As we all know, the economy remains tough these days. But there are still jobs out there.
Like, for instance, Lieutenant Governor of Colorado -- a position currently being advertised on Craigslist.
No, it's not a joke. Jason R. Clark, an independent gubernatorial hopeful, needs to find a running mate by the end of the month, and he's casting as wide a net as possible. "When I do something, I try to include everybody and then make a decision," he says. "I go with my gut."
The ad itself is simple and straightforward. It reads:
Jason R. Clark for Governor of Colorado campaign is searching for a Lt. Governor candidate.
1. MUST be a registered unaffiliated (Independent) voter before June 15, 2009. 2. At least 30 years old. 3. Resident of Colorado for at least 2 years prior to November 2, 2010. 4. United States citizen.
• Location: COLORADO • Compensation: $68,500/year • OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities • OK for recruiters to contact this job poster. • Please, no phone calls about this job! • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
For Clark, finding a budding lieutenant governor, and finding one soon, is a necessity if he wants his campaign to get out of the starting blocks. The rules set up by the Secretary of State's office require that any candidate wishing to compete as an independent must have been registered as unaffiliated by June 15, 2009 -- one year before the June 15, 2010 deadline for submitting a petition sporting at least 1,000 signatures. Clark qualifies, but he didn't realize he'd have to line up a contestant for lieutenant governor who fits the same bill until April 30, when he initially tried to file his paperwork.
Although Clark takes responsibility for not knowing about this requirement ("I could have pushed harder," he says), he feels the Secretary of State's office needs to do a better job of filling in potential politicos. For instance, the info isn't in the standard candidate packet, he notes, nor does it appear in the online candidate petition form, which pertains to numerous offices, including state representatives.
He also feels this restriction is unfair in a general sense. As he stresses, Gunnison rep Kathleen Curry is currently encouraging a federal court to overturn this particular statute. Her motivation: Because she switched her affiliation from Democrat to independent after the June 15, 2009 deadline, she can't qualify to appear on the ballot thanks to this regulation, even though she's the incumbent.
Clark, a West Point grad who's currently a money manager for his own Clark Brothers firm, emphasizes that he's not putting all his eggs in the Craigslist basket. He's gathering names and seeking prospects from a number of sources. But he sees the online search as symbolic of his outside-of-the-box approach to tackling the state's many challenges.
"We're doing things totally differently from the way politicians are doing them," he says. "I truly believe in my heart that the way to solve problems in Colorado is to get independent thinkers involved. People who don't only move along party lines. Business people, entrepreneurs -- people who are more interested in getting Colorado moving again than in becoming career politicians. I think I can do this for four or eight years, but after that, I'm done."
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In regard to the responses his ad has generated so far, he resists breaking down percentages by serious inquiries versus goofs. "That's a judgment call, right?" he asks, laughing. But he's been impressed with the quality of quite a few contacts -- although, thus far, the best of the batch are folks who weren't listed as independents prior to the aforementioned deadline. "They'll say, 'I'm registered as a Republican, but I'll switch,'" he allows. "And unfortunately, that won't work."
However, he's got around fifteen new submissions he hasn't had a chance to examine thus far, giving him confidence that he'll find a worthy running mate by his planned announcement press conference, slated for 5 p.m. Friday, May 28, at the shuttered Mission Viejo library, 15324 E. Hamden Circle -- a venue chosen to highlight the closure of such branches. If he succeeds, he'll have just over two more weeks to round up those 1,000 signatures.
"Hopefully, we'll find someone we're really excited about," he says. "We want independent thinkers from people inside or outside of politics. We'll interview you, and select the best person for the job."
After that, the $68,500 per annum will be yours -- as long as you and Clark win the election in November...