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2022 Election Guide

2022 Election Guide


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Every year, Yellow Scene Magazine publishes an exhaustive Election Guide taking hundreds of human hours of work from August 30th, 2022 to the day it is published. Because we are “old-school” and still believe journalism is important, we do not allow email interviews and require a 15-minute call with each candidate. They are all asked the same six questions our Editorial Board outlined at the start. The only exceptions are races that these questions don’t make sense for such as Board of Education, CU Regents, Coroner, etc. After all interviews are completed, the YS Editorial Board reconvenes and decides on their final endorsements.

The Editorial Board is made up of Thomas Rutherford, Steve Nelson, Laurenz Busch, Robin Gross, Austin Clinkenbeard, and Zoe Jennings with contributions by Katrina Greenwood-Stroud, Shay Castle, and Michelle Mead.

Click on the individual candidates in the Table of Contents or scroll down, (keep scrolling past the black box, there were a LOT of interviews – nearly 100), for the full Election Guide Q&A with each candidate. We secured approximately 80% of all interviews, but over 90% of major races. Additionally, we researched 26 Ballot Issues outlined here.

Contents hide

QUESTIONS:

* = Some writers focused on single aspects of the question

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH*

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS*

  • How do you see gun legislation working in Colorado in light of the new Supreme Court decision as well as the lawsuit against Superior, Colorado AND Boulder, Boulder County, Louisville?
  • The far-right militia movement has gained visibility in Colorado over the past year after its members appeared at protests across the state. Additionally, the FBI has reported the infiltration of police departments by militant members. What do you think Colorado should do to curb the continued rise of these often violent groups, also known for disinformation?

ENVIRONMENT/CLIMATE CHANGE/WATER/FIRE*

  • Colorado’s environment has been greatly impacted by wildfires over the last four years. What plans do you have to make sure that future wildfires are not as devastating as the ones we’ve witnessed since 2016? How will you help communities impacted by wildfires rebuild?
  • Congress recently passed a $4 billion aid package to address the drought in the Colorado River as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Do you think this funding is enough to address the water challenges Colorado faces? Would you support investing more state or federal dollars toward reducing the drought, or is there another solution for Colorado?

FENTANYL

  • 900 people died in 2021 as fentanyl use and availability continued to skyrocket. The recently passed bill increases penalties for possession and the intent to distribute but it leaves in place a 2019 bill that allows possession of up to 4 grams of almost any drug. Critics say even 1 grams of a fentanyl compound can be dangerous. Is increasing penalties the right move? What else needs to happen?

HOMELESSNESS

  • Homelessness is growing in many cities and rural areas in Colorado, and across the country. What will you do to help people experiencing homelessness find safe and sanitary homes?

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Colorado’s roads are in a constant state of disrepair. How do you plan to improve local infrastructure without significantly impacting the wallets of taxpayers?

COVID

  • With a plethora of coverage about COVID, we chose to focus on legislative matters.

GOVERNOR

(D) Jared Polis – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I believe in more counseling/counselors instead of SRO’s. We should focus on Behavioral Health and counseling. I am against arming teachers. I support imatter.org, a program that offers free counseling sessions for 18 and under.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: The Red Flag Law removes guns from people in mental crisis. Communities should decide gun safety measures. I will defend all laws currently in place.  I support free speech but condemn hate speech/speech that advocates violence.

ENVIRONMENT: I support $145 mil. investment in prevention and mitigation. I will raise funds for rebuilding. We need to provide a victim aid center. The Inflation Reduction Act will help with drought as will allocating state funds. I will increase efficiency in urban and agricultural practices.

FENTANYL: It’s poison. Get it off the streets. Penalties are part of the solution but we must also provide resources for addicts to get clean and test strips be distributed.

HOMELESSNESS: I support American Rescue Act Funds. The state will invest $200mil over two years for job training, housing, and addiction counseling.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act will equal billions of dollars over next ten years for improvement. I signed the State Bipartisan Infrastructure Act which provides $5bil over next 10 years. I am investing in public and alternative transit.

ROE V. WADE: We need to empower women and doctors to make decisions. Birth control should be widely available. Empower sex ed. Protect nurses and doctors. 

ADDITIONAL

ENERGY: Colorado is moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2040. Date certain on closure of all coal plants in CO and will be replaced with solar and wind energy. I am pursuing geothermal energy as well.

 

(R) Heidi GanahlTOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 

(L) Kevin Ruskusky

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: SROs are misuse of resources. School shootings are a result of mental health issues. I don’t support arming teachers. I am still forming my plan for mental health issues. More programs does not mean more progress.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I didn’t know about the lawsuits. We need more mental health support. It is an American right to own firearms. More laws are not the answer. Colorado is a diverse state with diverse needs. I have no knowledge of militia infiltration and support the right for militias to exist.

ENVIRONMENT: I will focus on mitigation and education and make sure our wells are full. I am not in government so I am unsure of what else can be done. We should monitor the HOA, stop wasting water on sprinklers and lawns, address old treaties, and curb Kentucky bluegrass.

FENTANYL: Penalties don’t work. We should focus on mental health and education.

HOMELESSNESS: Make mental health services available. Make housing affordable. We need better paying jobs. Take power away from billionaires.

INFRASTRUCTURE: More small contractors. I need to do more research. We should have people in the communities do the work.

ROE V. WADE: I never thought of the abortion issue in terms or education and resources. More sex ed in schools. The decision is between mother, father and their god. Government shouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood but it should help women in need.

