Commish to run for House seat
Acquafresca previously served in state Legislature in early to mid-1990s
Steve Acquafresca will run for the Colorado House seat being vacated by Rep. Ray Scott, the Mesa County commissioner told fellow Republicans on Friday.
Unlike other candidates who have vied for the seat in recent years, Acquafresca is unique in that he’s already served in the Colorado House.
When the now Grand Junction 62-year-old peach grower lived in Cedaredge, where he ran an apple orchard, he represented House District 58, which at the time stretched from eastern Delta County to the Four Corners.
He served three terms, getting elected in 1990 and leaving in 1997.
Acquafresca, who’s served on the county commission since 2007 but can’t run again because of term limits, said he has lots of options that he could do after his time on the board ends next year.
But because of several pressing issues, including fears of more water grabs by the Front Range, Acquafresca said he decided the time was right to return to the Colorado Legislature.
“One of the most compelling issues that causes me to announce my candidacy is the fact that the governor has ordered a state water plan to be developed,” he said of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s May announcement that he wants that plan completed by December 2014.
“When we’ve heard that in the past, it’s generally not a good thing for the West Slope, where 80 percent of the water originates yet the Front Range has 80 percent of the population,” Acquafresca said at the monthly Mesa County Republican Party luncheon at Two Rivers Convention Center. “It is anticipated that legislation will result from that plan in the 2015 session. I want to be over in the 2015 session defending West Slope water rights.”
Acquafresca said there aren’t enough people currently serving in the statehouse who worked in local government, saying state legislators could learn a thing or two about drafting budgets, cutting spending and serving the needs of Coloradans without making more demands on them, such as increasing their taxes.
He said the General Assembly needs to adopt a “downsizing spirit” to accomplish its goals.
“We’re really losing the ability to determine our own future over there,” Acquafresca said. “The fact that us Republicans have lost the majority in the Colorado House of Representatives is a big part of the reason why we’re losing the ability to determine our own future, and that’s what I want to turn around.”
Currently, the Democrats control the 65-member House 37-28 and the Senate 18-17. Scott’s seat will become vacant because the two-term representative announced in the summer that he will run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, who is running for Mesa County Sheriff.
Current Sheriff Stan Hilkey is term-limited and cannot run again.
To date, no Democrat has announced plans to run for the House seat, which primarily encompasses the city of Grand Junction.