State Sen. Ray Scott is running for Mesa County commissioner.
The Grand Junction Republican made that announcement late Friday, saying that with the pending loss of Commissioner Rose Pugliese, the county needs someone who has experience in dealing with the Colorado Legislature.
Scott, who is to run for the seat currently occupied by Commissioner John Justman, said because Justman and Pugliese are term limited in 2020, the county will lose some valuable experience on the commission. Both are in the middle of their second terms.
"I'm going to have 11 years of legislative experience, and I've dealt with thousands of issues," Scott said. "We need a very strong energy voice because we're going to be losing one of the commissioners who's heavily involved in oil and gas issues. When you have connections up and down the food chain all the way to Washington, D.C., that's very helpful to a county."
Scott, too, is facing term limits. He was re-elected to his second, and final term to the Colorado Senate last fall. And while that term doesn't expire until 2022, he won't be in a position to run again.
Scott was first elected to the Colorado House in 2010, where he served two terms before winning his first term in the Senate in 2014. In recent years, he has been in leadership for his party, serving a two-year stint as assistant majority leader when Republicans controlled the Senate, and now is minority whip.
At least for now, there are two others in the race: Mesa County contractor Cody Davis, a former chair of the Grand Valley Drainage District board of directors, and Michael Day, who ran a failed bid for county treasurer last year.
For Scott, going from the state Legislature to a county commission isn't unusual. Numerous state lawmakers have left their legislative posts to take positions in their home counties.
Scott said his greatest concern for Mesa County is what's happening at the state level.
"The other side of the aisle has kind of pierced the state and taken control everything at that level," Scott said. "Will they start to drift into the county level and get more and more control of us? I don't know, but I've got some concerns that if we don't get good, strong leadership at the county level they could try to have more impact on counties."