GREELEY —Michael Thuener will be the first to admit his entry into the House District 50 race was nothing short of unusual.
While he sat quietly and voted on his choice of candidates at the Weld County Republican Assembly, another group of delegates were preparing behind the scenes to announce something Thuener had been wanting to do for years.
Delegates to House District 50 erupted in joy when current State Representatives Perry Buck, Lori Saine and Stephen Humphrey took the stage to nominate and support Thuener for a seat that has not been held by a Republican since 2004.
“It has been on my mind for a while,” Thuener said. “It seemed like right time to do it with the open seat. It was the right position.”
Current State Treasurer candidate Dave Young has held the seat since 2011. Young was term limited. Progressive newcomer Rochelle Galindo, is running for the Democrats. She will not be profiled by Complete Colorado.
Galindo, who is running her campaign in lock-step with other, progressive, identity-politics candidates across the state, has suffered troubles inside her campaign staff. Although she had previously worked with Complete Colorado on other stories, she demanded a list of questions to be profiled opposite Thuener.
Complete Colorado has interviewed candidates in various targeted races across the state. To date, Complete Colorado has looked at Senate District 22 and Senate District 24. Complete Colorado has not supplied any candidate a list of questions in advance.
Thuener said he had been discussing his intentions to run with family and close friends when Jeff Sloan, another Republican, announced his intentions. He chose to support Sloan at that time. When Sloan dropped out just before the Assembly, the desire came back.
“When assembly came, they needed somebody to do it,” Thuener said. “It felt like a calling. I’ve lived my whole life in service, first the Army and now servicing customers. I know what it is to work for people and making sure they have the right resources. That’s what I want to bring to this district.”
Thuener, 36, is married and has 3 children. He served eight years in the Army with two tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2007. He is an elder in his church.
He works in telecommunications and data connectivity, a career he said will work well side-by-side with his desire to be a public servant. He said naysayers who question his age or ability to support his family on the small salary of a legislator, don’t know him.
“First, I have a great wife that has the opportunity to stay home with our children,” Thuener said. “She is a fantastic homemaker, and both our families are in the area. So my ability to do this is because of a strong family structure.”
Thuener said he has had many conversations with his employer, everyone knows the commitment, the salary changes and how it will be handled.
“There are numerous lawyers and other professionals who have to maintain a certain number of hours to keep their partnerships or positions,” he said. “And there are many Democrats with young families.
“People should be encouraging people to engage in political decisions and in being representatives in their community, not discouraging them because of the (place) they are in life.”
The questions surrounding Thuener’s ability are not exclusive to his campaign. His predecessor, Sloan, dropped out because he did not believe he could work the commitment around his full-time career. And Galindo is already turning down requests from media outlets, saying her job for the Boulder Public School District would not let her free up time to respond..
“I know it’s a time dedication,” Thuener said. “But I’m used to working long hours. I worked 12-hour days in Iraq for two years.”
Thuener stance on the issues.
TAXPAYER’S BILL OF RIGHTS — “It is an important part of what’s kept Colorado solvent and keeps our government in check. There might be some tweaking that could be done, but we need to make sure we do it the right way and not dismantle it.”
SCHOOL CHOICE — “We need to empower parents to have as many choices as possible. There are wait lists for charter schools for a reason. I want (private schools) to be an option for parents as well.” Thuener supports a system that would allow the use of state dollars on private education without restricting private schools, such as tax credits.
ENERGY – “If we could get to 100 percent renewable that would be fantastic, the reality is, it’s not going to happen. The technology is not there. It’s not consistent, and one of the biggest challenges for that is storage. We should not be mandating anybody to renewable if they are not ready to make that investment on themselves.” He added the technology in oil and gas drilling has come a long way in reducing noise and danger. He said setbacks should remain where they are. “I know people that work in the oil and gas industry. Their employees are standing right up next to those batteries and oil heads and working on them daily, and they are not seeing any health effects.”
TRANSPORTATION — “One of the biggest frustrations I’ve heard from people is when we do add money to transportation, it’s not going to roads, it’s going to projects that take away lanes and make traffic worse. The priority needs to go to roads. What you have in RTD is a mass transit system that does not support the masses. It only supports 3 percent of the Denver-Metro population. It is very specific on where you can go. You can’t get to different areas easily. You have a very expensive project that services a very small amount of people.
GUN CONTROL – “Boulder is misguided, while I think they intend well, they really put themselves in a position where they caused law abiding citizens to become criminals overnight. I don’t know how they are going to get away with it. They have to recognize they are trying to take away a scary looking weapon to make themselves feel better. We should not be sitting here discussing what weapons people cannot have, we have a natural right to defend ourselves. We should not be taking weapons away (from people that are not a threat to others). Anytime we start taking away the ability for someone to defend themselves from any negative force toward them, were taking away that natural right.”
Thuener, who is a 2018 graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, said House District 50 residents deserve the best representation they can get.
“Their representative has to defend Colorado, or we will be Californicated and not recognize this state in a few years,” he said. “We have to have someone who understands that the government serves at the consent of the governed. Not let the government try to control what we do. Northern Colorado can’t be forgotten in transportation. If we can’t find a way to get people in and out of here easily, business will start leaving. So often legislators get down into Denver and they think Denver is all that matters for the state and it’s not. We all matter.”