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Tough Call: Pick Polis in CD2 Primary


Editor’s Note: Read our comprehensive look at the race to fill the CD2 vacated by Rep. Mark Udall.

Never have we struggled more in picking a candidate to endorse in an election.

The Second Congressional District Democratic primary pitting Jared Polis (wealthy philanthropist), Joan Fitz-Gerald (first woman to serve as president of the state’s senate majority) and Will Shafroth (career conservationist) against each other has been an amazing race to cover.

It’ll likely become the most expensive House seat in the country when second quarter contributions are released later this month. And this is all for a primary. OK, it really is for the ticket to D.C. since this seat is in an overwhelmingly liberal district, having Boulder County as its center.

All three candidates are stellar. We say that with the utmost sincerity. They have all worked tirelessly to meet the voters and have each raised well more than $1 million from contributors. Their platforms are similar, representing core Democratic Party principles well.

Still, we don’t want this to come off as a half-hearted, wishy-washy endorsement. There will be no “You can’t go wrong with the other two” statements (that previous mention notwithstanding).

Following two sets of interviews with each of the candidates, it became clear who should represent the district that spreads throughout Adams and Boulder counties and a few mountain communities to the west.

Democrats and independents, when you get your ballot in the mail in the next few days or head to a polling station in August, the choice is simple: Vote Jared Polis.

He won our confidence through personality, devotion to helping others, smarts and savvy that has us believing he’ll make an impact in Washington.

Sure, Polis has taken some heat for being the wealthy, self-financed candidate who has chipped in about $3.7 million of his own money to the campaign. There are plenty of hate-filled posts from readers on the Boulder Daily Camera website and other message boards.

When asked about that, he says he’s pretty sure none of those haters has ever met him.

We couldn’t agree more. There is little not to like about Polis, the 33-year-old who made millions selling websites and buys flowers for all of his employees on their birthdays.

Be envious of his money (his worth measured in 10 figures) if you feel like being superficial, but that is certainly not a reason to dislike the man.

He earned his money the hard way, by building businesses from the ground up. And now that he has tons cash, he does the right thing with it—giving a whole lot to those in need.

So he certainly passes the good guy test.

But more importantly, the Princeton-educated Polis is the type of Democrat that Washington needs—one who is not scared to take a stand about his beliefs.

He is gay, so expect him to actually stand up for gay marriage rights, not skirt around it with terms such as “civil unions.” He doesn’t care much for the game of politics, so expect him to fight for policy because it is the right thing to do for the voters he represents regardless if it is politically safe.

He understands the need for serious illegal immigration reform, probably more so than most anyone you’ll ever meet. Polis has built two schools with his money, education centers that serve kids who cannot speak English well or at all. Many of them born in the U.S. from parents here illegally.

Instead of just trying to boot these children over a wall, he wants to educate them, teach them English and help them become part of the workforce instead of a fate much worse.

Basically, he won’t shy from what’s right, even if that means a hate-filled letter every now and then. That’s the type of person who needs to represent this district.

Polis also has just enough experience serving the public to give confidence that he can work both sides of the isle well and not rub conservatives the wrong way. This country is tired of partisan politics, and Polis is, too.

He served on the Colorado Board of Education for six years, including a stint as chair. This being an executive branch of government, building a consensus across all political backgrounds was of the utmost importance.

As far as policy, he has detailed plans and ideas of how to get out of Iraq, fight the mortgage crisis that has decimated the North Metro housing market, and increase reliance on renewable energy.

Fixing the broken healthcare system is a top priority, however difficult it may be to build consensus for a single-payer program that would offer healthcare to most everyone in the United States.

But that is not what puts him over the edge in this race. Quite frankly, Polis, Fitz-Gerald and Shafroth all share a very similar vision of what changes need to be made on the national level, so picking the candidate comes down to who we think will be most effective in Washington.

This is where Polis’ enthusiasm and smarts kick in. He has a refreshing voice and an attitude indicative of someone who works well with others. He can also close a deal with the best of them, as he has proven over and over again in the business world.

And we suspect he’ll never back down to special interest groups. As Polis told us over lunch a month ago, you shouldn’t shy from the guy with the money; he doesn’t need this job. That may not be true with all wealthy people, but when you have someone as genuine as Polis saying that, you tend to believe him.

Jared Polis doesn’t need this job. He wants it.

He has always been incredibly passionate about serving others, whether it being through his charity or school board work.

He is ready to serve voters of the district with that same passion. And he will make decisions based on what is right for the Second Congressional District and the country in general, not what will make powerful lobbyists happy—he probably has more money than them anyway.

“Everybody gets wined and dined on Capitol Hill,” he says. “I can wine and dine myself.”

— Jacob Harkins, Yellow Scene Magazine editor

Mail-in ballots will be mailed out today and the final day to register as a Democrat or independent and be eligible to vote in the CD2 primary is Monday. The primary is Aug. 12.


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    I want to thank Jacob Harkins for his detailed endorsement of Jared Polis. Up until this point I have been on the fence trying to decide which of these 3 great candidtes will get my vote. I now will vote for Jared Polis because of his commitment to education, energy and ending our occupation in Iraq!

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    Every election counts more than we can imagine in today’s political climate. We all need to do our part, and research all of our candidates. Thank you, Yellow Scene, for putting together your endorsement for this election. I think it is so important to stand up for what you believe in, and vote for candidates that care about your community, who will do their job as an elected official, and stand up for you. DC is a madhouse, bogged down by bureaucracy and insincerity. Vote for someone who can help change that, and make sure that DC is there to represent its people, not the personal interests of the folks who hold office.

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    I’ve always enjoyed the YellowScene as a good place to gain valuable information about entertainment and food and quite frankly would prefer the editors to stay out of political commentary. Informing on candidates and issues is one thing, but actually endorsing candidates is something that every non-party affiliated newspaper or magazine should avoid.

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    The Republican war-machine is pulling out the same tactic it did when we went to war against Iraq and John McCain is endorsing this misnomer . We’re back on the same ole rhetoric of if “You are against the war (or financing it) then you are against the troops”. I didn’t fall for it then, and I;m not now. America, needs to see this as the propaganda it is. I say it is the Republican party that has screwed the troops, not people like Obama. Obama wants the troops to get the education and health care they deserve and so do I. This war has been one big lie and it is time to stop and look at what we need to do as a nation to fix the mess we made and what the troops really need. And thats ways to put their blown off limbs back together and a good paying job when they get home.

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    NO politician enters politics for the money (they spend 10X the salary to get elected). They enter it to fill their own power agenda. They say whatever they need to say to get elected. Then, they’re outa here!

    I lost faith in a “peoples” government years ago. This is a special interest government designed solely for the politician and special interest groups. In the meantime, we listen and believe the crap the candidates are dishing out.

    Over the past few decades, I can count on my left hand any legislation that benefited me, the white, middle-class, small business owner that EARNED his place in society.

    So, for the first time in my adult life, I do not think I have anything to gain by voting. I think I’ll pass in disgust.

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