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Democrat will challenge Odom for commission seat

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Tighe touts auditing credentials

By Emile Hallez

Democrat Casey Tighe has the lofty goal of unseating Jeffco Commissioner John Odom in November, and the Colorado Department of Transportation audit director is ending his 24-year career to focus completely on his campaign.

Tighe, a longtime Golden resident who filed his candidate affidavit on Jan. 27, said he does not foresee a highly charged, partisan race for the District 2 seat, which in recent years has been dominated by Republicans.

A Republican vacancy committee appointed Odom to fill the seat vacated by former commissioner Kevin McCasky a year ago, when McCasky accepted a job as head of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corp.

“I don’t know that this will be a real partisan race,” Tighe said. “You’re looking for someone who will run an effective government.”

The last Democrat to fill an elected office in Jefferson County was former commissioner Kathy Hartman, who in 2010 was defeated by District 3 Commissioner Don Rosier, a Republican. Hartman was also the first Democrat elected to the seat in 14 years when she won the office in 2006.

But despite the local electorate’s historically conservative leanings, Tighe, 52, said his auditing expertise will make him a competitive candidate.

“I can provide a fresh set of eyes and perspective as a county commissioner,” said Tighe, who was serving on the county audit committee last year when the current Board of Commissioners dissolved it. “I try to make my decisions based on the facts … and not purely on ideology. There’s a lot of talk right now about cutting government … but you need to make the right decisions about where can you cut and where you focus the government’s efforts.”

Further, county residents are interested in a business-friendly atmosphere, he said, an insight that does not appear lost on the current board.

“I know Jefferson County. I know what the people are looking for. … People are interested in business development. They want to see businesses grow,” Tighe said, adding that county services should be streamlined and helpful. “The government should be elegant in that the customer has a positive experience. … It should be an efficient process. You shouldn’t have to go back again to get service.”

Odom, who was defeated in the 2010 state Senate District 20 race, said he remains confident in his bid.

“I don’t know him. Jefferson is a conservative/Republican-leaning county. I’m confident that this year’s election will show that again,” Odom said, adding that he did not meet many audit committee members, as he was only in office for a month when the committee was dissolved. A new committee, with an official charter, is currently being assembled. “I never met anybody from that committee besides the elected officials.”

Tighe, who moved to Jeffco in 1976 before leaving the state to attend college, has lived in the Applewood neighborhood since 1989. He graduated from Green Mountain High School before studying journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder and earning a law degree from Creighton University. He practiced law for three years in Arvada before accepting a job with CDOT.

Though he does not have a timeline from switching his full-time focus from his auditing career to the campaign, Tighe said he plans to retire from CDOT soon.

“I’m going to be leaving CDOT to focus on the campaign. … I’ve worked there for 25 years, and it’s been a great experience,” he said. “This is my first race, and it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I’m trying to figure out how to do this.”

 

Contact Emile Hallez at emile@evergreenco.comor 303-933-2233, ext. 22.