Longtime Grand County resident Paul Ohri announced Friday he will challenge Rep. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, for the District 8 Colorado Senate seat.
"I've been active in local politics and I always thought of this," Ohri said. "I thought we needed good representation and good choices for the people."
Ohri will seek the Democratic Party nomination at the party caucus April 11 for a chance to hold the seat being vacated by Sen. Dave Wattenberg, R-Walden. Wattenberg is being forced to relinquish his seat because of term limits.
Taylor is leaving the Colorado House also because of term limits and is seeking the District 8 Senate seat. Taylor and Ohri are the only two candidates to file their intentions with the Secretary of State so far.
District 8 covers seven Western Slope counties: Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle and Grand.
"There's a lot of interest in the northwest part of the state," Ohri said. "I really like it here and I want to be involved in the future of it."
Ohri, 54, has several years of political service under his belt. He served for 10 years as a Grand County commissioner and was voted the 1993 Colorado Commissioner of the year. He was a member of the West Grand County School Board for 10 years, six of which he was the board president.
Ohri is in is second term as president of the Colorado River District Board and served for several years on the National Association of Counties Public Lands subcommittee.
Growth, housing, education, water and transportation top Ohri's list of concerns for Northwest Colorado.
"We're at both ends of the growth spectrum," he said. "There are those near the I-70 corridor and in resort towns who are seeing fast growth where Jackson, Rio Blanco and Moffat County are seeing slow growth and may want to see more growth and more economic development."
Though a Republican holds the District 8 seat, Ohri is convinced a Democrat can be elected to the position and believes he has a good chance. According to Ohri, 62 percent of the voters in Colorado are not Republican.
Taylor is an incumbent in four of the seven counties District 8 covers and has the benefit of being well known, but Ohri believes he has a good chance against him and said he has much to offer.
"As a candidate, you should ask people what they see as issues and what they see as solutions," he said. "As a politician, you should do more listening than talking."