Steamboat resident seeks 3rd Congressional District seat
Gaylon Kent fulfills lifelong dream in pursuit of office
March 14, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Gaylon Kent has dreamed of running for Congress. He'll take the first step Friday.
Kent, a Steamboat Springs resident, will be at the Libertarian Party of Colorado convention this weekend in Aurora. He hopes to secure the nomination that would allow him to run for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, which includes Routt County.
"I have been a Libertarian all my life," Kent said. "In 1980, when I was a boy, I told my dad to vote for Ed Clark, who was a Libertarian running for president. I've wanted to run for Congress my entire life, and now is a good time to do it."
Kent will take part in a candidate forum Friday night, participate in convention activities Saturday and will have three minutes to introduce himself before delegates vote Sunday.
Joe Johnson, candidate coordinator for the Libertarian Party, said Kent and Greg Gilman, of Westcliffe, are the only two candidates who have expressed interest in the seat. Johnson said other nominations could take place at the convention.
Candidates need 30 percent of the vote to be placed on the June primary ballot or more than 50 percent of the vote without another candidate receiving 30 percent to be placed on the general election ballot in November.
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If he earns the nomination, Kent will oppose incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Cortez. Colorado House District 46 Rep. Sal Pace, a Pueblo Democrat, and businesswoman Tisha Casida, a Pueblo independent, also have announced they will challenge Tipton.
Kent, a Los Angeles native, moved with his wife, Marian, in August to Steamboat from Las Vegas, where he lived for 14 years. Kent said he had visited Steamboat for several years and always wanted to live here. He works at the front desks of the Ptarmigan Inn and the Quality Inn.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Kent was a member of the executive board for the American Legion BMI Post No. 40 in Henderson, Nev., from 2009 to 2011. He is a member of American Legion Post No. 44 in Steamboat.
Before arriving in Steamboat, Kent worked as a radio announcer, a newspaper reporter, a hotel security guard and a youth and adult sports official. He also is a writer, having self-published two novels and a memoir.
Kent, 46, said he thought the 3rd Congressional District seat might be vulnerable to a third-party candidate. With people's general dissatisfaction with government, he said, it might be the right time to challenge a freshman politician in a district that hasn't historically voted Republican or Democrat.
Kent also said he is running because he is worried about the economy. He said the biggest problem facing the country is the national debt and the annual deficit. If elected, Kent said he would propose a flat tax of 17 percent on personal income and corporate profits that would generate more revenue and simplify the tax code.
Kent admitted that he's still learning about issues in the 3rd Congressional District and that he hopes residents reach out to him.
"I want to know what's important to voters," he said. "I hope they'll take the time to call me if I get the nomination. I'm running for office in the federal government. I want to fix that, but obviously, I have to know what's going on locally. I'm really looking forward to finding out what's on people's minds, what's important to them, and figuring out each side of an issue."
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com