Editor's note: After press time, BW received notification that one of the candidates described in the story below, Zane Laubhan, decided to bow out of the race. In an Oct. 9 email message, House District 13 Central Committee Secretary Celeste Landry said that Laubhan, "after consultation with several people and personal reflection, decided today to withdraw from consideration for the HD13 vacancy."
Two more individuals have thrown their hats into the ring to succeed House Rep. Claire Levy.
George Clark of Evergreen, a retired engineer who worked for the federal government and now does management consulting, and Zane Laubhan, the Gilpin County coroner and director of the Gilpin Ambulance Authority, have applied to be considered by the vacancy committee for House District 13.
They join Boulder City Council member KC Becker and Levy’s former legislative aide and campaign manager, Tad Kline.
The vacancy committee will meet at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Buffalo Restaurant and Bar in Idaho Springs to select Levy’s replacement.
Levy announced recently that she would be stepping down on Oct. 31, more than a year before her final term ends, to take a job as executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. The vacancy committee must appoint someone to serve out the rest of Levy’s term within a 20-day window before her last day.
Kline sits on that 35-member committee and has said he has no plans to recuse himself from voting on the appointment, even though he is one of the candidates.
The two newcomers to the field agreed they’d abstain from voting if they were in the same situation.
When asked if he serves on the vacancy committee as well, Laubhan told BW, “No, and if I were, I’d recuse myself. … There’s only a conflict of interest if you create it.”
Similarly, when asked about the situation, Clark says, “I can only tell you what I would do if I were in that situation. I would recuse myself. That’s the way I’m wired. But I don’t want to add to that fire; it is what it is.”
Clark, who sits on several regional boards and ran unsuccessfully for Clear Creek County commissioner last year, describes himself as a collaborator and a lifelong public servant with special interest in veterans affairs and public and mental health issues. He says he aligns with Levy on most issues, and his priorities are education, especially early education, the environment and natural resources. A proponent of local control, he says he would work to balance renewable energy with oil and gas, improve health care in his county and address the seemingly never-ending I-70 congestion problem.
“For me, it’s all about service,” Clark says. “It’s just an opportunity to cast a broader net and be able to address some of these issues at the state level.”
Laubhan, who has been a paramedic in Colorado for 30 years, serves on several state and regional medical advisory groups and has been Gilpin coroner for nine years. Like Clark, he says his life has been devoted to public service since he served on a state water conservation board at age 17.
He said he would continue Levy’s agenda as well, including pushing for a bill to create a peer review system for the emergency services field, similar to the evaluations conducted in other disciplines that protect the identity of reviewers and weed out emergency responders whose skills are weak. Unlike any of the other candidates, Laubhan has pledged to only serve out Levy’s term and not run in next year’s primary.
He also says he has not only testified on about 20 pieces of legislation at the state Capitol, he’s helped draft four bills.
“How many times have KC, Tad or George testified at the Capitol?” Laubhan asks.
According to an Oct. 5 email from HD 13 Central Committee Secretary Celeste Landry, all four prospective candidates will be interviewed on KYGT radio in Idaho Springs on Oct. 12 from 3 to 4 p.m. by vacancy committee member Jerry Fabyanic. The interviews can be heard online at that time at kygt.org, and a recording should be posted by Oct. 15.