Congrats on a solid public-sector career
Bernie Buescher’s fish-out-of-water political narrative is full of narrow losses. One wonders how things might have played out had he applied the political calculus of a party switch early on in his career as an elected official.
Instead he was the Democrat from a GOP stronghold who managed to persevere against long odds. He built a career on doing right by his constituents and working well on both sides of the aisle.
Case in point. He was an applicant for president of Mesa State College. And though he didn’t get the job, he worked with the man who did, Tim Foster, to advance the college (now Colorado Mesa University) through legislative action.
He’s best known for representing Grand Junction in the Colorado House of Representatives, ascending to the chair of the powerful Joint Budget Committee.
He was on track to be speaker of the House, when he narrowly lost to Laura Bradford in 2008.
By then he was firmly established as a well-liked and effective leader. He was appointed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter to serve as secretary of state when Republican Mike Coffman resigned the office after winning a seat in Congress.
Buescher lost the secretary of state’s race to Republican Scott Gessler in 2010, but in a testament to Buescher’s bipartisan laurels, he was hired by GOP Attorney General John Suthers as deputy attorney general for state services. Ironically, that put him in charge of Gessler’s staff of lawyers.
Now, at the age of 65, he’s leaving state government. But he’s made it clear he’s not retiring. For now, he’ll do some traveling with his wife and after a few months will consider the next phase of his life.
Hopefully, it will include some work with the local Democratic Party, which could use help in recruiting candidates for local office. We wouldn’t mind seeing Buescher throw his hat in the ring for county commissioner or a seat on the city council somewhere down the line.
Buescher, a lawyer by training, is a Grand Junction native who can — and will — sing the Grand Junction High fight song. He once took newly minted Gov. Bill Ritter to a GJHS basketball game at the not-so-new GJHS gym. He’s served as president of West Star Aviation, Inc., and understands the economic forces at play in the Grand Valley.
Whether he’s interested in resurrecting his career in politics at the local level remains to be seen. But he’s obviously a political asset who understands the art of compromise.
In the meantime, we offer Buescher best wishes and heartfelt thanks for his service to Mesa County and the state of Colorado.