Sal Pace

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Sal Pace
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 46th district
In office
January 7, 2009[1] – November 6, 2012
Preceded by Dorothy Butcher
Succeeded by Leroy Garcia
Personal details
Born (1976-12-14) December 14, 1976 (age 40)
New London, Connecticut
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marlene Valdez Pace
Religion Roman Catholic

Sal Pace (born December 14, 1976) is a County Commissioner in Pueblo County, Colorado and is a former American legislator from the U.S. state of Colorado. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2008, Pace represented House District 46, which encompasses western Pueblo, Colorado from 2008 to 2012.[2] During his time at the statehouse, Pace was elected as the Colorado House minority leader. In 2012, he ran against incumbent congressman Republican Scott Tipton in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, although Tipton was ultimately re-elected.[3]


He and his wife, Marlene Valdez Pace, live in Pueblo, Colorado with their three children.[4][5]

Early life, education, and academic career[edit]

Pace, the youngest of nine children, moved to Colorado as a teenager. He attended Fort Lewis College, where he majored in political science and was appointed by the State Board of Agriculture to serve on a search committee for a Fort Lewis College president. He then attended Louisiana State University, earning a master's degree in American Political Theory.[4]

Pace has taught American government at Pueblo Community College and CSU-Pueblo.[6] He has also served on the Pueblo City Schools (D60) Strategic Plan Core Team, as an organizer for Enable America, as a Colorado Democratic Party Regional Director in 2002, and is a member of Sons of Italy of Southern Colorado.

Public service[edit]

Pace served as a legislative aide to State Representative John Salazar in the Colorado House of Representatives, where he worked on water and health care legislation. When Salazar was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Pace continued to work for him, as a District Director, a Congressional staffer, and as the manager of Salazar's 2006 re-election campaign.[4][7]

Legislative career[edit]

2008 election[edit]

Pace ran for Colorado's 46th House District. He won the nomination at the Pueblo County Assembly, keeping his only opponent off the ballot, while receiving greater than 70% of the delegate vote. Pace faced no opposition in the August Democratic primary,[8] or the November 2008 general election.[9]

2009 legislative session[edit]

After winning a term in the legislature in November 2008, Pace was elected Assistant Majority Caucus Chair by state house Democrats.[10]

Following his election, Pace requested that the state auditor investigate the bidding process for a new Colorado Department of Corrections headquarters, in which Pueblo's bid was rated last of five bids, despite being the least expensive.[11]

For the 2009 legislative session, Pace served on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee.[12]

Pace sponsored legislation to remove Social Security benefits and severance pay as reasons for lowering state unemployment benefits.[13] Just prior to the start of the 2010 legislative session, Pace was named vice-chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.[14]

2010 legislative session[edit]

After Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 elections, Pace was elected as House Minority leader by his peers; a position he held until 2012.

2010 election[edit]

In the general election, Pace defeated Republican Steven Rodriguez by 69% to 31%.[15][16]

2011 legislative session[edit]

Following the 2010 election, Pace was selected by his peers as House Minority Leader for the next general assembly beginning in January 2011. This was a post he held until November 2011.[17]

In 2011, Pace led opposition to the proposed Fiscal Year 2011-2012 state budget, which included $250 million in cuts to education, closing the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility and eliminating an addiction recovery program at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.[18] Pace announced that he would not seek reelection to his House district 46 seat in 2012, and would instead enter the race for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.

2012 legislative session[edit]

In 2012, Pace passed a bill to eliminate the estate tax on farming and ranching land,[19] and he sped up the air-quality approval process for the Pueblo steel mill and cement plant when the businesses faced a backlog at the state regulatory agency.[20] Pace resigned his position as House Minority Leader in 2012 to more-fully devote his attention to his campaign for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.

2012 Congressional election[edit]

Pace's race was touted as a primary example by Time Magazine of the role that so-called SuperPacs can play in winning an election. Having gotten close in the polls near October 1, the GOP money machine targeted the seat. Without Democrats matching, Pace ultimately lost.[21]

In May 2011, Pace announced plans to challenge freshman Republican Scott Tipton in the newly-redrawn Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.[22] His campaign has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the United Steelworkers, and the Blue Dog Coalition, among others.[23] The race was considered a toss up,[24] with both candidates statistically tied in early polling.[25]

In the 2012 General Election, Representative Pace faced Republican Congressman Scott Tipton. Tipton was declared the winner having been reelected by a margin of 53% to 41% with the remainder of the vote going to third-party candidates.[3][26][27]

Pueblo County[edit]

Pace currently serves as a County Commissioner in Pueblo County, Colorado. As one of three Commissioners, each elected County-wide, he represents the 161,000 residents of Pueblo County.[28] Pace was selected by the Pueblo County Democratic Vacancy Committee as the replacement for Former County Commissioner Jeff Chostner's seat.[29]


  1. ^ "House Journal - January 7, 2009" (pdf). Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  2. ^ "State House District 36". COMaps. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Denver Post - U.S. House 2012 Election Results". 
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ Ashby, Charles (10 January 2009). "Capitol Notes". Pueblo Chieftain. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  6. ^ "The Durango Herald - Local News - Sal Pace". 
  7. ^ Garner, Joe (20 October 2006). "Salazar-financed poll shows him with big lead". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  8. ^ "Colorado Statewide Cumulative Report - 2008 Primary Election". Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  9. ^ Editorial Board (17 October 2008). "Post's picks in Colorado's House of Representatives". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  10. ^ "Democratic Majority Elects New Leadership for 2009-2010 Session" (Press release). Colorado House Democrats. 6 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Ashby, Charles (14 November 2008). "DOC chief stands by Colorado Springs for new headquarters. The house is in session until May.". Pueblo Chieftain. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  12. ^ "House Democrats Unveil 2009 Committee Chairs & Assignments" (Press release). Colorado House Democrats. 18 November 2008. 
  13. ^ Ashby, Charles (29 January 2009). "Legislative Briefs". Pueblo Chieftain. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  14. ^ "McFayden named to replace Curry as speaker pro tem". Denver Post. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-05.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ "OFFICIAL RESULTS - GENERAL ELECTION". State of Colorado. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Sal Pace steps down as Colorado House Democratic leader". Denver Business Journal. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Malone, Patrick (11 April 2011). "Pace to lead House charge against budget". Pueblo Chieftain. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Colson, John (22 May 2012). "Hickenlooper signs bills at South Canyon gun range". Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Malone, Patrick (6 August 2011). "Steel mill permit on track for approval". Pueblo Chieftain. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (31 May 2011). "Sal Pace Announces Challenge To Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Press Kit - Endorsements" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Poll shows Pace, Tipton in statistical dead heat". Real Aspen. 3 Oct 2012. Retrieved 27 Oct 2012. 
  25. ^ Livingston, Abby (8 Oct 2012). "Montana Senate Race Is Key to GOP Gaining Control of Chamber". Roll Call. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "CO - Election Results - Colorado Secretary of State". 
  27. ^ "State House 2012 Election Results - Denver Post". 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Denver Post  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]