Delegate: Perry Buck, 46
Hometown: Greeley, Colo.
Occupation: Event planner
Why We're Watching: Buck is working to energize fellow Republicans in one of the more conservative congressional districts in swing-state Colorado.
Politically speaking, Perry Buck is a late bloomer.
The 46-year-old didn't discover her knack for politics until her 30s, when her husband — now the district attorney in Colorado's famously conservative Weld County — nudged her to fill a vacancy in the county's Republican Party. The position? Coordinating speakers for weekly breakfasts.
Now Buck is the vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party and a delegate representing the state's 4th Congressional District at the Republican National Convention.
"I'm kind of naïve to what goes on at a convention," Buck says. "I hear you don't get much sleep, but it's just a fascinating experience. I'm just going there with open eyes."
As state party vice chair, Buck gathers fellow Republicans to talk about state legislative happenings — especially those related to water, agriculture and economic development. Those issues are important to the third-generation resident of Weld County, where the economy revolves around farming, ranching and the oil and gas industry.
After a career in banking, Buck was appointed by former Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, to the state's Office of Economic Development. Now, she owns and operates her own event-planning business, coordinating everything from political fundraisers for her husband and other Weld County Republicans to a party for a local man's 90th birthday.
"It's something I really enjoy doing, gathering people for whatever cause," she says.
Buck considers herself "a regular Joe," but her circle of friends includes some high-profile political leaders. Besides former Gov. Owens, there's Bill Ritter, who served as best man at the Bucks' wedding. Ritter, a moderate Democrat, is now governor of Colorado.
Although Buck is now running for a seat on the Weld County Council, which oversees county government, she says she doesn't really have any political designs for herself.
"I kind of leave that to the man upstairs," she says. " Just one step at a time."
—Katie Goetz reports from member station KUNC in Greeley, Colo.