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Former legislator named to fill State Board vacancy

Lobbyist and former Republican legislator Steve Durham has been named to fill a vacancy on the State Board of Education.

Durham will replace chair Paul Lundeen on the seven-member elected board. Lundeen, a Republican from Monument, recently was elected to a seat in the state House.

First elected to the state House from Colorado Springs in 1974, Durham was elected to the Senate in 1980 but was appointed regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1981, a job he held until 1983. He was elected to the Senate for a second time in 1984.

Durham is one of the Capitol’s best-known lobbyists and is CEO of the lobbying firm Colorado Winning Edge. The company’s clients include the Colorado Association of Home Builders and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

According to filings with the Department of State, Durham’s clients also include CenturyLink, the city of Glendale, Colorado Association of Career Colleges and Schools, Colorado Gaming Association, Colorado Health Care Association, Colorado High School Activities Association, Colorado Rural Electric Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Durham will be the second board newcomer in January. Democrat Valentina Flores of the 1st District was elected in November.

During his time in the House, Durham was part of a group of insurgent Republicans known as the “House Crazies.” Also in that group were Tom Tancredo, who later was elected to Congress and ran unsuccessfully for governor, and the late Ann Gorsuch Burford, who later became national administrator of the EPA under President Reagan.

Members of the State Board are elected to six-year terms and represent districts that are identical to the state’s congressional districts. Durham will represent the 5th District, which primarily includes El Paso County.

When an elective office is vacated between elections, a successor is named by a vacancy committee made up of people from the same political party as the person who left the office. Lundeen was elected to the board in 2010.

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