NEW LEADERSHIP DELIVERING RESULTS FOR OUR COMMUNITY
Travis Nelson is a Huerfano County native, and is proud to announce that he has been nominated to run as rural moderate Democratic Candidate for Colorado Senate for SD35. Travis is not a politician, but a common man who has decided to step up for our People. Travis received 100% of the delegate’s votes at the Senate District Assembly and is incredibly grateful to represent his home County of Huerfano, and greater Front Range of Rural Colorado. Travis is the “Citizen Candidate” and is here to fight for all the voters in his District, regardless of their political affiliation.
About Travis Nelson
LAST DITCH HOMESTEAD
November 15, 2015 was a day profound true profound change in my life began. This was the day I put my guns to the ground. This was the day my beautiful daughter Arizona Star was born. There is something that changes a man when you hold your newborn child for the first time.
Prior to that, it had been a rough and rowdy ride, growing up as an outlaw in Huerfano County, in a small town known as Gardner, Colorado.
Everyone I knew was poor, growing up in Huerfano County. My family lived on a small 80-acre cattle ranch known as the “Last Ditch Homestead”. We ran our cattle on foot. There was no running water. Like hundreds of other locals, we hauled our drinking water from the local Malachite Spring. We filled our pond and transferred water to a cistern for washwater then, heated it in a round tub on the woodstove. "Last Ditch Homestead!" Little did I know, this would be a metaphor for the roads to come.
Thankfully, I had amazing parents. After age two, when my parents divorced, though they each went their own direction, I was lucky enough to have had exceptional step-parents. My Father David “Arizona Star” Nelson and stepmom, Jan built a successful fence building company on the Western Slope and bought an appaloosa ranch with countless years of hard work. I learned a lot about hard work, ranching, and building barbed wire fences from my Dad. My mom, Johnnye, worked as a secretary bookkeeping. She also worked at the local clinic in Gardner “La Clinica". Growing up, my Mother taught me relentless community service. She was a woman of action. She led the efforts to create the Gardner Summer Kids Program, Gardner Library, and Little League. She continues to volunteer at the Gardner Valley School to this day, instructing the young kids about agriculture in the local school greenhouse.
Gardner, Colorado was an interesting community to say the least! Roughly, one third of the residents were tough, loving Hispanics who had been in this community for countless generations. Another third of the residents were Anglo ranchers who ran cattle and sheep. I was a product of the other third of the population. In the 1970’s, this third were the counter-culture hippies that moved into the Upper Huerfano Valley by the hundreds. This melting pot made for an amazing community that looked out for one another. The lack of and limited law enforcement, other than our local sheriff, the toughest local outlaw, was put in charge of keeping our rambunctious behavior to a minimum in Gardner. We were blessed to have a community made up of the kindest folks you will have ever meet.
Gardner was a wild, untamed, outlaw country. Fighting was the norm in Gardner. As little kids, we would fist-fight on the weekends. Not because we had a disagreement but just for something to do on Saturday night. Many of the older generations in Gardner were true outlaws. Employment was difficult to find in Gardner unless you were working on a ranch. This was hard work and the pay was only $20 per day. You could also work, tree planting in the Spring. Living in wild, untamed Gardner could not have hit home any harder. When I was six years old my dad shot our neighbor over a dispute and our home was burned down to the ground. Gardner was a violent place. True “F*** around and find out" outlaw country. In Gardner everyone grew up and learned how to fight.
Due to the lack of opportunity and loose enforcement of the law, Gardner developed into a narco-economy. Many of the locals grew cannabis in the 1980’s Regan Era War on Drugs during the days when marijuana was illegal. It was acceptable to drink alcohol and smoke pot when we became teenagers in Gardner. I think back to drinking booze and smoking after work as well as at local Christmas parties in Gardner in front of teachers. When we got to high school in Walsenburg there a vast amount of pot, liquor and even blow. At age 15 I took that rocky road. When you get thrown in the fire this young, it's hard to recover from substance abuse. The demons of violence and alcohol haunted me for 20 years.
