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Meet The Candidates Hoping To Replace Former Greeley Rep. Rochelle Galindo

Matt Bloom/KUNC
Volunteers with the Weld County Democrats work in the party's Greeley office ahead of Sunday's vacancy committee vote.

A veteran, a dental office manager and the wife of Colorado Treasurer Dave Young are among the six candidates hoping to fill the office vacated by former House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo.

On Sunday, less than a month after Galindo’s abrupt resignation, a committee of 10 district residents is scheduled to elect a replacement. That meeting is open to the public.

KUNC obtained the resumes for each candidate and requested portraits and personal statements from each. Summaries are below.

Laura Fischer 


Credit Courtesy of Laura Fischer
Fischer is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.

"I have spent fifteen years as a nonprofit professional, and I believe in public service and making a difference in my community. Greeley, Evans, and Garden City have incredible potential and I could not be prouder to call this area home. I welcome the opportunity to combine my enthusiasm for our community wth my experience in the public sector to provide positive, practical leadership for House District 50," Fischer told KUNC. 

Fischer’s resume says she has more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, “including fundraising, public policy, strategic planning and communications.”

She works as a proposal manager for MediSked, a technology partner for human services organizations around the country. From 2014 to 2017, she worked as a development manager for another human services nonprofit, SRVS.

Before that, she was a research associate with The Aspen Institute. There, she managed data collection and drafted grant proposals.

She holds a bachelor's degree in social work and master’s degree in public administration form the University of Missouri and volunteers with the United Way of Weld County.

Brian Hughes 

Credit Courtesy of Brian Hughes
Brian Hughes is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.

"My desire to serve as the Representative for HD-50 is fueled by my belief that meaningful change happens from the bottom up, starting at the local and state level. I want to bring people together and work to find positive solutions to difficult issues. I want to help ensure access to quality education for all our residents and balance the need for local industry with the impact it may have on our environment and quality of life. I want credibility, transparency, and accountability in all levels of government," Hughes told KUNC.  

Hughes’ resume says he’s a “versatile management professional with expertise in building alliances and engagement within collaborative frameworks.”

He works as the managing director for OpenStage Theatre & Company. Before that, he served as the executive director for the Higher Ground Youth Challenge for one year.

From 2011 to 2017, he was the executive director of KRFC Radio in Fort Collins. There, he coordinated the training of more than 200 volunteers helped the station reverse a trend of declining listenership and messy finances, according to his resume.

Hughes holds a degree in speech communications from the University of Southern Colorado.

Jim Riesberg 


Credit Courtesy of Jim Riesberg
Jim Riesberg is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.

"I have a proven track record of dynamic leadership in the state legislature and a long history of dedicated service to improve the quality of life for all the residents of District 50. I want to share my life and work experience to create a dialogue to open the lines of communication with diverse groups of people so we can break through the existing animosity and create bi-partisan solutions to reach common goals," Riesberg told KUNC.  

Riesberg served as the House District 50 representative from 2005 to 2011. He went on to hold the office of Colorado Insurance Commissioner. He resigned from the role in 2013, citing personal reasons.

Since then, he’s served on the University of Northern Colorado’s College of Performing and Visual Arts board in addition to numerous other community committees, according to his resume.

Riesberg started teaching at John Evans Junior High School in Greeley during the 1960s. He also owned and operated a small business, Jim’s Tuxedo Rentals.

Reisberg's resume says he then moved away from Greeley in 1969 and worked in retail management, insurance sales and real estate sales. The resume didn’t specify where.

After returning to Greeley in 1986, he worked in nonprofit administration.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s degree in gerontology.

Riesberg and his wife Sharron have two children and five grandchildren, according to his resume.

Rhonda Solis 


Credit Courtesy of Rhonda Solis
Solis is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.


"I want to continue to represent my community on an even larger scale. We have a lot of things to work on and my experience in local elected office, working with community and getting things done makes me a good candidate to represent House District 50 at the Captiol," Solis told KUNC. 

Solis’ resume says she works as a dental office manager in Windsor. She’s also a student enrolled in the University of Denver’s Latino Leadership Institute.

Solis is a Greeley-Evans School District 6 board member and a court appointed special advocate. Solis’ other community service experience involves working as a election judge supervisor in Weld County, serving as vice chair of the Weld County Tobacco Coalition and as a member of the Weld County Democrats Executive Committee.

Solis is a graduate of Greeley West High School.

Ray Talley 


Credit Courtesy of Ray Talley
Ray Talley is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.

"I see the potential this district has and, with the right representation and support, this community will grow to be more accommodating, accessible, and affordable," Talley told KUNC.

Talley’s resume says he’s a student engagement specialist at Zero Dropout, an “education social enterprise” founded in Colorado in 2011. The organization’s website says it works one-on-one with students from elementary to post-secondary levels to reduce dropout rates.

He worked as a part-time case manager at North Range Behavioral Health in Greeley from 2016 to 2018. Talley also served one tour in Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom, according to his resume.

Talley graduated from South Dakota State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He’s also enrolled in an online master’s program for social work with the University of North Dakota.

Mary Young 


Credit Courtesy of Mary Young
Mary Young is a candidate for the vacant House District 50 seat.

“We need to continue to expand and deepen students access to mental health services as the STEM students so effectively chanted at the memorial service after the shooting at their school,” Young said in a personal statement on her resume. “This obviously impacts school safety.”

Young works as a school psychologist in Greeley. She also serves in several roles with the Weld County Democratic Party. Young is the party’s precinct captain and sits on the executive committee.

Young has also worked on her husband, Dave Young’s past campaigns for House District 50 seat and state treasurer.

Mary Young holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Mary’s of Notre Dame in Indiana, a master’s degree in teaching the emotionally disturbed from Duke University in North Carolina and a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Dave Young is a member of the Weld County vacancy committee and has recused himself from Sunday’s vote.


Credit galindoforcolorado.com
A map of Colorado House District 50. The district includes more than 80,000 residents of Greeley, Evans and Garden City.

Meeting details

The House District 50 vacancy committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. on June 2 at the Lincoln Park Library in Greeley

Tommy Butler, the committee chair, said each candidate will give an opening statement and undergo 15 minutes of questioning from the committee. The group will draw lots to determine the order.

Following each candidate’s interview, the committee will hold a public discussion about the applicants before making a final vote. A candidate must receive at least 6 votes to win appointment.

Butler, who is also a Greeley City Council candidate, said he’ll vote for the candidate most passionate about helping the district’s more than 80,000 residents.

“There’s a lot of working people in HD 50 and they want stuff that’s going to help working families,” Butler said. “The bills that got passed in the legislature last year predominantly did end up help working families and I think that we need to appoint somebody who is going to fight for (them).”

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.
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