Richard Alonso Holtorf never sought political office. It sought him.
The Akron-based representative for House District 64 was content to work on his Buffalo Springs ranch, until Rep. Kimmi Lewis, R-Kim, passed away in December 2019 from breast cancer.
Even though he had no elected experience and wasn’t particularly active in the Republican Party, several people sought him out to apply for the vacancy left by Lewis’ passing. He was one of five – and not even close to being the favorite for the seat.
But that election brought the rough-and-tumble and often controversial lawmaker to the state Capitol, where he’s viewed by some in a league of his own. One person recently told Colorado Politics that there are the Democrats, Republicans and Rep. Holtorf.
Born: Feb. 1, 1965 in Akron, Colorado; third generation rancher, operates the Buffalo Springs Ranch north of Akron; raises cattle, grows wheat and millet.
Education: Graduated from Akron High School; earned bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University; MBA from Boston University and a master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Military experience: U.S. Army, five overseas tours, including two combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; deployed with the 10th Mountain Division on his first combat deployment to Afghanistan; returned to Akron in 1994.
Family: Wife Mary – Holtorf notes on his website he’s still married to his “first wife”; five daughters, two grandchildren (so far); he hopes one of his single daughters marries a guy who will take an interest in ranching.
District: House District 64, by geography the largest in the state with nine counties – Baca, Bent, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Prowers and Washington, which is the furthest north county in the district.
Nickname (sort of): Bard of Akron, a title originally developed by Colorado Politics’ Joey Bunch, but one that Holtorf says he can live with, since a bard is historically a poet, although he prefers “Cowboy” Bard of Akron.
Colorado Politics: Why did you decide to run for House District 64?
Holtorf: I knew Kimmi Clark Lewis personally. Gerald Schreiber is a cattle rancher near Last Chance. He’s been a member of the Washington County Stockmen’s Association for decades. I’ve been a member of the Washington County Stockmen’s Association, including past president. So, anytime that Kimmi would come to Washington County, Gar Schreiber was with her and I was always there to shake her hand. I respected her.
[When she died], it really struck me. I was …….