Weld County Sheriff John Cooke will leave law enforcement after 35 years to run for the state Senate in 2014.
Cooke, the Weld sheriff since 2003, is a Republican who said Monday that he will run for the District 13 seat, which Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, must vacate due to term limits.
The district incorporates most of Weld County, including Eaton, Greeley, Evans, Fort Lupton, Gilcrest, Johnstown, LaSalle, the northern half of Brighton, Milliken and Platteville.
Greeley resident Joe Perez, a Democrat, recently announced that he will run for state senator in District 13.
Cooke said gun rights, water storage in the county and keeping jobs in Weld, especially with the oil and gas boom, are important issues in the district.
Cooke led a group of Colorado sheriffs in suing the state over recently passed gun control measures. Cooke and the other sheriffs are saying that new laws limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds and requiring background checks for sales and transfers of firearms violate Coloradans’ constitutional rights.
“That’s why myself and 54 other sheriffs are suing the state, because we feel it’s an infringement on our rights and on our citizens’ rights,” Cooke said.
Cooke said he’s familiar with the state’s political process by testifying at the state Capitol on bills that affect law enforcement.
“I’ve had a lot of dealings with the state reps and the state senators,” Cooke said. “I’m pretty familiar with the process and what goes on down there.”
Cooke is for the 51st state proposal by Colorado’s northeast counties to secede from the state.
“I believe there is an attack on rural Colorado, and it’s coming from the Denver metro area,” Cooke said. “I understand the frustration, and I understand why people want to form a 51st state. I certainly wouldn’t fight against it. If we can get a 51st state then more power to us, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, unfortunately.”
We’ll meet again in October, and I would guess there’s going to be some ideas for bills out of this.
Chairman, Transportation Legislation Review Committee