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John Salazar
Rep John Salazar.jpg
Agriculture Commissioner of Colorado
In office
January 6, 2011 – December 31, 2014
GovernorJohn Hickenlooper
Preceded byJohn Stulp
Succeeded byDon Brown
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byScott McInnis
Succeeded byScott Tipton
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 62nd district
In office
January 8, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byGlenn Scott[1]
Succeeded byRafael Lopez Gallegos
Personal details
John Tony Salazar

(1953-07-21) July 21, 1953 (age 67)
Alamosa, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Lou Salazar[2]
RelativesKen Salazar (brother)
EducationAdams State University (BS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1973–1976
UnitCriminal Investigation Division

John Tony Salazar (born July 21, 1953) is the former Congressman for Colorado's 3rd congressional district, serving from 2005 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Following his service in Congress, he was appointed as Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the Cabinet of Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011, and announced his retirement as Commissioner in November 2014.[3][4]

Early life, education and career

Salazar was born in Alamosa, Colorado, the son of Emma M. (Montoya) and Henry (Enrique) S. Salazar.[5][6] His younger brother is former Senator Ken Salazar.

Salazar served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1976, and is a farmer and rancher.[2] His formal education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Adams State College in 1981. Salazar was the owner of an internet company,, which marketed potatoes, as well as serving as a director of Monte Vista Production Credit Union and Agro Engineering, Inc.[7]

Salazar served on several Colorado public bodies including the Governor's Economic Development Advisory Board, the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Forum.[7] He also served on the Colorado Agricultural Commission from 1999 to 2002 before being elected to the Colorado House of Representatives from 2003 until 2004.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Political positions

Salazar was concerned with water rights in particular.[8] He said his top priority on Capitol Hill was to ensure that water derived from the snow melt of Colorado's Western Slope would stay in his district instead of being sent to California or Nevada.

Though a Democrat, he exhibited conservative leanings. He opposed expanding gun control and supported permanent repeal of the inheritance tax and lower taxes.[8] He also supports allowing Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. He was a member of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats,[9] leading him to oppose Democratic priority measures such as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009.[10][11] During consideration of the Affordable Care Act, he voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment restricting federal funding of elective abortions. However, he also voted for the Senate version of the health care bill lacking the Stupak Amendment language.[12]

As a veteran, a son of a veteran, and father of a child serving in the Colorado National Guard as of 2004, Salazar was also vocal against cuts to veterans' benefits. Salazar introduced the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, designed to protect the integrity of medals, to the House of Representatives, which he has cited as his best achievement in politics.[2]

Salazar was considered for the post of Secretary of Agriculture by Barack Obama but Tom Vilsack was chosen instead.[13][14]

Political campaigns


Salazar was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004.[7] His election to succeed retiring Republican Scott McInnis was one of the most contested House elections of the year.[7] Salazar defeated Greg Walcher who had attacked Salazar as being soft on illegal immigration,[7][15] while Salazar criticised Walcher for his previous support of a failed 2003 referendum which he said would have diverted water from the district, an important issue in western Colorado.[15][16] In a year when Republicans made gains, John Salazar was only one of three Democratic pick-up seats in the House of Representatives.[17]


John Salazar was re-elected in 2006 after his first term in Congress defeating Republican Scott Tipton.[18] John Salazar raised almost three times as much money as Tipton and won over 60% of the vote, including more Republican areas of the district.[19] Salazar had campaigned as a moderate, middle of the road candidate, with the opinion polls having shown him ahead in the election.[19]


Salazar won in 2008 with a similar margin as 2006 defeating rancher and county commissioner Wayne Wolf.[20] Salazar had a massive fundraising advantage over Wolf who only had about $16,000 for the campaign.[20]


Salazar was defeated for re-election by Republican Scott Tipton. Tipton had unsuccessfully challenged Salazar in 2006. Libertarian Gregory Gilman and Independent Jake Segrest were also on the ballot; Independents John W. Hargis, Sr. and James Fritz qualified as write-in candidates.

Electoral history

Colorado's 3rd congressional district: Results 2004–2010[21][22]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2004 John Salazar 153,500 50.9% Greg Walcher 141,376 46.9% Jim Krug Independent 6,770 2.2% *
2006 John Salazar 146,488 61.6% Scott Tipton 86,930 36.5% Bert Sargent Libertarian 4,417 1.9% Bruce Lohmiller Green (Write-in) 23 0.01%
2008 John Salazar 196,214 61.4% Wayne Wolf 123,346 38.6%
2010 John Salazar 118,048 45.8% Scott Tipton 129,257 50.1%

Personal life

Salazar is married to Mary Lou Salazar and has three children: Esteban, Miguel and Jesus. They live in Manassa, Colorado.

Salazar's younger brother, Ken Salazar, is a former United States Senator from Colorado and the former Secretary of the Interior appointed by President Barack Obama.

See also

Popular Culture

John Salazar is briefly mentioned at the very beginning of the video game Outlast, on the radio of the protagonist's vehicle.


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - CO State House 62 Race - Nov 05, 2002".
  2. ^ a b c "John Salazar says he'll fight for water, agriculture, vets". Rocky Mountain News. October 8, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  3. ^ Commissioner Salazar Bio-Colorado Department of Agriculture
  4. ^ "Colorado Ag Commissioner John Salazar Retiring". November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b c d e "Salazar wins tussle for open Colorado seat". The New York Times. November 3, 2004. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "There's electoral gold in those hills". The Economist. October 26, 2006. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
  9. ^ "Salazar says he's content with committee appointment". Rocky Mountain News. December 11, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  10. ^ "Udall, Salazar support stimulus". Steamboat Pilot & Today. October 22, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  11. ^ "Salazar decision ruffles political feathers". Glenwood Springs Post Independent. July 5, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  12. ^ Olka. "Updating The Health Care Whip Count - Hotline On Call". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "John Salazar says he may be considered for agriculture secretary". Rocky Mountain News. December 3, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  14. ^ Critic, Television (December 18, 2008). "Obama to name LaHood, Schapiro to top posts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2009.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b "Colorado: Tough Race Too Close To Call". Fox News Channel. November 3, 2004. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  16. ^ "Water Tempts Thirsty Voters in Colorado's 3rd District". Fox News Channel. October 11, 2004. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  17. ^ "GOP builds on House majority". CNN. November 4, 2004. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  18. ^ "Democrats make gains in Colorado". USA Today. November 8, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  19. ^ a b "Salazar having no problems, even in GOP strongholds". Rocky Mountain News. November 8, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2009.[dead link]
  20. ^ a b "3RD DISTRICT: John Salazar on way to victory". The Denver Post. November 5, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  21. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk: U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  22. ^ "House of Representatives Map". The New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2009.

External links

Colorado House of Representatives
Preceded by
Glenn Scott
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 62nd district

Succeeded by
Rafael Lopez Gallegos
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott McInnis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Scott Tipton
Political offices
Preceded by
John Stulp
Agriculture Commissioner of Colorado
Succeeded by
Don Brown
This page was last edited on 2 January 2021, at 10:59
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