Election 2018Hot SheetLegislature

Pueblo Democrat Leroy Garcia launches reelection bid in Senate District 3

Author: Ernest Luning - February 25, 2018 - Updated: February 25, 2018

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State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo (Photo courtesy Colorado General Assembly)

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Leroy Garcia, the Pueblo Democrat who took back one of the Senate seats lost to Republicans in Colorado’s 2013 recall elections, formally launched his campaign this week for a second term representing Senate District 3.

Garcia, a paramedic, community college instructor and Marine Corps veteran, said in a statement he wants to continue fighting for the people of Southern Colorado.

“Growing up, my parents instilled in me a love for service and a love of community. So, when I joined the Marines, I not only did it to defend our country’s freedom, but to proudly serve and represent my community of Pueblo and Southern Colorado,” he said. “The value of service and community is one I carried in the Marine Corps, one I carry with me every day as a paramedic and professor, and I will continue to carry if I am reelected as state senator for Senate District 3.”

Republicans have yet to field an opponent in the district, which leans Democratic but is considered one of a handful of potential swing seats in the state Senate.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Garcia’s campaign has $66,662 in the bank.

Senate District 3 includes Pueblo, Pueblo West, a portion of Salt Creek and unincorporated county precincts on the north side of town. Democrats make up 43 percent of its active, registered voters, Republicans make up 24 percent, and unaffiliated voters account for 31 percent.

Garcia won the seat in 2014 by a 10-point margin over the incumbent Republican, George Rivera, who ousted Democrat Angela Giron the year before in a recall election fueled by anger over a package of gun-control measures passed during the 2013 legislative session. Previously, Garcia served one term in the state House and on the Pueblo City Council.

Since being elected to the Senate, Garcia has been wooed by Democrats to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton but has passed on the opportunity.

In a release, Garcia said he was proud to have dedicated the his term to pursuing bipartisan solutions.

“With the people of Senate District 3 behind me the whole way, we created a pilot program for Pueblo and rural Colorado to address the opioid epidemic. We fought to support our veterans through education and housing programs. We pushed to increase accountability and transparency of our utility provider. We secured funding for and defended one of our great treasures, the State Fair in Pueblo, and continued to protect Southern Colorado’s water. We fought to explore transportation solutions like a potential rail line along the I-25 corridor and we secured funding to make improvements on Highway 50. Together, we built the regional office of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in Pueblo West, and new offices for the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation,” Garcia said.

“These accomplishments excite me, but I know there is so much more work to be done, and we Southern Coloradans need to continue to fight so our voices are heard. It is my hope that if reelected, I will continue that fight as the state senator for Senate District 3. I look forward to hitting the campaign trail and talking with voters about how we can continue the work we started together.”

Garcia serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee. In addition to working as a paramedic in Pueblo, he teaches emergency medical services at Pueblo Community College. Garcia and his wife, Michelle, have two sons, Jeremiah and Xan, and live on Pueblo’s south side, just a few miles from his childhood home.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.