Rep. Jon Becker has made the decision to run for a fourth term for the Colorado House of Representatives in this year’s election.
Becker announces intent to run for Colorado House again
Rep. Jon Becker has put to rest months of speculation about his political future and announced he intends to run for a fourth term for the Colorado House of Representatives.
But the Fort Morgan Republican told this reporter the decision to run again was the hardest one he’s made in his political career.
Becker said he had to carefully weigh his time away from his family, heading into the 2018 election and the next two years after that. His son will be a high school senior in the fall, and Becker said he wanted to be sure he can spend time with his son for that all-important final year.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me this time,” Becker said Thursday. “I love the people of my district and can’t think of a better job than the one I have right now — taking care of the issues they have and giving them a voice — a very loud voice, sometimes boisterous — at the Capitol.
“I want to make sure I can get my arms around this office, do a good job and leave eastern Colorado better than the way I found it, and we’re well on our way to that path.”
In addition to making sure he has time for his family, Becker admits being a primary co-sponsor of the biggest bill to come out of the 2017 legislative session — the hospital provider fee — took “a lot of steam out of me,” not to mention causing him political headaches.
The measure reclassified the provider fee into an enterprise — a government owned business — and spared Colorado hospitals a half-billion dollar budget cut. That included 12 rural hospitals, including at least one in the district. The budget cut was expected to force the closure of those hospitals. The measure also provided a one-time funding boost to rural schools of $30 million and $1.9 billion to pay for transportation projects, with one-quarter of that dedicated to rural projects. And the measure did something that Republicans have had on their wish list for more than a decade: provide a break in personal property taxes for small businesses.
“It was a very difficult bill to pass” and even more difficult for people to understand, Becker said. He took a lot of heat from people who he said just didn’t understand what the bill would do for eastern Colorado, and that included some pretty nasty comments on social media, more than he’d ever experienced before. “I had to sit back and decide if I wanted to be here and if I wanted my kids” to see this kind of thing, he said. “I’ve seen some of the ugliest side of politics I’ve ever seen” after the passage of Senate Bill 17-267.
Despite the criticism, Becker believes the bill was the best thing for the district.
In the last month, however, since people knew he was contemplating whether to run again, he’s gotten an outpouring of support for another term, from people in the district and around the state, telling him he has a lot more to do.
Those issues include water, making sure hospitals and schools in eastern Colorado get the support they need, and taking care of agriculture.
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