© 2024 Aspen Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grand Junction mayor Anna Stout cites local experience, community ties in race for Boebert’s CD3 seat

Anna Stout poses for a picture in front of the Railroad Bridge in the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction. Stout is running for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District
Courtesy Anna Stout for Congress
Anna Stout poses for a picture in front of the Railroad Bridge in the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction. Stout is running for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District

Grand Junction Mayor and Democrat Anna Stout has thrown her hat in the ring to challenge U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO).

Stout was raised in Grand Junction, and was elected to City Council in 2019. She served as mayor pro-tem from 2021-22, and was appointed mayor by her fellow council members in 2022. She was re-appointed earlier this year. Stout is also the CEO of the Roice-Hurst Humane Society in Grand Junction, and worked for years as a Spanish language interpreter.

In an interview with Aspen Public Radio, she said all of that experience in public service has allowed her to connect with many people in the area long before her campaign kicked off.

Stout also said the economic development she’s overseen on Grand Junction's city council is a story lots of communities in Western Colorado can relate to.

“This used to be a community that marketed itself because of our cheap labor,” she said. “And now we’re a community that markets ourself because of all of the amenities, and the strength of our economy, the strength of our culture, the strength of our outdoor recreation.”

Mesa County has historically voted Republican, and Boebert won the county in 2022 with 58% of the vote. The Cook Political Report recently rated the district a toss-up in its analysis of 2024 congressional races. In Grand Junction, Stout said she’s no stranger to working across the aisle to get things done.

“The way you get things done in Western Colorado is by working with people across the ideological and political spectrum,” she said. “And so this is something that I have a history of doing. I've been doing this here as mayor, but also as a community leader in general for well over a decade. So building relationships and being able to find common cause with somebody, and then working to accomplish that regardless of what letter comes after your name, has been a major part of my work here and my success, frankly, in this community.”

Some of the issues Stout wants to address in Washington include housing, water rights, immigration reform, and reproductive healthcare.

“Our right to choose is a right that is under siege,” she said. “And I think we need a woman to go to Washington to fight for this, because it's personal to me. It's something that impacts me. It affects me. And so I think that it's critical that when we look at who we want to be our candidate, to unseat Lauren Boebert and then go fight and advocate for us in D.C. I think it needs to be a woman.”

Her work experience has brought her to the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys many times, and Stout says she understands these communities better because of it.

“I have been working throughout the Roaring Fork Valley for years, throughout Western and southern Colorado for years,” she said. “In fact, as an interpreter, I covered most of the state and there was a point in time that I was driving to Rifle, Glenwood (Springs), Aspen, literally on a daily basis. There were some weeks that I was on the road five days a week driving to that region to serve as an interpreter.”

She said that created connections with voters in CD3 long before she ever considered running for Congress.

“I’ve been there for some very pivotal moments in their life, whether those were medical appointments, or court cases, or business deals," she said. "Being able to interact effectively and competently and culturally with somebody is really important, not just during a campaign, but in general.”

Stout will be in Aspen next week at the Pitkin County Democrats’ annual fundraiser.

Stout is running against former Aspen city councilor Adam Frisch in the Democratic primary, which will take place on June 25, 2024.

Frisch came within 600 votes of Boebert in the 2022 general election.

Delanie Bomar of the National Republican Congressional Committee provided the following statement on the primary:

“While Anna Stout and Adam Frisch battle it out for who can go the farthest to the Left in their quest for the Democrat (sic) nomination, Republicans are delivering real results by creating jobs and protecting water rights in the district. It doesn’t matter who gets the Democrat (sic) nomination, they will be left broke, bruised and unpalatable for general election voters.”

Editor's note: a previous version of this story stated Stout was appointed mayor earlier this year. That is not correct: she was originally appointed in 2022, and was re-appointed this year. It also said Stout was born in Grand Junction, but her family moved to the city when she was three years old. This story has been corrected to reflect these changes.

Caroline Llanes is a general assignment reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering everything from local governments to public lands. Her work has been featured on NPR. Previously, she was an associate producer for WBUR’s Morning Edition in Boston.