UFCW's Crisanta Duran to run for a House seat

Crisanta Duran recently lost one election -- a bid for secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7. But she's got her eye on another office.

The 29-year-old currently works there as personal counsel to her father, union boss Ernest Duran Jr., who also lost a bid for re-election to Kim Cordova, a longtime Safeway-bakery-clerk-turned-union-rep-turned-Safeway-bakery-clerk. Some attributed the loss to allegations of nepotism and questionable spending of union money by the Duran family. (Read more about Local 7's messy election in this week's feature, "Can a Mild-Mannered Bakery Clerk Solve the Grocery Workers' Labor Strife?")

Now, however, Crisanta Duran has her sights set on the Colorado House.

She recently announced her candidacy to represent House District 5, a neighborhood that encompasses parts of Capitol Hill, the Highlands and Sunnyside, in the state legislature. She's one of four Democrats vying to replace term-limited Rep. Joel Judd.

On her website, Duran touts her Colorado roots and political experience. She also stresses her ties to District 5; she says she's attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on 36th Avenue and Kalamath Street since she was eight-years old, has volunteered at a clinic in the area and once worked as an executive assistant at a local Montessori school.

But it's clear from her resume that she's spent more time volunteering and working for political organizations, including the Colorado Young Democrats and New Era Colorado. She helped on Ken Salazar's 2004 Senate bid and was the political director of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall's 2008 campaign. She even got a shout-out from Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

Come January 1, Duran will likely be out of a job. Cordova has yet to announce who she'll keep on as union staff, but it's unlikely that she'll retain any members of the family she accused of nepotism. During the campaign, Cordova highlighted what she characterized as out-of-control spending by the Durans, including $200 dinners for political allies and media members charged to the union account. Duran has defended the spending, saying it was approved by the union's audit committee and executive board.

Will Duran be luckier running for office away from the union and out of her father's shadow?

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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