Republican Olen Lund, a lifetime resident of the North Fork Valley and a former county commissioner, is challenging Democrat Kerry Donovan in Senate District 5.
Lund is one of three Delta County residents seeking state office in November. Matt Soper is a candidate in House District 54; Mike Mason is the GOP candidate for House District 61. Soper notes that for the first time ever, a resident of Delta, a resident of Paonia and a resident of Cedaredge are running for the Colorado General Assembly in the same election.
Lund entered the race just days before the Republican State Assembly in mid-April, and is in the initial stages of organizing his campaign. He has employed Square State Strategy Group out of Denver to assist. He has also sought advice from Don Suppes, who lost the Senate race to Donovan four years ago.
"Don lost the race by 1,100 votes, which is basically a small margin," Lund said. "It will be a tough battle, but it's not unwinnable."
Senate District 5 is an expansive district that covers seven Colorado counties, including Chaffee, Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Lake and Pitkin. Delta and Gunnison counties are largely agricultural; tourism, recreation and mining drive the economies in other areas of the district. Lund vows to use his experience in local government to fight for the district's rural values at "a state capitol dominated by the Denver-Boulder crowd."
Lund served as Delta County commissioner from 2004-2012, as a Colorado water commissioner, and chairman of the Painted Sky Resource Conservation and Development Council. He cites his role in building consensus among farmers, environmentalists, ranchers, and recreationalists to modify the Hartland Dam on the Gunnison River to facilitate passage of endangered fish and recreational boaters along the river.
He also served on the DMEA board, including one year as chair, was an original member of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable and has served as a deputy water commissioner. He and his wife Debbi have three children.
"Those of us born and raised in western Colorado know how to work together. We've done it all of our lives," Lund said in a press release. "The capitol is broken, and we need to fix it. The challenges our state faces are large and getting worse. Roads, access to health care, creating and recruiting good jobs -- these are all things we care about in west-central Colorado, and these are the issues where I'll bring my record of working together to get good things done."
Campaigns cost money, and as he gears up for the November election, Lund said he's looking at 15 to 20 fundraising events, including several on the Front Range. "There's a lot of interest in this race," Lund explained, because Republicans have just a one-seat margin in the Senate. With Democrats in control of the state House, the Republicans want to maintain the fragile balance at the state capitol.
More information about Lund's campaign can be found at www.olenlund.com.