Glenwood Springs’ Bob Rankin to run for HD 57 seat on pro business platform

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Bob Rankin announced Friday his candidacy for the District 57 seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. The Roaring Fork Valley resident is centering his campaign on economic development through free market capitalism.

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“The most important criteria is to provide job growth through the private free market. Jobs are not created by the government, but by farmers, ranchers and small businessmen.”

Bob Rankin — Colorado House District 57 candidate about his intent to run on a platform centered on free market capitalism

A Glenwood Springs man Friday announced his candidacy for the District 57 seat in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Bob Rankin, 69, said he is a small government conservative who will be running on a platform centered on free market capitalism.

“The most important criteria is to provide job growth through the private free market,” Rankin said. “Jobs are not created by the government, but by farmers, ranchers and small businessmen.”

Rankin is an electrical engineer. He received his degree in the field from Mississippi State University, and spent more than 30 years in the defense electronics industry.

He has served in high-level executive positions with two large companies, including vice-president of Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp., the aerospace and defense arm of Ford Motor Company, before it was sold to Loral Corporation in 1990, and as division president with Computer Sciences Corporation, an international technology company headquartered in Falls Church, Va., with more than 97,000 employees in the U.S., Australia, Asia and Europe.

Rankin and his wife of 40 years, Joyce, have settled into the small-town lifestyle in the Roaring Fork Valley, where they have resided since 1996.

Rankin said the first thing that comes to mind when he hears words like “small business” are the farmers and ranchers that dot House District 57’s landscape.

“In this area, small business means farming and ranching,” he said. “I want to do everything I can to support job growth, the economy and prosperity through small business.”

In addition to running on economic development through the small business sector, Rankin, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, said he also believes in responsible energy development.

“I don’t believe government should favor one source of energy over another, nor do I believe that government should subsidize its favorite form of energy,” Rankin said. “I think we are going to depend on fossil fuels for a long time into the future for the majority of our energy needs while the technology for renewable energy is being developed.”

Rankin concedes he’s late getting into politics, but said he’s far from a political rookie.

In 2010, he made a bid for the state Senate District 5 seat.

Although his first run at public office was a losing one, he said he believes his campaign made an impression on voters.

Rankin battled incumbent Democrat Gail Schwartz in one of the most contested races in the state that year. The race was separated by 642 votes, as Schwartz edged out Rankin, 50.6 percent to 49.3 percent, to secure another term.

Rankin said he believes in public service and that it’s every American’s duty to support the country and government, but he wasn’t sure about a run for public office in 2012.

“For a long time, my corner of Garfield County had been split off from the rest and was a part of House District 61,” he said. “It was a bit of a surprise when the last reapportionment came out allowing me to run in (HD) 57.”

Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, currently represents HD 57.

Because district lines were redrawn, Baumgardner announced last month he would not seek re-election in 2012, which paved the way for Rankin’s bid.

Baumgardner is vying for the District 8 Senate seat currently held by incumbent Jean White, R-Hayden.

“I know Randy and he was very supportive when I was running for state senate (in 2010),” Rankin said. “I would say we’re on friendly terms for sure, and I hope he supports me.”

Baumgardner could not be reached for comment Friday.

In addition to Friday’s announcement, Rankin said he would be hosting a public event at the Glenwood Springs Courthouse, 804 Pitkin Ave., sometime in the next two weeks.

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