Brett Barkey became the new district attorney for the 14th Judicial District on Monday when Gov. Jon Hickenlooper announced his appointment to be the chief prosecutor for Grand, Routt and Moffat counties.
Barkey replaces Elizabeth Oldham, whose last day was Friday, Aug. 10, according to Donna Zulian, administrator in the DA's Craig office.
Oldham announced in December that she would not run for re-election. Attempts to reach her for comment on Monday were unsuccessful.
She said in July during an informal conversation that she was resigning so she could return to the Front Range and spend less time as an administrator and more time in the courtroom.
"I gratefully accept Governor Hickenlooper's appointment as district attorney for the 14th Judicial District," Barkey said. "It is a great honor and privilege to continue in public service in this role.
"I also want to express my profound appreciation for Elizabeth Oldham's eight years of public service to Moffat, Routt and Grand counties in the district attorney's office," he added. "She will be greatly missed, and I wish her all the success in her new position."
Oldham resigned to take a post in the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, which serves Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, according to Barkey.
Barkey, a fourth-generation Coloradan from Hayden, expressed his intention to run for the office shortly after Oldham's December announcement. At the time, Oldham said she had hired Barkey as assistant district attorney with the intention that he would replace her.
"I wanted to be able to find someone who would be able to come into the office and make a smooth transition," Oldham said in December. "I think he would bring a lot to the district attorney's office. He's been an attorney for 25 years, and he brings a lot of experience and perspective."
A Republican, Barkey is the only candidate running for the office in the November election.
Barkey took the second highest leadership job in the district as a way to segue back into civilian life after three tours in Iraq: 2003, 2006 and 2009.
He was called to active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps while working as Deputy District Attorney of the 4th Judicial District in Colorado Springs.
Before that, Barkey had dabbled in private practice, but he discovered he preferred to work in the public sector, he said.
"I never had an interest in making a lot of money as an attorney. Applying my legal talents to benefit the public is what I felt more passionate about," he said in December.
After his first Iraq tour, Barkey spent five years as an adviser to the Office of Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury, during which he was the primary author of an executive order signed on Sept. 23, 2001, by President George W. Bush. The order served to close suspected Sept. 11 terrorists out of the international banking system, forcing them into riskier ways of holding and moving wealth in the aim to prevent enemies from being able to "enrich themselves on the U.S. economy," Barkey said. Osama Bin Laden was one of the individuals named.
"It was largely symbolic," Barkey said in December, explaining the order spoke of the scale of attacks the U.S. was prepared to launch, including on the economic level. Bush called it the "first shot on the Global War on Terror."
A colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Barkey took the job at the 14th Judicial District last August. Barring something extraordinary, he does not foresee being called again to active duty, he said, as he wraps up his time in the military.
He has cited illegal drugs and alcohol abuse as taking the heaviest tolls on communities that make up the 14th District, he said, with much of the caseload stemming from these abuses.
"I look forward to continuing our strong partnership with law enforcement agencies, community advocates and other stake-holders in the criminal justice system," he said.