Denver businessman Walker Stapleton
, president of real estate company SonomaWest Holdings, Tuesday became the first Republican to announce that he will run for Colorado state treasurer.
Democrat Cary Kennedy now holds the office and has filed to run for re-election in 2010. Three GOP businessmen, including Stapleton, have said they are eyeing the race.
Stapleton, 34, unveiled a list of 30 business backers with his announcement, including El Pomar Foundation CEO Bill Hybl, Gallagher Enterprises CEO Charles Gallagher and former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson.
One of Stapleton’s probable primary opponents – J.J. Ament – is scheduled to join us on our RMA Blog Talk Radio program this evening. We doubtless will extend an offer to Stapleton to come on as a guest in the near future.
In the meantime, here is a full copy of Walker Stapleton’s press release announcing his candidacy:
Walker Stapleton Announces Run for State Treasurer
Businessman Pledges to Put Coloradoâ€™s Taxpayers First
DENVERâ€”Emphasizing that he will restore the State Treasurerâ€™s office to being the taxpayersâ€™ watchdog, Republican businessman Walker Stapleton today announced his candidacy for Treasurer, and unveiled a long list of prominent Coloradans who have already joined his team.
Stapleton said that with the Treasury, the Governorâ€™s Office and the Legislature all controlled by Democrats, â€œthey have focused on nothing but higher spending, bigger government, more state workers â€“ and assault after assault on taxpayersâ€™ rights.â€
In contrast, Stapleton said he would use his business background and success running a business and creating jobs to fight for policies that will jump-start Coloradoâ€™s economy.
â€œMy Number One goal as State Treasurer will be putting Coloradoâ€™s taxpayers first,â€ Stapleton said. â€œColoradoâ€™s Treasurer can again be the taxpayersâ€™ foremost advocate in state government. Under its current occupant, the Treasury has gone from being the taxpayersâ€™ watchdog to the tax-spendersâ€™ headquarters.â€
Stapleton cited a wide range of policies pursued by the current Treasurer and Gov. Bill Ritter, including the recent property tax increase, and attacks on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) and the 6 percent spending cap, as hallmarks of the anti-taxpayer movement currently underway at the State Capitol. Stapleton said he would also put a new focus on preserving the stateâ€™s critically underfunded public-employee pension system to prevent the need for an infusion of taxpayer funds.
Stapleton is CEO of SonomaWest Holdings Inc, a publicly traded real estate company with offices in Colorado and California. In addition to SonomaWest, Stapleton has several land, retail and residential investments throughout Colorado. Stapleton, his wife Jenna and their one-year-old son, Craig, live in Greenwood Village. Jenna is working toward a masterâ€™s degree in social work at the University of Denver. Stapleton has a bachelorâ€™s degree from Williams College, a graduate degree from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard University.
The Stapleton for Colorado finance team is co-chaired by business leaders Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media Group, who was Chairman of Senator John McCainâ€™s presidential campaign in Colorado, and J. Landis (Lanny) Martin, founder of Platte River Ventures. The campaignâ€™s treasurer is Joe Smith, Partner, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP.
Stapletonâ€™s candidacy is also supported by several prominent Colorado business leaders and advocates, including:
Charles Gallagher, Chairman & CEO, Gallagher Enterprises
Hon. Jim Nicholson, Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Former US Ambassador to Holy See; Former Chairman, Republican National Committee
Mary Smith, Former Chairman, Denver County Republicans
Jim Wallace, President, Brownlie, Wallace, Armstrong & Bander Exploration
Jack Vickers, CEO, Vickers Companies
Bill Hybl, Chairman & CEO, El Pomar Foundation
Ron and Alysa Levine, Partner, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
Bob and Christie Austin, CEO, Englewood Mortgage Company
Dick Robinson, CEO, Robinson Dairy
Raymond T. Duncan, Chairman and CEO, Duncan Oil
Frederic Hamilton, Chairman, The Hamilton Companies
Marc and Kristin Holtzman, Vice Chairman, Barclays Capital
Joe and Anne Ellis, COO, Denver Broncos
George Solich, President, Cordillera Energy Partners
Daniel Riff, Portfolio Manager, Janus Capital Group
Bart Bansbach, Columbine Realty
Meg Duke, Community Activist
Jeremy and Holly Arnold Kinney, President, Kinney Oil Company; Owner, The Fort Restaurant
Alan F. Fox, Alan F. Fox Realty & Investment Company
Katie Wolfe Agron, Owner, Scott & Wolfe Interiors
Brown and Mardi Cannon, President, Cannon Land Co
Lynne and Bo Cottrell, Community Activists
Christine Burtt, President, CQB & Associates, Inc.
Sue Cannon, Philanthropist
Jessica Corry, Public Policy Analyst, Former State Senate Candidate
Nancy Petry, Philanthropist
Katherine Swalm Whitcomb, Community Activist
An impressive list, including a few personal friends and acquaintances of mine. We will be blessed to have strong, principled candidates come forward in a primary – particularly a primary that takes the high road. I look forward to the debate to restore Colorado’s treasurer’s office into taxpayer-friendly hands.