Last week, Colorado state Rep. Tracey Bernett resigned from office to focus on criminal charges against her as she faces allegations of lying in sworn documents that she lived in an apartment within the new boundaries of her district.
“Bernett was charged in November with attempting to influence a public servant, forgery, providing false information about a residence, perjury, and procuring false registration. The charges stem from her allegedly lying about her primary residence in her 2022 re-election bid,” the Denver Post reported.
Bernett was first elected in 2020, listing an address in unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado, as her primary residence. During the 2021 redistricting, her district was redrawn into one that leaned Republican, and during the 2022 midterms, in her first reelection bid, she listed her primary address as being in Louisville, in a district with a noted Democratic advantage, the outlet reported.
Bernett overwhelmingly won reelection in November; however, investigators with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office later determined that she did not actually live at the address in question but rented an apartment there to run for office.
Bernett is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Feb. 10.
She did not admit guilt after resigning, saying in a statement that she is giving up her seat “while addressing these charges rather than compromising the policy initiatives she deems important to those living in House District 12 and the citizens of Colorado.”
Bernett continued, “I am proud of what I have accomplished in my time in office and want to thank all the people who have supported and worked with me in moving Colorado forward.”
“Rep. Bernett is charged with crimes for lying to voters about where she lived. If the (Democratic) caucus had any integrity, the Democrat leaders would refuse to swear in Rep. Bernett on Monday,” said Kristi Burton Brown, the Colorado State Republican Party chairwoman. “HD12 deserves to be represented by someone who actually lives there, not someone who lied to get votes.”
Bernett defeated Republican challenger Anya Kirvan in the midterms, after receiving over 77% of the vote, However, voters in the district received their ballots well before the charges against Bernett were announced.
“The Boulder County Democratic Party will work with the HD12 officers to begin the process of convening a transparent and fair vacancy committee to fill this seat,” Amy Weinstein, Boulder County Democratic Party chair, said in a statement. “This is all prescribed by Colorado state law, the Rules of the Colorado Democratic Party, and the Boulder County Democratic Party Bylaws. We will take our first steps to begin the process today.”
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