Panel appoints Parks and Wildlife supervisor Perry Will to HD 57 seat | CraigDailyPress.com

Panel appoints Parks and Wildlife supervisor Perry Will to HD 57 seat

Thomas Phippen/Glenwood Post Independent

Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will in 2011. Will was appointed to represent District 57 in the Colorado State House Feb. 5.

A Republican Party vacancy panel Tuesday appointed Perry Will of New Castle to fill the Colorado House District 57 seat vacated by now state Sen. Bob Rankin in January.

Will, a supervisor with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, was appointed during a meeting of the committee in Meeker Tuesday morning.

The panel of six took two ballots before Will received a majority of the votes over three other contenders, including Joyce Rankin, wife of Sen. Rankin and a current member of the state Board of Education.

“The vacancy committee has conducted a transparent process for selection of the House District 57 seat,” Philip Vaughan, chairman of the Republican House District 57 Vacancy Committee, said in a statement. “We are excited to have Perry Will as our new state representative and look forward to his representation in this important legislative session.”

Will intends to retire from CPW to avoid conflicts of interest while serving in the legislature.

"I'm all about representing rural Colorado," Will said in an interview Monday. "My entire life has been spent in small towns. I understand the issues with school funding, rural hospitals, roads and health insurance. I don't want to see any rural areas of Colorado left out of anything," he said.

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Will said his 40 years with CPW and its predecessor the Division of Wildlife has given him a good knowledge of how state agencies work, not just with regards to wildlife, but from the perspective of water, conservation and agricultural interests.

Working for a state agency has also given him an understanding of how government budgets work, Will said.

Before the meeting Tuesday, three other candidates had considered submitting their name to be considered for the seat. In addition to Joyce Rankin, Ninth District prosecuting attorney Zachary Parsons and Meeker business owner and former Rio Blanco County commissioner Shawn Bolton also put their names forward.

Bob Rankin left the 57th district vacancy when he was selected to replace former state Sen. Randy Baumgardner in January, representing Senate District 8.