KC Becker selected to replace Claire Levy in House

The Colorado Statesman

KC Becker, a Boulder city councilwoman, will be the next state representative in House District 13, which includes part of Boulder County and all of Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand and Jackson counties.

Becker was selected by a vacancy committee in Idaho Springs on Oct. 19 to replace Rep. Claire Levy, who is resigning at the end of the month to become executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a Denver-based research and advocacy group. Levy’s resignation takes effect Oct. 31; Becker will be sworn in soon thereafter.

The decision for Becker to throw her name into consideration was easy, considering she had already filed paperwork to run for Levy’s seat in 2014 after the longtime legislator would have been term limited.

KC Becker, the newly elected representative from HD 13.

“I have been serving on the city council in Boulder, and I have really enjoyed that, but I decided most of the things that I’m most passionate about require being at the state level to make an impact,” Becker told The Colorado Statesman.

She emphasized that she will make education funding, poverty and climate change priorities for her in the upcoming session that begins in January.

Becker was one of three Democrats vying for the seat. She ended up defeating Tad Kline, Levy’s former campaign manager, and George Clark, an Evergreen engineer.

Kline, who sits on the 35-member vacancy committee, recused himself from voting.
Clark was eliminated because he received the fewest votes in the first round. The second round gave the victory to Becker, who received 17 votes to Kline’s 12.

“I’m thrilled and honored that the political leadership in HD 13 selected me,” Becker said in a statement shortly after the vote.

She acknowledged that she did not have the endorsement of Levy, who instead supported Kline.

“That’s her prerogative,” said Becker. “I just tried to run my own race.

“Claire has done an excellent job for the people of HD 13, and I will do my best to continue her legacy of public service, and to be a great representative for the people in my district and the people of Colorado,” she added.

Becker knows that she has big shoes to fill in replacing Levy, whose seven years in office have included important work around criminal justice, the underserved and safety. Levy was also a member of the powerful Joint Budget Committee.

“She did a great job, she’s really well respected, and I hope to benefit from some mentorship there, but I also think that each legislator brings their own ideas,” explained Becker. “It will be hard to fill her shoes, but I’ll also be bringing my own strengths.”

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said he is looking forward to bringing Becker into the caucus.

“KC has a great background and excellent reputation, having made a strong impression in her previous endeavors and Boulder County politics,” Ferrandino said. “I’m confident she’ll be a great addition to our caucus, and look forward to serving with her in the statehouse.”

“I’ve known KC for several years now, and I think very highly of her,” added Democratic Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, whose district includes part of Boulder. “It’s terrific that House District 13 will continue to be represented by a strong woman.”

Becker, 43, is in the final year of a four-year term on the Boulder City Council, where she was the council’s representative on the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority and was the city’s representative to the Denver Regional Council of Governments. Before that she worked for the Department of the Interior for six years, notably on public land issues in Colorado and Wyoming.

Becker has a law degree from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., and a master’s from the Burns School of Real Estate at the University of Denver’s Sturm School of Business. She also spent two years in the real estate business.

Becker and her husband, Miles Kunkel, have two young children.

In campaigning for the open seat, Becker promised to govern “with common sense solutions that work toward progressive goals of economic, environmental, and social sustainability.”

She sees the goals of the legislature as:

• Championing innovative energy solutions to protect the climate and water;

• Investing in the state’s educational system and improve schools;

• Promoting forest health mitigating the increasing risk of catastrophic fire;

• Working for a vibrant Colorado economy and strengthen the safety net for the working poor;

• Fixing crumbling roads and infrastructure; and

• Addressing needed state constitutional reform.

Becker said she has not yet finalized specific ideas for legislation in the upcoming session, adding that she first wants to speak with stakeholders and constituents.

“I have young children, and I’m invested in the long-term health of Colorado — that’s really why I decided to run,” said Becker.

She agrees that life under the Gold Dome can be a bit chaotic, with many political and institutional pressures. But Becker believes she has the tools to get the job done in the face of potential gridlock.

“I’m always someone who tries to work to find common ground,” she said. “I, as much as possible, always want to be working with people and not against people. That’s just my general approach… I’ll just keep trying to do that.”

Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, hailed the selection.

“Whether through sustainable communities, environmental law, or affordable housing, KC Becker has made herself an expert on issues incredibly important to Colorado,” said Palacio. “I am excited that she will be a party of our Democratic majority.”