District 10: Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D) over Dorothy Marshall (R)
Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a longtime statehouse liaison for the Boulder County Commissioners, fits the needs of District 10. While we respect Dorothy Marshall’s pragmatic approach to healthcare and ideas to curb spending, a Republican representing North Boulder, Gunbarrel, Niwot and southwestern Longmont just doesn’t make sense. Hullinghorst boasts 35 yeas of public policy experience, so she can hit the ground running when the legislature opens. She’ll push for more public education funding and help implement plans like the successful PACE program that helped decrease recidivism rates in Boulder County’s jail (thus saving money that could be used for other state expenditures, such as, say, education). Plus she understands the state needs to send a cohesive message to Washington that healthcare reform is best addressed nationally, not on a state-by-state basis.
District 11: Jack Pommer (D) vs. Catherine Jarrett (R)
When told Colorado needed about $1.5 billion to satisfy its transportation need, Jack Pommer asked for ways to reduce the number of miles Coloradoans drive. He realizes that kind of money doesn’t just fall from the sky and other programs shouldn’t be pillaged in the name of roads, which is to say he understands a creative approach to problem solving is needed. The Boulder TV producer takes a grounded approach to office. When asked about gay marriage, he told a local media source, “If you don’t like it, don’t go to the wedding.” He works hard toward providing at-risk kids a proper preschool education, has implemented plans to increase elementary-aged literacy, wants to change the CSAP standardized testing programs and continues to push for renewable energy. In a district that includes north Boulder and Longmont, his ideas mimic the ideals of the voters who opted for him over Catherine Jarrett last election.
District 12: Paul Weissmann (D) over Daniel Lucas
Paul Weissmann is perhaps the most approachable politician in Colorado, a distinction he has held in both the state house and senate. He happens to be a bartender at the Old Town Louisville mainstay Blue Parrot. Now, we are not saying he is a good politician because he pours a stiff drink; far from it. But you can easily track down your representative if you live in the 12th district, and he has an open ear to hear your ideas, compliments or complaints. That is a trait few others can claim. Weissmann will continue to work hard for environmental responsibility and will fight to make sure his district is represented well as the entire RTD FasTracks mass transit program unfolds. He is also one of the most fiscally responsible members of the majority party, and understands one of the biggest problems facing the house is the lack of communication across the aisle or between his branch of government and the senate. Not much gets done when no one talks—leave it to a bartender to figure that out.
District 13: Claire Levy (D) over Robert Houdeshell (R)
Claire Levy has sponsored enough bills to fill the wide swath of land from key Boulder neighborhoods through Gilpin and Clear Creek counties that is District 13. That is to say she has been really busy in her first term, introducing laws to help make FasTracks financing more affordable, to ensure minimum levels of efficiency in the building code and to reform the adverse possession law that was at the heart of a heated battle between Boulder property owners last year. An attorney with a long track record of public service, Levy has earned another term in office. That being said, Robert Houdeshell’s heart is in the right place, but with the economy, healthcare and environmental issues that absolutely must be addressed, it worries us that a priority of his is fighting for owner’s property rights. Sure, making sure a squatter can’t take ownership of someone else’s land or a city can’t arbitrarily take private property are important, but Levy has already distinguished herself by addressing this topic, in addition to tackling other important issues.
District 29 Mary Arnold (R) over Debbie Benefield (D)
We have high hopes for Colorado’s new energy economy, but the reality is many of environmentally friendly technologies need the help of a tax subsidy to make them affordable and, thereby, more widely utilized. That’s why we like Mary Arnold’s take on energy independence—she wants to encourage research by the government and the private sector so these new technologies can find their way more quickly and affordably and with minimal direct subsidy into homes and businesses. She’s also a fiscally responsible candidate who will balance the needs of the business community and the needs of the environment. We know Arnold is somewhat of a long shot (most challengers are, but we like that Arnold is a librarian who prides herself on research). She’ll know more about an issue than most when she’s pushing legislation or voting on it.
District 31: Judy Solano (D) over Holly Hansen (R)
The Governor’s Office just announced the new energy economy has created 90,000 jobs in Colorado—the kind of progress that will keep us ahead of the curve despite the national economy. Solano has pushed hard for progress in this venue. On top of co-sponsoring a net-metering bill with Sen. Brandon Shaffer, she passed law advances new utility-scale solar energy technologies. Solano also has a pulse on trying to find workable transportation solutions, a tall task the previous legislature struggled to accomplish. She fights for small business and will make sure the state’s transportation needs are fixed—without skimping on other programs.
District 33: Dianne Primavera (D) over Nick Kliebenstein (R)
Try this on for unique legislation. Last session, Dianne Primavera formed the Colorado Stem Cells Cure Fund, a voluntary income tax contribution that will fund the collection of stem cells from umbilical cords—a method of collecting stem cells that even the Bush Administration is behind. This could help thousands in need of blood and further research. Primavera also passed legislation last session that calls for creation of an easy-to-use website interface that will allow users to compare healthcare costs and benefits side-by-side in an apples-to-apples manner. While the majority Democrats failed to solve all of Colorado’s healthcare woes, many small steps were taken to improve access and affordability, and Primavera was behind many of them.
District 34: John Soper (D) over Tom Bopp (R) and Tony D’Lallo (G)
John Soper’s sexiest legislation regarded allowing the resale of tickets in Colorado—basically giving the rights to sell Broncos or concert or World Series tickets at market price outside of stadiums. Some may bemoan that as it gives scalpers a free ride, but there’s no reason to keep people from reselling tickets whether it be for a profit or not. That’s free market lawmaking at its best. But where Soper truly shines is in his work for the developmentally disabled and others who generally don’t get a voice in the lawmaking process. He has pushed for a Medicaid buy-in program that would allow those who no longer qualify for the program to pay a pro-rated amount for benefits, depending on income level. Soper has also pushed for financial literacy programs starting in kindergarten, the type of thinking that will help people avoid financial disaster at the hands of unscrupulous business people, regardless of whether they go on to get a degree in economics or not; again, common sense policy making. Soper has one of the most diverse backgrounds in the legislature, mixing experience as a community college teacher, member of the military and varied government posts. And it’s this well-rounded aspect to his resume that makes Soper’s a valuable voice at the statehouse.
District 48: Glenn Vaad (R) over Bill Williams (D)
Glenn Vaad survived a vicious primary for the privilege to run for another term in office. The primary reason the race was so close: Vaad wasn’t conservative enough, according to his opponent. Well, we have a message to those who feel that way: There has been an extraordinary amount of growth in this northern Colorado district and it isn’t as conservative as it used to be. Meaning a Republican serving with moderation is a heck of a lot more appropriate for District 48 than someone who comes out of far right field (that’s true of almost any district, since a vast majority of voters are closer to the middle than the extreme left of right). Vaad’s passion lies with transportation and he has worked hard to find fixes for RTD funding and other road projects. He also brings a diverse background to his office with an emphasis in education and as a past chair of the Weld County Commissioners. Vaad knows his district and serves its diverse electorate well.
Incumbents are denoted by italics