Thornton council alum win higher offices

Four members of 2007-09 council elected to county, state seats


Steve Lebsock. Beth Martinez Humenik. Erik Hansen.

All these names were on ballots this year — for house, senate and county commissioner seats; and all of them won their races.

But they share another commonality —serving together during the same time period on Thornton City Council.

They were joined on council by another name that appeared on the ballot this year — Carol Beckler, who lost by only 216 votes against the incumbent for House District 31. Another county commissioner, Eva Henry, also served on the same city council.

“It’s pretty amazing that there were that many people with that much ability,” said Hansen, who was re-elected to the District 3 county commissioner seat. “I think the 2007-2009 City Council was one of the best, or the best, the city ever had.”

Henry and Lebsock shared the same sentiment as Hansen.

“It was an amazing group of us that seem to come together all at once,” Henry said.

Lebsock said the council members he served with were focused on doing the best for the city and its citizens.

“I did know I was serving with others on City Council who would be successful at whatever they decided to do in the future,” he said. “During that time period I believe we knew we would be working with each other in the future in different capacities.”

After serving on council from 2003 through 2011, Lebsock was first elected as the House District 34 representative in 2012.Henry also was elected to a higher office that year. She served on council from 2007 until she was sworn in as the District 1 county commissioner in 2013.

“I think what was so great was we were able to work bipartisan — it didn’t matter if you were republican or democrat, we were able to solve problems together,” said Henry, a Democrat.

Hansen, a Republican, served as a Thornton council member from 2001 through 2007 before becoming mayor in 2008.He was first elected to the District 3 county commissioner seat in 2010 and re-elected for his second term this November.

“I think City Council in that time frame was a pretty effective council we did a lot of things that were beneficial to the city,” he said. “We bought the land at 144th and I-25; if it weren’t for that we wouldn’t have Cabela’s.”

Hansen also noted the work council did to develop the area at Holly Street and 136th Avenue, and the efforts everyone made at that time to bring FasTracks to the Thornton area.

“These are big things that we accomplished,” he said. “We laid the groundwork to make these things happen.”

Henry ticked off some of the important accomplishments from that period being the implementation of the graffiti removal program — which has become a model for other cities across the nation; increased recycling by 80 percent and beginning to lobby at the national level for transportation funding.

“During that timeframe on city council, we made some very important policy decisions,” said Lebsock, a Democrat.

A couple of those important policy decisions, he said, were allowing same-sex partners of city employees to get the same benefits of married couples and making a change in policy that the city could not discriminate employees because of sexual orientation.

Lebsock noted the effort made in transportation.

“Also during that time we worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation to ensure that the 84th and I-25 interchange was a high priority of the state,” he said, adding that the city chipped in funding to get the bridge rebuilt.

Beckler served on council from 2001 to 2009 and said a lot of the motivation to continue to do public service is the desire to want to do what’s best for Thornton. She said leadership has been a key reason the city has been successful.

“I think Jack Ethredge is probably the best city manager any city could have,” said the Republican, adding that he was good at presenting both sides of an issue.

Humenik, the Republican elected to serve Senate District 24, started on council in 2007.

She said the opportunity to serve as a state senator may be a once in lifetime chance to do something that will make a difference for the greater good.

“I have learned that you cannot help institute change if you are not willing to step up to the plate, drive it and be an integral part of it,” Humenik said.

Local leadership provided her an opportunity to be part of the short- and long-term vision for the city, she said.

“Policy decisions have been made that are in line with the mission and vision for the city,” she said, “not just for the time being, but for what will be in the community’s best interests long after we are all no longer here. 


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment