Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week endorsed Ashley Wheeland, one of two Democrats running in a primary against state Rep. Paul Rosenthal in southeast Denver’s House District 9.
“I have known Ashley since she began her career in policy in our state — working for me in my United States Senate office,” said Salazar, a former U.S. senator and Colorado attorney general, in a statement. “She worked on the issues she continues to champion — health care, education and civil rights. Ashley listened and worked with my constituents every day, and she provided me the information I needed to make decisions about the best policies for Colorado. I am proud of the work she has continued to do and I believe she will make a strong member of the Colorado Legislature.”
Wheeland, who worked on Salazar’s 2004 Senate campaign and as a policy aide for the Democrat for several years after he was elected, welcomed the endorsement.
“He knows how much I care about Colorado,” she said in a statement. “I learned from him how to help our communities and state through policymaking. I have not stopped fighting for better policies for our state since.”
Wheeland, an attorney, has since worked with LGBT-advocacy organization One Colorado and as the policy and political director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Rosenthal, serving his third term in the House, is also facing a primary challenge from Emily Sirota, an educator and one-time candidate for the Denver school board. So far, no Republican has filed to run in the district, which leans Democratic.
Precinct caucuses are March 6 and the primary election is June 26.