I am a proud Colorado native and have called Gunnison my home since 1998, when I was hired to manage the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. My work managing the District followed the completion of a graduate degree in Water Resources Planning and Management from Colorado State University, where I focused on my passion – agricultural irrigation. After working in the District for six years, I was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives and was appointed Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee as a freshman! After getting my feet on the ground, I successfully ran dozens of bills each year and specialized in water, agriculture, oil and gas, wildlife, and budget issues.
After leaving the General Assembly, I started a small business and worked on several successful ballot initiatives that dealt with improving the ability of unaffiliated voters to engage in the political process. I actively supported the passage of a measure allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries without having to join a party. I also supported the creation of non-partisan commissions to handle the drawing of new legislative and congressional District maps every ten years. (The goal of the redistricting commissions is to reduce the number of safe partisan districts and to try and keep counties from being divided into multiple districts.)
Along with continuing to work on political issues, I decided to pursue selling local foods as a way to support the agricultural sector on the west slope. I began selling our family’s grass-fed beef directly to customers and opened a retail store on Main Street that sold locally produced foods. When COVID requirements limited the ability of retailers to sell their products in person, I decided to try something new and headed back to the Colorado Capitol as a professional lobbyist. I am extremely grateful to the water, wildlife, and agricultural entities that hired me to advocate for them in Denver these last five years. Working at the legislature as a lobbyist has been rewarding and challenging and confirmed my love of the legislative process.
I have two grown sons and feel fortunate that I was able to raise them in Gunnison! I am passionate about my kids and my family. I have been married to local rancher Greg Peterson for twenty years and am extremely proud to be part of our family cattle and hay operation.