she doesn’t like species lost to habitat destruction, Tracy believes there is a place for responsible energy development.
“Frankly, I have mixed feelings about legislation like Clean Air, Clean Jobs,” Tracy said. “I spent much of my life championing for the environment, but I’m also a rational and reasonable person.
“You can’t deny the environmental and health concerns associated with burning coal, even though our coal is much cleaner than eastern U.S. coal, but what bothers me are broad stroke rules that are made without any consideration to local residents and businesses.”