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Colorado Democrat Resigns Over Possible Felony Charges

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Boulder County Democratic state Rep. Tracey Bernett resigned from office last week to focus on criminal charges against her. The Democrat lawmaker was charged for lying in sworn documents that she lived in an apartment within the new boundaries of her district.

“Bernett was charged in November with attempting to influence a public servant, forgery, providing false information about a residence, perjury, and procuring false registration. The charges stem from her allegedly lying about her primary residence in her 2022 re-election bid,” the Denver Post reported.

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“Bernett was first elected in 2020, and listed an address in unincorporated Boulder County, just south of Longmont, as her primary residence. During the 2021 redistricting, that residence was drawn into a district that non-partisan analysts gave a slight Republican tilt. In her 2022 re-election bid, she listed her primary address as being in Louisville, and in a district with a distinct Democratic advantage. She overwhelmingly won re-election this November. Investigators with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office determined she did not actually live at that address but rented an apartment there to run for office. She is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Feb. 10,” the outlet added.

The Democrat did not admit guilt but said in a statement that she is giving up her seat “while addressing these charges rather than compromising the policy initiatives she deems important to those living in House District 12 and the citizens of Colorado.”

Bernett said, “I am proud of what I have accomplished in my time in office and want to thank all the people who have supported and worked with me in moving Colorado forward.”

“Rep. Bernett is charged with crimes for lying to voters about where she lived. If the (Democratic) caucus had any integrity, the Democrat leaders would refuse to swear in Rep. Bernett on Monday,” Kristi Burton Brown, Colorado State Republican Party chairwoman, said. “HD12 deserves to be represented by someone who actually lives there, not someone who lied to get votes.”

In November’s election, Bernett easily defeated Republican challenger Anya Kirvan after receiving more than 77% of the vote.

However, voters in the district received their ballots before the charges against Bernett were announced.

“The Boulder County Democratic Party will work with the HD12 officers to begin the process of convening a transparent and fair vacancy committee to fill this seat,” Amy Weinstein, Boulder County Democratic Party chair, said in an email. “This is all prescribed by Colorado state law, the Rules of the Colorado Democratic Party, and the Boulder County Democratic Party Bylaws. We will take our first steps to begin the process today.”

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The vacancy is already generating a lot of attention, as seven candidates have now filed for the House District 12 seat.

As detailed by Colorado Politics, the current candidates are:

–Former U.S. Rep. David Skaggs, who served in the Colorado House from 1981 to 1987, including as House Minority Leader from 1983 to 1985. He then was elected to the 2nd Congressional District, where he served six terms, stepping down in 1999.

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–Catherine “Kitty” Sargent of Superior, who serves on the Boulder Valley School District, most recently reelected in 2021.

–Kyle Brown, a member of the Louisville City Council.

–Alfredo Alvarado of Lafayette.

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–Peter Terhune of Lafayette.

–Emily Coffee of Lafayette, a vocalist with the local band The Brown Coffees; and,

–Jennifer Kaaoush, a co-director of Superior Rising, a non-profit formed to support residents in their recovery from the Marshall Fire. She is also a member of the Town of Superior Board of Trustees.

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