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!
Little did I know, this would be a metaphor for the roads to come.
Thankfully, I had amazing parents and step-parents. My father David “Arizona Star” Nelson and my stepmom Jan built a successful fence building company on the Western Slope and bought an appaloosa ranch with their countless years of hard work. I learned about solid work ethic, ranching, and building barbed wire fences from my dad.
My mom, Johnnye, worked as a secretary and bookkeeper. She also worked at the local clinic in Gardner called “La Clinica". Growing up, my mother taught me about relentless community service. She was a woman of action. She led the efforts to create the Gardner Summer Kids Program, Gardner Library, and local 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 was an interesting community to say the least! Roughly, one third of the residents were tough and loving Hispanics who had been in the community for countless generations. Another third of the residents were Anglo ranchers who ran cattle and sheep.
I was a product of the last third of the population.
In the 1970’s, the counterculture attracted hippies into the area that moved into the Upper Huerfano Valley by the hundreds. This melting pot made for an amazing community that looked out for one another. There was limited law enforcement other than our local sheriff, the toughest local outlaw! He 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 could ever meet.
Gardner was a wild and 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 a Saturday night. Many of the older generations in Gardner were true outlaws. Employment was difficult to find unless you were working on a ranch. This was hard work and the pay was only $20 per day. You could also find work planting trees in the Spring.
Living in wild and 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, if you know what I mean.
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”. 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 my teachers. When we got to high school in Walsenburg, there was a vast amount of pot, liquor and even cocaine. Unfortunately, at age 15 I chose to travel that rocky road. When you get thrown in the fire this young, it is much harder to recover from substance abuse. The demons of violence and alcohol haunted me for 20 years.
While at rock-bottom, I hurt a lot of people, including those who cared the most about me. I was sent to prison for four long 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 hide when it comes to the hurt my drinking and bad behavior caused to so many people. Words can not express enough how sincerely sorry I am to any and all people my behavior ever hurt while I traveled down that rocky outlaw road.
I am 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 while 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 final semester and earned a 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, which also saved Colorado taxpayers in the process. When released, I had a parole and job reference letters from the Pueblo Chief of Police, Jim Billings. Dan Corsentino, who was the Sheriff of Pueblo at that time, wrote references of support 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’ 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 prior. I worked successfully as a paralegal while completing parole.
Years ago, after I completely stopped drinking alcohol, I began to truly fight for my community. In Huerfano County, we had a rate which was three times higher than any other county in Colorado due to overdoses from opioids. I organized many doctors and professionals to form the “Helping End the Opioid Epidemic” project to fight the problem in Huerfano County. I hooked up with some of my NFL contacts to host the “All-Southern Colorado Free Football Camp” for local youth. 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 concerns 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 very officials in positions designated 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 the Senate District 35 Assembly. I showed up at the 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 was nominated for democratic candidate for Colorado Senate District 35. I carried 100% of the Delegate 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 I made as a young man. We have all made mistakes and poor choices. 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 my 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 today’s extreme views of both the far left and right. We need to meet in the middle and address the localized and desperate needs of 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. Thank you!
Travis Star Nelson
Candidate for Colorado Senate District 35