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Mary Young To Replace Former Greeley Rep. Rochelle Galindo

Matt Bloom/KUNC
Mary Young addresses the crowd at the Lincoln Park Library in Greeley after winning the vacancy committee vote.

House District 50’s new state representative is a local school psychologist, University of Northern Colorado graduate and Weld Democratic Party volunteer. She’s also married to state treasurer Dave Young.

A committee of Weld County Democrats met in Greeley on Sunday and selected Mary Young to replace former House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo. Young won the seat with a majority six votes out of the nine-member vacancy committee.

The election comes less than a month after Galindo stepped down amid criminal allegations and a recall effort. KUNC’s Matt Bloom was at the meeting. He spoke to Morning Edition Host Kyra Buckley about the vote and Young’s background.

There were six very different candidates hoping to take Galindo’s seat … including a veteran, a District 6 school board member and a former House District 50 rep. Tell us what happened and who won.

About 40 to 50 people gathered in a small conference room in a downtown library to essentially watch a bunch of job interviews. One by one each candidate came up … and a panel of nine party representatives interviewed them. After about three hours, they voted and after the ballots were then counted — the winner was Mary Young.

You looked through all the candidates' resumes ahead of the vote — tell us a little bit about Young and what she hopes to do now.

Young is a school psychologist. She’s worked at several different schools in Greeley and Evans. She says the issue at the top of her mind is getting more state funding dedicated to mental health resources in public schools. Young wants to expand something called the K-5 Social and Emotional Health Act, which gives grants to schools that want to beef up their number of counselors. Here she is.

They did a bill this year to increase mental health funding for schools. But the year before, they had applications that they weren't able to fill for grants. I need to look at that map and see after this latest round...Who isn't getting served? Are they not applying for the grants? Do they have adequate funding?

Young said one of the first things she’ll do is reach out to some of the state legislators that worked on that bill.

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.

The district’s last representative faced the threat of a recall. Supporters of that effort said it was because she helped pass Senate Bill 181, which was a big overhaul of oil and gas regulations. What did Young say about that?

That was clearly on her mind... and she said her plan was to immediately start knocking on doors and reaching out to some of the people involved with the Galindo recall:

One of the things I intend to do is work with people and so, I would talk to the people who were concerned and started that recall. And find areas of concordance. I know that a lot of people aren’t even from this local area. It’s important for me to ferret out what the issues of the people of House District 50 are.

The interesting twist out of Sunday’s vote is Young is also the wife of state treasurer Dave Young. And he was also the district’s representative before that. What did she say about that?

It came up a couple times during her interview and with me. Dave Young is actually a member of the vacancy committee, but he recused himself from the vote. Mary Young told me their relationship only helps her and the residents of the district. She’s had a lot of previous experience helping out with her husband’s campaigns … which will come in handy when she runs for re-election next year.

So, it sounds like she intends on staying in this seat. House District 50 is the only district in Weld County with a Democratic legislator. Does the party feel confident about their chances in 2020?

I talked to Tommy Butler about this. He’s the head of the vacancy committee. He said Young’s challenge will be taking on her new job while really getting to know the diverse and evolving population in HD 50:

So many people are moving into our state and we have to keep every person in mind. We have to keep the people that have lived here for decades, we have to keep people who are young and buying a home for the first time and we have to keep those new people in mind … they have a diverse set of a opinions and we have to go and find out what those are.

Young still needs to be sworn in, which party representatives told me will happen in a special ceremony at the state Capitol sometime later this month.

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