Commissioner announces bid to return to Statehouse

Steve Aquafresca, Mesa County Commissioner
Steve Aquafresca, Mesa County Commissioner

Kelly Sloan, The Business Times

Steve Aquafresca has announced a bid to return to the Colorado Legislature following two terms as Mesa County Commissioner.

Aquafresca plans to seek the nomination as the Republican candidate in District 55 in the Colorado House of Representatives.

The announcement is the latest in a series by local officials seeking election to different offices.

House District 55, which includes most of Grand Junction, is currently represented by State Rep. Ray Scott, also a Republican. But Scott has announced plans to run in Senate District 7. State Sen. Steve King, a Republican who represents that district, expects to run for Mesa County sheriff.

Aquafresca will complete his second term as Mesa County Commissioner next year, but can’t run again because of term limits.

He previously served three terms in the Colorado House, representing District 58 from 1990 to 1997.

In announcing his bid during the monthly Mesa County Republican luncheon in Grand Junction, Aquafresca said he’s “deeply troubled” by much of what he sees going on in the Legislature. He said he’s concerned people in Western Colorado are “losing the ability to determine our own future.”

Aquafresca said that are “no shortage of issues” and he hopes to be a voice for businesses at the Capitol. “The business community has been wholly under-represented given that the Republican Party has lost the majority in both houses, along with the governor’s office,” Aquafresca said.

But the biggest issue that motivated him to want to return to the Legislature, he said, is a state water plan proposed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“Eighty percent of Colorado’s water originates on the West Slope and the Front Range accounts for 80 percent of its use,” Aquafresca said. “Legislation will likely result from this water plan in 2015, and I want to be there to defend the Western Slope’s water rights.”

Aquafresca said his experiences as a county commissioner will serve him well as a state representative.