Seth Cagin Biography

I was born in Denver in 1953 and raised in Boulder, where my parents settled after attending the University of Colorado. When I was a child, there was one stoplight in Boulder and I attended nursery school on 28th Street, which was far in the country. One of the main activities at my nursery school was watching the prairie dogs pop in and out of their burrows.

My father had a degree in geology and was a uranium prospector, traveling frequently to the Naturita, Uravan, Moab uranium belt. One of my earliest childhood memories is playing with a Geiger Counter I found in his study. He later changed professions and became a marketing executive. My mother got a degree in education and taught school. My parents took full advantage of both the GI Bill (my father was a veteran) and the opportunities of living in Colorado when it still had characteristics of being a frontier where anything seemed possible.

I graduated from Boulder High School in 1971 and attended the University of Colorado through my sophomore year, when I transferred to New York University. There I earned a bachelor’s degree in Film Production. After graduation, I stayed in New York and became a film critic for a small newspaper, wrote stories about film for a range of publications, and within a few years published a book: Hollywood Films of the Seventies, co-authored with my friend Philip Dray.  I also met my wife, journalist Marta Tarbell, in New York.

Over the next ten years Phil and I co-authored two other books: We Are Not Afraid, about the murders of civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney in Mississippi in 1964, and Between Earth and Sky, about the threat posed to the ozone layer by industrial chemicals, and the successful global campaign to phase out those chemicals.

In the mid 1980s, Marta and I moved to Los Angeles where I pursued a career in screenwriting. Shortly after our son Carlos was born in 1989, we relocated to Telluride, where Marta had been hired to edit the local newspaper, The Telluride Times-Journal. Just a few years later, we founded our own newspaper, The Telluride Watch.

Marta and I published and edited The Watch for the next twenty years, expanding its circulation and news coverage to Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose. The Great Recession of 2008 hit Telluride and small-town newspapers hard. Our business shrank substantially and never returned to its glory days. We sold our business in 2014. 

I have always been active in politics. For The Watch, I wrote possibly thousands of stories about local governments and community issues and hundreds more signed editorials. My years in community journalism deepened my interest in politics, public policy and issues of community sustainability and led directly to my candidacy for the Colorado House of Representative for the 58th House District.