At rock bottom, I hurt a lot of people including those who cared most about me. I was sent to prison for four years in 2002 after running a Mexican National down with a car at 2:00 a.m. after being attacked with a knife on the East Side of Pueblo leaving a bar. Talk about poor choices and mistakes we make using substances! I will not half linger when it comes to the hurt my drinking and bad behavior caused to so many people. Words can't express enough how sincerely sorry I am to any and all people my behavior ever hurt while I traveled on that rocky outlaw road. I'm a firm believer that when poor choices are made you take responsibility for them. This is where I put it all out there and apologize and take responsibility for my poor choices and actions during this outlaw road. I will not make excuses.
I was given four years to think long and hard about my conduct in the Colorado Department of Corrections. When you sober up and have time to think things over, you see things much more clearly. I made the best of my circumstances. I finished my last semester and earned my degree in Sociology from CSU-Pueblo and completed my certification as a paralegal. I went to church and Bible study five days a week. I became an ordained Christian Minister while incarcerated. I studied law and helped countless others find justice and medical care with those skills. I went out of my way to help Spanish speaking inmates with legal filings to help them return to their home countries and save Colorado taxpayers. When released, I had a parole letter and job reference from the Pueblo Chief of Police, Jim Billings. I have references of support from the Sherriff of Pueblo at that time, Dan Corsentino as well.
I found a job volunteering for Catholic Charities/CICI helping immigrants with their legal path to citizenship upon release. I was hired for my supervisor’s position. Local attorney, Janet Kinniry, wrote a letter and got me approved to work as a state contractor for the Alternate Defense Counsel as a paralegal fighting for justice in the same courts I was processed through as an offender only a few years previously. I worked successfully as a paralegal while completing parole.
After I completely stopped drinking alcohol years ago, I began to truly fight for my community. In Huerfano County, we had three times higher rates than any other county in Colorado from overdoses from opioids. I organized multiple PhDs, doctors and professionals to form the Helping End the Opioid Epidemic project to fight the opioid epidemic in Huerfano County. I hooked up with some of my NFL contacts to host the All-Southern Colorado Free Football Camp for local kids. I lead fundraising efforts to save La Clinica in Gardner from several defunct years of tax liens.
Recently, I have been fighting the water corruption and mismanagement concern that I and many others have encountered locally in Huerfano County. I REFUSE to stand by while corrupt state actors abandon and steal our water owned privately by ranchers. I REFUSE to stand by and allow our ponds to all be attacked, breached and dried up. I REFUSE to allow developers from the Denver Metro area to drain our rural communities of water resources. I REFUSE to stand by and watch corrupt inside dealings of water by the officials in positions designed to protect our public waters.
I never had any intention to run for public office. I was CHOSEN by Democrats in Huerfano County to serve as a Delegate to vote and choose the candidate at Senate District 35 Assembly. I showed up at Assembly where there was no candidate willing to run for office in this 60/40 Republican dominated district. "Desperate times call for desperate measures." I stepped up in a vacuum and nominated for Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate District 35. I carried 100% of the Delegates' vote and secured our slot on the November ballot. I am willing to fight for all people in Senate District 35 regardless of the odds stacked against us. I have made a conscious choice to not fight in an adversarial manner but to fight in advocacy for all people in Rural Colorado. I will use my unique experience, strength, and hope to work for my community and better our society. I will not sugar coat the hard path that brought me here. I own my past and will not be hobbled by the poor choices made as a young man. We all have made mistakes and poor choices and without mistakes there is no room for growth and learning.
"He that is without sin feel free to cast the first stone."
I understand that I may not be the candidate for every voter. My skeletons are in ..y front yard versus hidden in a closet or buried under the House. I FIGHT for all people in Rural Colorado. I am appalled by what our political system has become and the extreme views of the far left and right today. We need to meet in the middle and address the desperate needs in Rural Colorado. I do not care if you are a Democrat, Independent or Republican. If you live in Rural Colorado, I will fight for you regardless. If my message resonates with you, please allow me the honor of receiving your vote this November 6th. I will fight for you regardless of your support or partisan political opinion.
Travis Star Nelson
Candidate for Colorado Senate District 35