Wright overcomes internal affairs probe, wins HD54

In the beginning, Republican delegates at the House District 54 assembly were so impressed with Jared Wright that nearly 85 percent of them chose him to be their candidate for the Colorado Legislature.

Many of them had already decided not to support the incumbent, Rep. Laura Bradford, because of problems the Collbran Republican had during the 2012 legislative session, and were looking for someone else.

Wright said all the right things during his speech to the delegates, talking about being a fiscal conservative who opposes government bailouts.

“I’m going to stick to my words and to my integrity,” Wright told the delegates immediately after he was chosen over challenger Rusty Price. “I do promise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, something we don’t see in many of our representatives today. You will always have my ear, and my door will always be open.”

That was in March.

By August, Wright had resigned his five-year position as a Fruita police officer, issuing a statement saying he wanted to focus on the race, one that only had him running against a little-known Libertarian candidate who raised no money to campaign on, Tim Menger.

But The Daily Sentinel quickly discovered that Wright actually quit his job because he was under an internal affairs probe that questioned that integrity, saying he had a pattern of being late for work, repeatedly lying about it and jeopardizing fellow officers as a result.

Wright held a press conference to explain that issue, calling his former boss, Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo, a “vindictive little bureaucrat” when he followed the law and informed local defense attorneys about the internal affairs probe.

A few weeks later, the Sentinel discovered that Wright had other problems, too.

In 2011, the then 28-year-old filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after amassing more than $74,000 in debt.

Although Wright had told GOP leaders his bankruptcy was because of a bad economy created by Democratic President Barack Obama, Wright’s own court filings to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court showed they were personal debts.

Wright owed money to lenders, credit card companies and debt collectors for such things as a $26,000 1969 Chevy Camaro, $6,000 to Kay Jewelers and a $1,000-a-year membership at a local tanning salon.

As a result, numerous Republicans around the district called for him to step aside from the race to allow them to pick someone else. Wright refused.

Despite those issues, Wright won the seat in November, defeating Menger 59 percent to 41 percent.


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