Democrats in Weld County selected Dave Young, a former Greeley school teacher and president of the county teacher’s union in the 1980s, as the new state representative in HD 50, which encompasses eastern Greeley, Garden City and the City of Evans. He replaces former Democratic state Rep. Jim Riesberg, who resigned the seat in late June after being appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper as the state’s commissioner of insurance.
Young said he intends to give up his current position as a faculty member of CU-Denver’s online education program in order to serve at the district.
Young defeated Ken Storck, a former prosecutor and 2010 candidate for the state senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Refroe, at the vacancy committee meeting Thursday night. The election was conducted by secret ballot and a simple majority was needed for victory. County Chairman David Delgado announced at the meeting that Young had received the necessary 50 percent-plus-one margin to win the appointment but did not provide more specific results.
“Jim Riesberg has been a passionate and dedicated representative for us, and I promise to continue in his tradition of being a voice for the vulnerable,” Young said afterwards.
Besides the two big issues of jobs and the economy, Young said he plans to focus on education when he gets to the legislature. A former math and science teacher at one of the district’s middle schools, Young stressed the importance of education and said it should not be jeopardized by an ailing economy.
“Creating local jobs that pay a living wage and protecting schools should be the focus of every representative,” Young said.
Young has higher education degrees from UC-Denver and Colorado State University, and has been a resident of HD 50 since 1975. The new state representative, who will have to stand for election in 2012, told vacancy committee members that he’d be willing to move if reapportionment puts him outside of the district boundaries.
Young was described by Delgado as a passionate advocate for the developmentally disabled, and volunteers as a webmaster for the National Organization to End the Waitlists. He also volunteers for the Poudre River Trail Corridor.
Riesberg commented that his successor will fight to bring good jobs to the community. “Fighting for working families and creating opportunity for children takes dedication, and Rep. Young has that dedication,” Riesberg said.
— Ashley Chase Sinclair