Ken Salazar won’t run for Colorado governor in 2018

Ken Salazar, a Colorado native son and stalwart of Democratic politics, announced in a Denver Post commentary that he will not run for governor in 2018.

Salazar, 62, served four years in the U.S. Senate and served as U.S. secretary of the interior from 2009 to 2013 in the Obama administration.

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Among the challenges Colorado faces as a state is turning around pockets of “economic distress,” especially in rural areas, Salazar said. A state population that is expected to grow from 5.4 million to more than 8 million people in the next 25 years will present challenges, he said. Environment, transportation and education will be among the chief concerns of the next governor.

“Several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor,” Salazar said in his commentary. “I will not be among them.”

Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2005, Salazar served as attorney general of Colorado from 1999 to 2005. In August 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton picked Salazar to be chairman of her White House transition team, a position that likely would have led to a Clinton White House administration job , if she had won.

A native of Alamosa, Salazar and his family, including his elder brother and former U.S. Congressman John Salazar, trace their heritage in the Southwest back to the 16th century.

A Denver Post story this month identified Salazar as a possible strong candidate for the governor’s job. His decision not to run came, in part, because of family considerations.

“This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado,” Salazar said. “However, my family’s well-being must come first.”

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