Many aspiring politicians dream of moving to Washington D.C. But former Democratic 4th Congressional District Rep. Betsy Markey is moving from D.C. to Colorado to mull over a return to politics.
“I missed Colorado, I missed my family, I missed my home, my friends and it was time to come back,” she says.
The one-time congresswoman has been out of the political limelight for just over two years. Since losing her re-election bid in 2010 to Cory Gardner, Markey has kept a lower profile in Washington overseeing the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
Right now Markey’s busy remodeling her Old Town Fort Collins house that she shares with her husband, Jim Kelly. She has three grown children, two of which live in the Denver area. The third is serving in the Peace Corps in Africa.
During a recent visit, the entry way was filled with boxes. The first floor living room was completely devoid of furniture. Blue paint swatches covered the walls. Instead of staffers, Markey was followed around the house by her golden lab, Bella, and her daughter’s rat terrier, Willa.
In her spare time, Markey says she’s considering a return to politics—although she won’t say for which office.
“I’m looking at a couple of possibilities possibly statewide,” she says. “I don’t think I have run for my last political office, but I haven’t made any decisions at this point.”
Markey says she feels a strong pull to government service. It’s a desire that remains strong even after a bruising 2010 re-election campaign. Her vote for health care reform sparked outrage in her conservative district, and resulted in some of the most contentious town hall meetings across the country. It’s a vote she says she doesn’t regret.
“At the end of the day, you have to look at policy above politics. I do believe it’s good policy; we will see that over next couple of years. Particularly next year as exchanges around the country are in place,” she says.
Over the years Markey says she’s learned a lot about work-life balance. And some of those things run contrary to Washington wisdom about staying on the treadmill at all costs.
“My thought is that I will get back in when the time is right for me, when the time is right for my family, and when I know I’m doing the right thing.”