Alec Garnett said he learned a lot about politics while working with elected officials like his father, Stan, who is currently the Boulder County District Attorney. Now Alec Garnett is going to be able to apply those lessons to a campaign of his own.
The 2001 Fairview High grad announced Tuesday that he will be running as a Democrat for the Colorado State House District 2 seat in 2014. Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who is term limited currently holds the Denver-based seat, and Garnett so far is the only one to have tossed his name in the ring for the spot.
"My hope was to announce this with enough time so on weekends and after work I can build up relationships and make sure everyone in (House District 2) knows I'm an accessible candidate," said Garnett, who currently is the executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party. "By announcing early it just provides me more time to really get to know the people, the small businesses and some of the schools in the district."
Before working with the Colorado Democratic Party, the 29-year-old Garnett was a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden and legislative director to the late U.S. Rep. John Adler of New Jersey, experiences he said helped shape his political approach.
"Politics is really about staying in touch with your constituents and being a leader and representative in whichever elected office you're in," he said. "What I realized is the best type of representative is the individual who is accessible to their constituents and takes the time to figure out solutions to the problems they hear about on the campaign trail."
And then of course, there are the lessons that Garnett learned from his time on the campaign trail with his father Stan, who has been elected twice as Boulder County District Attorney and also made a run at the Colorado Attorney General's Office. In fact, Alec Garnett was the campaign manager when Stan Garnett ran for that office in 2010.
"Running my dad's attorney general campaign was one of the best things I've done politically," Alec Garnett said. "We got to spend a lot of time together, and I got to watch my dad in an elected position. My dad is a leader who isn't afraid to take a stand on issues the community cares about. I learned from him the most important thing is to represent the community to the best of your ability."
Stan Garnett said that time spent on the campaign trail with his son showed him Alec was ready to start forging a political career of his own.
"He's a great young man with a lot of experience for his age and I'm really excited," Stan Garnett said. "What's remarkable about Alec is he's very skilled at dealing with people, he's very good at building coalitions and finding common ground and being patient.
"He's better at some of those things than his dad is," the elder Garnett added. "He is really good at connecting with the people that really make a difference in an organzition... Alec is really good at finding out who is really getting work done and connecting with them and building coalitions with them."
Alec Garnett said growing up in Boulder taught him to listen to people in the community to pinpoint the things that needed to get done.
"Boulder is a very politically active community, and a community where people follow political issues closely and come to their elected officials with a lot of different ideas," he said. "Boulder is a unique place where you really learn to listen closely to what people are saying, and Denver has a lot of similar attributes." Alec Garnett said two of issues he thinks are important right now include the state's economy and education.
"I think the Colorado economy is on the right track, but students continue to come out of higher education with student loan debt, and we need to continue to make sure they can find jobs they've been trained for," he said. "And then p-12 education continues to be a priority I hear a lot of people talking about."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.