Perry Will

Perry Will

A month after the Colorado General Assembly opened its session, we now know who all the legislators are.

Perry Will of New Castle, an area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, was chosen Tuesday by a Colorado House District 57 vacancy committee to replace now-state Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale.

That's the last of several appointments made to fill vacancies in the legislature left by resignations and moves from the House to the Senate.

Rankin served as a representative for the district until Jan. 2, when a Senate District 8 vacancy committee chose him to replace then-Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, who stepped down from the Senate on Jan. 21.

Will was among four candidates for the vacancy, including Rankin's wife, Joyce, a member of the state Board of Education.

News of Will's election was first reported by Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. 

District 57 spans a large area of northwest Colorado, including Craig, Meeker and Rangely.

According to a profile in Monday's Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, Will has worked for Parks and Wildlife for 40 years but will retire to avoid any conflicts of interest.

He points to high-speed internet, the state budget and water as top priorities. 

"I'm all about representing rural Colorado," Will told the Post-Independent. "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."

The other candidates for the seat, in addition to Joyce Rankin, were Shawn Bolton, who owns a construction company in Meeker and is a former county commissioner in Rio Blanco County, and Zachary Parsons of Glenwood Springs, a prosecuting attorney in the Ninth Judicial District.

Baumgardner had been under fire for allegations that he sexually harassed a partisan Senate aide and a nonpartisan Senate staffer. Two separate investigations found those allegations credible.

Senate Democrats sought to expel Baumgardner in April 2018, but the vote failed. Senate Republican leadership later stripped him of all committee assignments, including for the 2019 legislative session.

Baumgardner steadfastly denied the incidents took place.

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