Jean White speaks Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse during her speech detailing why she should be chosen to replace her husband, Al White, in the state senate. Jean was appointed to the seat and will serve the remaining two years of White’s term.

Photo by Brian Smith

Jean White speaks Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse during her speech detailing why she should be chosen to replace her husband, Al White, in the state senate. Jean was appointed to the seat and will serve the remaining two years of White’s term.

Jean White appointed to state senate

Hayden Republican to serve in husband’s place

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Jean White signs her designation of nomination by the vacancy committee Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse after being selected to replace her husband, Al, in the state senate. Al was recently chosen to lead the Colorado Tourism Office and will step down from the senate on Jan. 11.

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Al White

Reader poll

How do you feel State Sen. Al White performed during his 10 years in the state legislature?

  • Excellent. White worked as hard as he could for his constituents. 39%
  • Good. White worked hard, but could have done more. 14%
  • Mediocre. White wasn't aggressive enough. 13%
  • Poorly. White didn't serve the area's interests. 28%
  • Undecided 6%

175 total votes.

After five hours of proceedings and five rounds of voting, Jean White’s heart was racing in anticipation of the committee’s decision.

But, with the phrase “White: four,” she said her heart stopped, only to be restarted by the crowd’s applause Monday inside the Moffat County Courthouse in Craig signaling her appointment to the state senate.

“I’m speechless, frankly,” the 60-year-old Hayden Republican said between congratulations from the audience. “It’ll take a while to sink in, but I don’t have much time to think about it — I’ve got to get to work. A week from Wednesday is the swearing-in and I need to be ready to go.”

Jean replaces her husband of more that three decades, Al, in the Colorado State Senate’s Eighth District.

She secured the four votes from a Republican vacancy committee by its seven present members.

Jean competed against five other candidates for the position.

The other applicants were former Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson; former Third Congressional Dis-

trict candidate and Steamboat Springs resident Bob McConnell; Jeff Fry, of Hayden; Shannon Stowe, of Glenwood Springs; and Kay Meyring, of Walden.

Al will be named director of the Colorado Tourism Office on Jan. 11 and Jean will serve the remaining two years of his term.

White said she was honored to be chosen from a “wonderful” field of candidates and was grateful for the competition and interest in the seat.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be a slam dunk,” she said. “I am happy with what the outcome was, of course, and I think it was a great process.”

However, Jean felt she was the right choice for the seat based on her “working knowledge” of the district, including the issues, industries and concerns of its constituents.

“More importantly, all of that traveling in the district has provided me with relationships with … elected officials, commissioners, community leaders — these are the people a legislator needs to call on when things need to get done at the legislature,” she said to the vacancy committee.

Jean also mentioned that her service helping Al during his career in the legislature would better prepare her for the appointment.

“That has put me in close touch with the … legislative process and I’m telling you folks, there are a lot of moving parts (in) the legislative process,” she said. “It takes a long time to learn those ropes.”

Both of those aspects, she said, gave her a “clear advantage” over a “freshman” senator.

“I do feel that I have the most experience in the district and under the dome,” she said. “I can hit the ground running so that we can have solid representation at the capitol from day one.”

Jean fielded several questions from the committee, including her thoughts on the state’s budget, natural resources, energy development and tourism.

She said the key to getting the state’s economy on track is supporting small business and “not making it harder for them to succeed.”

Tourism, she added, is “critical to our business environment and to jumpstart our economy,” and energy development is the “heart and soul” of the district.

Jean said she would be able to balance the diverse issues presented to her in both the legislature and from within the district.

“There are always fights down at the state capitol where one industry gets pitted against another,” she said. “We saw it last year with (Colorado House Bill 10-) 1365 pitting the coal industry against the natural gas industry and that was a painful deal to watch.”

In her closing speech to the vacancy committee, Jean said she would be a senator who would “work across the aisle and work across the divide.”

“I have been here a long, long time,” Jean said. “But, today what I want to wrap up with is that for the … past 10 years I have traveled this district extensively and I have attended hundreds of community meetings in every single county in this great district. I have toured coal mines, I have toured the power plant, I have put in the time in the district. On the other side of the mountain, I have put in the time down there, too.”

John Ponikvar, Moffat County Central Republican Committee Chairman, said he was pleased with Jean’s appointment.

“I think she’ll get down there and she’ll do a very good job for us,” he said. “She has the ability to hit the ground running (and) to be effective immediately. In the end, I think the committee made a good decision.”

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Comments

taxslave 3 years, 9 months ago

Look at that evil woman. If her husband was so great how come you got the clean air act that's taking your jobs. Colorado is in a mess, all of it, and look who has been in charge all these years. Think about that for one moment. Even locally, same players, always.

Here an appointment, there an appointment. Don't you get it, there is no election. "they" put their people in position. Think major betrayal, a con job on a massive scale.

Take time to view the truth of the american dream.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv2oCXbW4r0&feature=player_embedded

Those who joke about info on youtube and other outlets of information, rather than main stream, are disinfo agents or dumber than a rock.

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jeff corriveau 3 years, 9 months ago

Business, as usual, for the Republicans. Just a reminder that the "good ole boy (and girl)" network is alive and well. If Mrs. Danner, OUR Commissioner, had been paying more attention to the applicants and NOT READING HER EMAIL, she might have recognized the strengths of the other applicants!!! This was as much a political inside job as anything that goes on in Washinton DC! Shame!!!

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oliver21 3 years, 9 months ago

Better her than T. Wright......one of the commissioners who pillaged our coffers.

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GreyStone 3 years, 9 months ago

Great that Jean White was able to be given her husband, Al White’s job keeping the business, line of succession, in the family… the family that governs together, grows together and more wealthy, perpetuating the great governing class in Colorado.

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DAILYREADER 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope she is not going to be a clone of her husband in the senate. He not only stated to all in a letter that he was obligated to the budget committee, did not mention his constitutants who elected him, and in voting for tax and "fee" increases turned his back on every senior in Colorado.

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