DENVER—San Luis Valley native Ken Salazar won't toss his hat in the ring for the 2018 gubernatorial election.
He said several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor — "I will not be among them."
Current Governor John Hickenlooper, a democrat, is term-limited.
According to Salazar, "The 2018 election for governor of Colorado is a keystone to the future greatness of Colorado."
Although he believes he could have won the seat, Salazar said, "This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. I believe I would have won an election for governor, and that I would have been a successful governor for all the people of Colorado. However, my family’s well being must come first.
"Colorado is the greatest state in the nation. Our people embody the great spirit of western independence and common sense.
"The grandeur of our mountains, rivers, ranch and farmlands make us the most beautiful state in the nation and provide us our enviable quality of life. And our economy is the best in the nation thanks to the leadership of many over the years.”
Salazar said the key question for the next governor is how to preserve the greatness of the state and quality of life as the population grows from 5.4 million people to more than 8 million in the next 25 years.
With that growth come many challenges, he said. Even though the economy is booming statewide, “we have many communities in economic distress, including much of rural Colorado."
Salazar wrote in The Denver Post that Colorado needs to solve its statewide transportation challenges that cause the horrific gridlocks on Interstate 70, I-25 and elsewhere, as well as decaying roads and bridges throughout the state.
"I have had the honor of working alongside presidents, governors, senators, county commissioners, mayors and other officials to address Colorado’s challenges over the last 30 years” he said, noting "these are a few of the challenges the next governor of Colorado must tackle.
"Colorado’s education crisis needs to be solved from pre-kindergarten to college. It is sad that Colorado has de-funded higher education and abandoned the great tradition of leading the nation with our great colleges and universities."
"And as we shoehorn 2.5 million more people into our state, how will we preserve our great open spaces, rivers and farm and ranch lands?"
He said he looks forward to supporting a candidate for governor who has the conviction to tackle Colorado’s challenges and to preserve the quality of life for current and future generations.
"I have stood on the shoulders of giants to see a bright and optimistic future for all of our people regardless of ZIP code, gender, race, nationality or sexual orientation," he said.
Salazar was elected to serve as Colorado’s attorney general and U.S. senator and was appointed secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
"And I thank my forefathers and foremothers who came to farm and ranch the soils along the Rio Grande River more than four centuries ago who taught me the timeless values of faith, family and community."
Those values will keep him home for now.
Information taken from The Denver Post and other reports.