March has been a busy month for Elbert County politics. A record turnout for both parties’ respective caucuses at the beginning of the month was followed by enthusiasm at county assemblies. At their county assembly on March 5, Democrats nominated longtime county resident Marie Soderberg to represent them for the District 1 commissioner seat.
Soderberg’s father was a developer in Elbert County in the 1960s. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado Women’s College and studied graduate level psychology at the University of Northern Colorado, but eventually elected to leave the program.
“So, I just went out to experience life,” she said. “I was a cab driver. I did construction. I worked at a veterinarian’s office. I did a lot of different things, and then I got involved with creating alternative healing.”
Soderberg practiced alternative healing after studying a Japanese technique called Amma and grew her practice locally. While she was giving treatment to a leading dressage rider, he suggested that the techniques she was using on him would be effective treatment for horses.
“I designed a technique used all over the world, acupressure on horses. We developed a book. We developed a DVD, charts, classes. For years, we traveled around teaching people,” she said.
Soderberg says that her commitment to life is what she can give to other people so they can help themselves. She plans to apply that philosophy to her candidacy and the job of county commissioner. As a start, she wants to bring 100 percent transparency to county government.
“One of the things that I would start to do, is start to bring back trust in the political process and what’s happening in government. It will also start bringing back and giving an opportunity for people to participate in a more authentic way,” she said.
In the general election on Nov. 8, Soderberg will face either Chris Richardson or Jim Whistler, and the reality of living in a county where around 13 percent of the voting public is registered as Democrats is not lost on her.
“I’m just going to be straight with you, I have a shot in hell, a very slim shot in hell, for being county commissioner,” she said with a laugh. “For me, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about making a difference.”
She sees rural values as the true values of America and hopes her candidacy will inspire others. It is her hope that with more people participating in the process, Elbert County could be an example to other counties around the country.
“My commitment is that whatever we provide for this county is something that can be duplicated in other counties around America … small communities, rural America,” she said. “I don’t think the greatness of our county has been tapped.”