Craig resident runs for state legislature |

Craig resident runs for state legislature

Lee Harstad

A Craig businessman has thrown his hat into the political ring and is campaigning to become a member of the Colorado House of Representatives in District 57.

Kirk Schott, a Craig optometrist, is attempting to take over the seat held by Speaker of the House Russell George. George is prohibited from running for re-election due to term limits.

Schott, a Republican, officially began his quest for the seat in the state Legislature on Sept. 1.

Schott has lived in Moffat County for more than 16 years and is the chairman of the Moffat County Republican Party. Due to party bylaws, running for the seat in District 57 means having to resign as chairman.

After serving on the Moffat County Land Use Commission for four years, including a term as president of commission, Schott has been involved in land-use issues. He has honed his leadership skills in the Scouting community, having served as district chairman for eight years.

Schott believes in less government intervention in many matters, but does want to see involvement in some issues including a “reasonable tax system.”

“The principles of the Republican Party are fair taxation and less government intervention. Right now, the state takes in more money than allowed,” Schott said. “We are having to refund a lot of that money. We have to look and see if it is feasible not to collect it in the first place. If we can lower taxes, let’s do it.”

Another platform in Schott’s campaign is the idea of better transit in the area.

“State funding for transportation not too many years ago was about twice the percentage of what it is now,” Schott said. “Now it is about 6 percent of the state budget. It has been cut a lot and some of our roads show that.

“In many of these issues we just need to use some common sense.”

He has asked all people of House District 57, regardless of political affiliation, to join his campaign for common sense government.

Another policy Schott wants to focus on is educational funding.

“We need adequate funding for children’s education,” he said.

By using a grass-roots campaign, Schott believes he can better relate to the public through a door-to-door campaign. Though it is still early in the campaign, Schott has traveled extensively in the district, seeking support and speaking mainly with people involved in politics. He is planning meetings in every county within District 57 and is looking forward to resident participation.

House District 57 encompasses the northwest corner of Colorado. It consists of Moffat and Rio Blanco counties plus major portions of Garfield and Pitkin counties. Major communities in the district include Craig, Glenwood Springs, Meeker, Rangely, Rifle and Snowmass. The district is one of the largest in Colorado and the population is socially diverse.

Through his experience, Schott believes in protecting the rights of district residents.

“I am committed to putting my years of community activism and successful business experience to work at the Capitol for Northwest Colorado,” Schott said. “My goals, once elected, are to protect the economic interests of the region and improve our state highways, while directing a portion of the state surplus back to our local roads. I also intend to work for educational reform to provide adequate funding for our schools so that classrooms can be modernized and repaired. I am equally committed to protecting the agricultural and tourism industries and other interests of our rural citizens.”

Clearing the first hurdle in the campaign means being delegated through the Republican caucus. In order for a candidate to have a name on the primary ballot, the caucus must support that candidate. Following the primary election is the general election, in which the general public will vote to decide who will be the next representative.

The primary election is on the second Tuesday in August 2000. As of now, Schott is running unopposed.