Democrats advance to primary in race to represent revamped Colorado House District 57

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Two Democrats will face off in Colorado’s June 28 primary election for the right to challenge incumbent Republican state Rep. Perry Will in the redesigned 57 House District.

Both Cole Buerger and Elizabeth Velasco emerged with enough Democratic Party assembly delegates from multiple counties on Friday to advance to the primary round.

Cole Burger

Buerger took first place on the ballot, winning 52.7% of the delegates’ vote at the assembly.



“I am humbled by the support I received during the caucus and assembly process,” said Buerger, a Garfield County native who now lives in Glenwood Springs.

“We’ve built a strong coalition of delegates from all sides because we’ve worked hard to come out and listen to constituent concerns and learn about the issues that matter to the people of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.”



Elizabeth Velasco

Velasco, also from Glenwood Springs, said she was excited to move on to primary.

“I will continue the work of listening to our community and look forward to uplifting our rural values ​​at the State Capitol,” she said.

HD57 was redrawn during last year’s legislative redistricting process to encompass all of Garfield and Pitkin counties, plus a small portion of Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The old district boundary included Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties, which Will has represented since his nomination in early 2019 to replace Bob Rankin, who moved to the state Senate.

Will, of New Castle, won the official election for the seat in 2020 against Democrat Colin Wilhelm of Glenwood Springs. He is uncontested for the Republican nomination ahead of the November election.

Buerger originally filed last year to run for the 3rd congressional district seat, but dropped out of that race to seek the State House seat instead.

“I have the experience to represent everyone in our district,” he said. “I will show up anywhere and listen to anyone, even if we don’t agree on everything, because this race is about bringing people together to tackle the challenges facing HD57 and the western part of the world. Colorado, not to advance ideological agendas.” Across the new district, Buerger said he found consensus on fundamental issues such as housing and health care affordability, water and environmental protection, and rebuilding infrastructure.

Valesco has been a small business owner in Eagle County for more than 20 years and in 2020 helped with the public information response to the Grizzly Creek Fire and other wildfires that summer, especially within the Latin American community.

“Like so many in our community, I had to work hard to allow myself to continue living here,” she said. “With rising costs for everything from housing and food to gas and insurance, our families and communities need more support than ever as we recover from the pandemic.

Valesco owns and operates an interpretation and translation business, through which it assists residents with medical and legal issues and works with families whose children attend public schools.

“I will work with our teachers, our parents and our children to fight for every child on the Western Slope to receive a world-class education and to ensure that every teacher is paid what they deserve and can afford to live where they are. teaches,” she said.

The HD57 primary will be one of two major primaries for Garfield and Pitkin county Democrats and unaffiliated voters who choose to vote in the Democratic primary. Several Democrats are vying for the nomination to run for the 3rd congressional district seat now held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Silt.

Montrose Republican and current state Rep. Don Coram plans to present a primary ballot petition to challenge Boebert for the Republican nomination in the 3rd District.

Unaffiliated registered voters who do not request one or the other will receive both a Republican and Democratic primary ballot in June, but will be able to vote only one.

Senior Reporter/Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or [email protected]

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