Colorado state Rep. Clarice Navarro resigning House seat to take Farm Service Agency post with Trump administration

Author: Ernest Luning - November 5, 2017 - Updated: November 6, 2017

State Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-PuebloState Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo

Colorado state Rep. Clarice Navarro, a Pueblo Republican, plans to resign her seat on Nov. 12 after being appointed executive director of the Colorado Farm Service Agency by the Trump administration, she announced Friday night on Facebook.

“I leave with mixed emotions, but I’m confident I’ll be able to continue my fight for agriculture and rural America in my next endeavor,” Navarro wrote in a Facebook post.

A prominent supporter of candidate Donald Trump in last year’s election, Navarro was among Hispanic and Latino leaders who met with Trump amid controversy over his positions on immigration and relations with Mexico. After the meeting, she sang his praises in a guest column in USA Today, writing, “While we may not have loved the delivery of some of Mr. Trump’s comments, his vision for ‘making America great again’ is what matters.” In January, Navarro was on the host committee of the Latino Inaugural Gala, a black-tie affair celebrating Trump’s inauguration.

Navarro was elected to represent House District 47 — covering parts of Pueblo, Fremont and Otero counties — in 2012 and has won reelection twice. The district includes northern parts of Pueblo, Penrose, Pueblo West, Fowler, Manzanola, Rocky Ford, Swink and La Junta. She serves on the House Business Affairs and Labor, Local Government and Education committees.

Raised by a single mother in southeast Colorado, Navarro credits her rural upbringing as inspiration for championing the Colorado State Fair and keeping it in Pueblo. She was honored last month by the Colorado State Fair Foundation with the Outstanding Service Award.

Navarro is a longtime member of the “Fair Ladies,” a buyers group that bids on champion livestock every year at the Junior Livestock Auction, and belongs to state fair booster organization the 1872 Club, named for the year the fair started — four years before Colorado became a state.

“It’s not every day that you get to experience racing pigs, sea lions or zip lining all in one location in Colorado, but it’s the 4-H and National FFA Organization kids that steal my heart every year,” Navarro wrote in the Pueblo Chieftain in August as the fair was set to begin its annual run.

Navarro previously worked in the Rural Development Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the state Farm Service Agency. She also taught with the Colorado Department of Corrections and at Las Animas High School and served on the Las Animas City Council. She’s been honored as legislator of the year by Mental Health Colorado, Principles of Liberty and the American Conservative Union.

Navarro is the second state lawmaker to resign her seat since the end of the 2017 regular session. Former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Steamboat Springs Democrat, stepped down last month to campaign full-time for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican.

Last weekend, a Democratic vacancy committee named Eagle County prosecutor Dylan Roberts to fill Mitsch Bush’s term. A Republican vacancy committee is expected to pick a replacement for Navarro later this month.

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.