Army veteran and incumbent State Sen. Nick Hinrichsen was appointed to his seat in February, 2022 following the departure of Leroy Garcia. In his day job, Hinrichsen serves as the Pueblo Transit's Operations Supervisor. His one-year legislative record paints a picture a man who cares deeply about the safety, security, and dignity of his community.
Hinrichsen was one of the key legislators that helped distribute excess TABOR funds quickly and more equitably. A supporter of organized labor, Hinrichson pushed collective bargaining rights in the 2022 legislative session. Another key issue that he hopes to continue to support in the state legislature is reproductive justice.
Stephen Varela is the Republican candidate. As president of a local charter school's board, Varela has generated a fair amount of controversy and community frustration. Several school staff members have resigned in protest over questionable leadership decisions from Varela and the school's CEO. One such incident involved a Republican political rally held in the school's gym instead of an annual charity basketball tournament. On another more recent occasion, Varela attended a Republican event that featured Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz (Gaetz is currently under investigation in a federal sex-trafficking probe). Varela is staunchly against abortion rights and signed on to the Colorado Republican Party platform that calls for a Texas-style law that criminalizes those who help someone receive abortion care. Varela would be a serious danger to progressive interests if elected.
In one of the state's closest state senate races, with legislative majorities on the line, progressives should support Nick Hinrichsen.