Kremmling resident aims for Colorado House District 13
Republican candidate David Buckley runs against Democratic candidate Rep. Julie McCluskie
Kremmling resident David Buckley is running for the Colorado House District 13 seat in the November 8 election. Buckley will represent Grand County as well as Jackson, Summit, Lake, Park and Chaffee counties if elected. Buckley is a small business owner who hopes to tackle issues important to residents of the Western Slope.
“To me, this isn’t about being Republican or Democrat,” said Buckley of the race he has taken on. “It’s about representing Colorado and the people who are working hard to make a prosperous life for themselves and their families. I want to represent their voice.”
Originally from Pennsylvania, Buckley decided to call Colorado home after moving here in 1981. He currently has two daughters with careers in the agricultural industry. His professional career began in the health care and medical transportation field. There, he worked with government programs in Medicare and Medicaid, coordinating transportation benefits for patients to and from their medical appointments.
“It was a great experience. I got to meet legislators and learn about health care and government programs,” Buckley said.
After his experience in the health care field, he transitioned to become a small business owner in 2016. He started a men’s salon franchise business, Sport Clips, with a close friend.
“Our business was the largest one for that franchise in Colorado, and we were doing really well,” Buckley said.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so Buckley’s business was deemed non-essential. They were shut down for nine weeks, then opened up at half-capacity. The loss of revenue prompted him to pursue a new path.
Buckley moved to Kremmling in 2020, got his commercial drivers license and truck driver’s license, then began working as a heavy equipment operator for Grand County Road and Bridge.
“I’m loving it,” Buckley said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful career.”
Buckley has enjoyed learning what it takes to keep Grand’s roads maintained. But last year, a new door opened when Kris Manguso announced she was retiring as County Commissioner.
“That’s when I started looking toward politics,” Buckley said.
He said he’s been blessed by his experience living in Grand County, both through his work and the people he’s met.
“Because this community has embraced me as one of their own, what better way to pay them back than to represent them in a government role where I can help the community,” Buckley said.
Early on in his run for county commissioner, the current commissioners encouraged him to run for a different seat— the State Representative for House District 13. That year, Colorado had gone through a redistricting, so a Republican candidate was needed to run for the newly drawn district. Buckley felt he was ready to step up into that role.
“I have a lot of passion for it, and representing Grand County on a larger scale at the state capitol is very appealing to me,” Buckley said. “I’m in it to win it, I’m not just doing this to fill a seat. The more I’m involved with this, the more excited am I about it.”
Buckley has been traveling throughout District 13 over the past few months. He stated he’s seen the issues residents face, such as skyrocketing inflation, lack of affordable housing and roads in need of improvement.
“Here in our rural communities, our roads are our lifelines to a thriving economy,” Buckley said. “(With) my experience in Road and Bridge, I see firsthand what’s necessary to keep our roads safe and maintained. I feel like this will be a huge benefit in representing our district.”
In addition to road maintenance, Buckley also wants to concentrate on strategies to bring down inflation and improve education in rural schools. He also plans to support the agricultural industry, which is an essential facet of District 13’s rural communities.
“Humans need three things to survive: food, water and energy,” Buckley said. “We have to support to our agriculture industry, we have to preserve our water, we have to preserve our lands and make things sustainable… so we can continue to survive.”
Buckley feels that the current Colorado government has been lax in supporting the economic issues that farmers and ranchers face. Small towns and vast fields are sometimes overshadowed by populated urban areas.
“My opponent… hasn’t supported any legislation to help agriculture, and we’ve got to change that,” Buckley said. “I can’t emphasis enough how important this is. Here in our district, cattle are the most prevalent, but even those that don’t eat meat still need crops to support plant-based diets, and that’s a part of agriculture too.”
Buckley added that district 13 also holds another resource essential to the lives of millions of people, not only in Colorado, but the entire U.S.— water.
“This district is home to… the Colorado and the Arkansas (rivers). One flows west and one flows east. All the water in Colorado, it flows out,” Buckley said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to store it.”
Lastly, Buckley recognizes the need to make the district, one of the most expensive areas in Colorado, a home for everyone. Many areas in district 13, including Grand, face a dearth of essential workers— the restaurant servers, nurses, teachers, bus drivers and business owners— who all help society function.
“Our issues are a little bit different than some of the other areas of the state,” Buckley said. “For me, it’s about getting our rural communities to an affordable place so we can have all levels of contributors here. We need blue collar, we need white collar, we need everyone to help sustain our communities.”
Although the issues the district faces are multi-faceted, traversing everything from water shortages to staffing shortages, Buckley stated he feels ready to tackle these issues at the state capitol.
“I don’t think our rural communities have been represented enough in Colorado government, and that’s what I’m looking to change,” Buckley said. “I think we have a really good chance of winning the seat, and that makes me even more excited.”
Buckley encourages people to visit his website at buckleyforhouse.com to learn more about the issues he supports, look for his upcoming campaign events, or to contact him.
“I represent the people, so I would love to hear their point of view and what issues are important to them,” he said.
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