Glenwood audience receptive to Curry move
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — State Rep. Kathleen Curry faced little criticism during a town hall meeting Tuesday night over her recent decision to leave the Democratic Party and become an independent.
Some 30 people, including members of both parties, attended the Glenwood Springs event, and many broke out in applause at one person’s comment that a lot of people support the Gunnison lawmaker.
“I just want to congratulate you on becoming an independent. I think that’s remarkable. It’s a wonderful thing to see,” Michael Gibson said.
Said Curry, “I know I’ve taken a risk here but I feel like it was a matter of integrity for me, and honesty.”
She said she struggled with the partisan emphasis at the legislature and decided she would be better off spending less time on party matters and more on issues and legislation, and representing the constituents of her diverse district at the Capitol.
“I know it’s caused a bit of a dust-up, but that will pass and we’ll get back to work and I promise you I will not just be warming a seat down there,” she said.
She said her vote will continue to be important, as there are likely to be a lot of 33-32 decisions in the state House of Representatives next year as it works though budgetary and other bills.
Curry’s split with the Democrats cost her her position as speaker pro tem, but House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, said Tuesday she’ll keep her seats on the Agriculture and Appropriations committees.
Margi Hilleary of Glenwood Springs expressed disappointment Tuesday that Curry had left the Democratic Party.
“I guess I’m one of the few people here who are really sorry you’ve changed,” Hilleary said.
She said Democrats fought hard for their gains in the legislature.
“We have our torchbearers and not enough of them,” Hilleary said.
“In a way, it looks like you’re telling me that not having these positions of leadership is going to put you in a position to serve us better?” she asked.
Curry said she believes that’s the case. She said she’d be willing to re-evaluate her decision if she learns she can’t be effective.
“I’m hopeful and optimistic that that would not happen,” she said. “But we’ll have to see how it goes. No one’s ever done this before. I can’t forecast the end result.”
In an interview, Curry said she’s been surprised at the amount of encouragement she received in Glenwood Springs and Saturday at a Gunnison meeting in the wake of her decision.
“I didn’t honestly know there was that much support out there,” she said.