Alamosa County Attorney Jason Kelly gets Conejos County Court judgeship￼
Reporting by Robert Boczkiewicz and Chris Lopez
GOV. Jared Polis appointed Alamosa County Attorney Jason Kelly to be the part-time judge of the Conejos County Court.
Kelly fills the spot that became vacant when the court’s former judge, Kimberly Cortez of La Jara, was elevated to be a judge of the 12th Judicial District, which serves the San Luis Valley.
Kelly will continue as Alamosa County Attorney but will reduce his hours from full-time in order to take on the Conejos County Court judgeship.
“The position in Conejos County is a 40 percent position and so it gives me some flexibility that I can still remain the county attorney,” Kelly said in an interview with AlamosaCitizen.com. “I talked to the Board of County Commissioners prior to even applying so I could explain to them it’s only 40 percent. It still gives me three days and I think we can rework my contract so that I can still manage it. I won’t be here five days a week, but just the longevity that I’ve had here, I can make that work.”
Kelly, 47, was appointed Alamosa County attorney on a part-time basis in 2008 and became full time with Alamosa County in 2011. The work as county attorney, he said, has prepared him to take on the Conejos County Court judgeship. Polis made a two-year provisional appointment with Kelly as Conejos County Court Judge, and then Kelly will stand for retention in 2024.
“It was always something I was interested in, in terms of being able to work with communities in that capacity,” Kelly said of becoming a judge. “This will be a good fit for me. I will say I’ve loved working for the county and that was my biggest concern, that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my appointment with the county.”
Kelly had been one of three finalists for the spot that Cortez got. The third finalist was Alamosa attorney Benjamin Pacyga. Cortez was sworn in April 7, replacing long-time judge Martin Gonzales, who retired April 1.
Kelly is an adjunct professor at Adams State University, teaching a public policy regulatory environment administrative law class in the Master in Public Administration degree program.
He was one of 12 members of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, which completed its work last fall. He currently serves on the San Luis Valley Bar Association Pro Bono Project board and is president of the San Luis Valley Youth Hockey Association. He also served on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley.
His bachelor’s degree in 1998 is from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and his 2004 law degree is from the University of Arkansas.