Election 2018LegislatureNews

Colorado state Rep. Jon Becker announces he won’t seek re-election

Author: Marianne Goodland - February 5, 2018 - Updated: February 12, 2018

Rep. Jon BeckerRep. Jon Becker (R) of Fort Morgan

Colorado state Rep. Jon Becker, a Fort Morgan Republican, told Colorado Politics that he will forego a bid for his fourth and final term in the Colorado House, just three weeks after deciding to mount a re-election campaign. He intends instead to run for the board of county commissioners for Morgan County, a seat he held once before.

Becker has served in the Colorado House since winning the House District 65 seat in northeastern Colorado in 2010. He sat out the 2012-13 session after redistricting put him in the same House district as then-Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. When Sonnenberg ran for the Senate in 2014, Becker won his second term in the House and again in 2016.

Becker had been somewhat ambivalent about a run for a fourth and final term. His eldest son,, Grant, is entering his senior year of high school in the fall and his younger son, J.T., will be a junior, and Becker said he hoped to spend time with his sons during those critical final two years of high school and as they made their way toward college.

But a recent car accident made Becker and his family reconsider their options. J.T. was involved in a car accident; he wasn’t the driver andwasn’t hurt, although several friends in the vehicle were injured.

That prompted Becker to talk to his family and rethink the future.

That future will keep him closer to home as he seeks a seat on the Morgan County Board of County Commissioners in the fall.

Since returning to the House for the 2015 session, Becker has been a part of the minority in the Colorado House, but one of the most effective members of that caucus on issues such as water, and concurrent enrollment in high school and college. His crowning achievement may be last year’s landmark omnibus bill on Sustainability of Rural Colorado, which spared Colorado hospitals a half-billion dollars in budget cuts and prevented the possible closure of at least a dozen rural hospitals. It also provided the mechanism for funding nearly $2 billion in transportation projects, with a quarter of that going to rural communities, as well as a $30 million boost to rural public schools.

“This is a job of sacrifices,” Becker said Monday, adding that he will help whomever steps up to run for the seat. “It’s time to head home. I walk away knowing I’ve done more good than bad.”

Becker does not rule out a political career sometime in the future.

Republican Senate President Pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, who has been a mentor to Becker, was overcome with emotion when talking about Becker’s decision to leave the state Capitol.

“Jon is a brilliant man and a brilliant friend,” Sonnenberg told Colorado Politics. “He has done wonderful things down here at the Capitol for his district and the entire state. I would argue there isn’t a sharper legislator than Jon Becker, on the political side, policy side and budget side.”

Sonnenberg said he was disappointed by Becker’s decision but understands that family comes first.

As a county commissioner, should he win, “I will continue to seek him for counsel and advice. You can’t replace a Jon Becker,” whom Sonnenberg called a man of honor and integrity.

Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock leads the Republican caucus in the House. He said Becker has been an effective voice for all of Colorado, not just for his district or even just for rural Colorado. “Jon’s one of those folks we all lean on for advice. It’s a loss.”

Democratic House Majority Leader KC Becker of Boulder also weighed in on the announcement (they aren’t related). “Jon Becker was able to distinguish himself at the Capitol because he works very hard and very effectively for his district. He goes out on the limb” when necessary, and builds relationships where it’s needed. “That kind of hard work, and being that effective is rare.”

The northeastern Colorado district is reliably Republican.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.