Coram eyes Roberts’ Senate seat

Ellen Roberts

State Sen. Ellen Roberts, a Durango Republican, has announced that she will resign from her southwest Colorado district seat at the end of this year.

That decision leaves open an opportunity for local state Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, to move into the Colorado Senate, something he said he planned to seek when a vacancy committee is formed early next year.

Coram, who’s running for his fourth and final term in the Colorado House in this year’s elections, said while he and Roberts don’t always agree on all issues, they are similar legislators.

“Ellen’s been there 10 years, four in the House and six in the Senate, and she has a great deal of institutional knowledge,” Coram said. “We’ve had a couple of issues that we have not agreed on, but our relationship has never been disagreeable. I’m going to miss her.”

In a statement to the Durango Herald, Roberts said she was leaving the seat, which stretches from Montrose to Montezuma counties, because she wanted to focus on family and her private law practice.

“I am looking forward to new work possibilities that will build on my past legal practice and my legislative experience and that will allow me to spend more time at home, with my family and friends, in the best area of the great state of Colorado that a person could live in,” she said in a statement.

The departure of Roberts, who is president pro-tem of the Senate, means the Republicans will lose all of their top leaders. Current Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, and Majority Leader Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, are both term-limited and can’t return next year.

Currently, the Republicans hold a one-vote majority in the 35-member Senate.

Roberts’ resignation will be effective on Dec. 31, and the GOP central committee for her seat, Senate District 6, will have 15 days to chose a replacement.

Coram said he doesn’t expect the committee to meet until Jan. 14, meaning the seat won’t have a representative when the 2017 session of the Colorado Legislature convenes on Jan. 11.

Essentially, the district comprises two House districts, which currently are represented by Coram in House District 58, and Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, in House District 59.

For now, Brown has not expressed any interest in Roberts’ seat, but that could change. Currently, he’s in the midst of a tough re-election bid against Democrat Barbara McLachlan, the wife of former Rep. Michael McLachlan, to whom Brown lost the seat in 2012, but later reclaimed it in 2014.


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