 

(UP) Paul Fiorino

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: The arts are essential, kids need the arts. Dance is in every culture, you can teach every subject in dance. Dance would lend itself to physical education and mental health.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We have to battle white supremacy Christianity. Our Christianity has been stolen. And you know, who instigated it? You know who I’m talking about, he brought us out of Afghanistan.

ENVIRONMENT: We need someone that is going to address a real opportunity for change and transformation. The environmental movement will grow at leaps and bounds, it has been hindered by party politics. We’re using way too much water in our fracking industry.

FENTANYL: This is just from the pit of Hell, killing our kids

HOMELESSNESS: It’s going to take good Samaritans, people who have been there, that have a heart, and compassion, and the means to be able to assist.

INFRASTRUCTURE: More people are talking about the drivers paying a tax, you have cyclists, skaters, everybody uses the road. As a third party i want to see if you can find funds, the savings, without party interference.

 

(I) Ralph Tingle – RADIO SILENT

(AC) Danielle Neuschwanger – RADIO SILENT

 


ATTORNEY GENERAL

(D) Phil Weiser – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: A lot of times the misuse of SRO’s are because school administrators are misusing them. It’s not fair to paint with a broad brush. There are wonderful SRO’s and there are also some not as well trained.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need to continue to advance smart gun safety approaches. It would be a real disaster if gun safety protections are undermined by the Second Amendment.

ENVIRONMENT: We have droughts and wildfires that are not going away. I’m committed to the breadth of this job, making sure that we use this office to fully support and protect people.

FENTANYL: We need more drug treatment and recovery programs, to build that capacity. I sued irresponsible drug companies and we got $500 million back to build more drug recovery [programs].

HOMELESSNESS: Enabling people to access drug treatment and recovery services is a critical tool in addressing homelessness. When someone’s released from prison with no money, no place to live and no job, they end up homeless.

ADDITIONAL

POLICE REFORM: We need more police with mental health funds to ensure that we’re able to help them deal with trauma to improve the quality of policing, to put emotional awareness in a central position.

2020 ELECTION: This is a scary time we’re living in. Threats to our democracy are real and demand our attention, our vigilance and concern.

 

(R) John Kellner 

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We set up a hotline to leave a tip about something so they know there’s a place to provide information that they will be confident is followed up on. It’s important because people who committed these atrocities had warning signs.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I will defend Colorado’s gun laws. My opponent and I disagree on one recent law: He supported the bill that allowed convicted felons to possess guns, including car thieves and drug dealers. I did not. We need to fix that for the safety of police officers and all Coloradans.

ENVIRONMENT: We need smart forest management, rational federal delegations, and make sure we’re taking care of our national forests in a way that’s not creating a future tinderbox.

FENTANYL: One of the things that I’ve done last year is use the power of the statewide grand jury in my local district to build a case against drug trafficking organizations.

HOMELESSNESS: As we head into winter, every year becomes a life threatening situation. We can provide shelter, resources, and give them a helping hand whether it’s mental health treatment or job training.

 


TREASURER

(D) Dave Young – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I run a program called BEST, a grant matching grant program to repair buildings around the state. These are serious health and safety problems.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS:  YS did not conduct this question of Treasurer candidates as it does not apply. 

ENVIRONMENT: It doesn’t make sense to develop affordable housing if you have no water for the residents. If I can get a really solid conversation going I will consider that a win.

FENTANYL: YS did not conduct this question of Treasurer candidates as it does not apply. 

HOMELESSNESS: I have a sister who’s disabled. Somebody that vulnerable did not have any options where to live. I discovered funding was at the core of the problem so I joined the Joint Budget Committee.

INFRASTRUCTURE: People have a very narrow definition of infrastructure and these other things never get addressed. We have great needs across the state and we don’t have enough structures financially in order to respond.

ADDITIONAL

RETIREMENT FUND: Everybody deserves a sustainable and dignified retirement. There is a possibility for a multi state partnership, states like New Mexico are looking to Colorado as first in the nation to offer a multi state approach.

 

(R) Lang Sias

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We’ve hired administrators at four times the rate we’ve hired teachers, and five times the rate of increases in students. I have Department of Education data that shows student growth has increased 6%, teacher growth by 8% and administrators by 34.6%. I don’t view this data as a “gotcha”, but something to start a conversation with.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS:  YS did not conduct this question of Treasurer candidates as it does not apply. 

FENTANYL:  YS did not conduct this question of Treasurer candidates as it does not apply. 

ENVIRONMENT: We saw green building codes be passed last year, and who doesn’t want a cleaner and safer environment? But when those things are actually analyzed the average home price is going to go up. We should have a conversation about that. 

HOMELESSNESS: We had single party rule in this state since 2018, this has become a very expensive place to live. We need to restore some balance there and I’ve got a record of doing that in a prudent, bipartisan way.

ADDITIONAL

SCHOOL CHOICE: The bottom line was school choice really helps equalize funding for kids in our public school system within their districts.

 


US HOUSE 2ND DISTRICT

(D) Joe Neguse – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I support the use of school resource officers. I do not support teachers being able to concealed carry. I have and will continue to support increased funding for mental health services.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We must expand background checks and ban the sale of firearms to those under 21. The best way to combat extremist violence is to support the efforts of law enforcement in doing so.

ENVIRONMENT: Federal relief must be given to those affected by wildfires, we must transition to renewable energy to stop climate change, and more funding has to go to addressing the drought in the Colorado River Basin.

FENTANYL: I’ve introduced the Protecting Kids from Fentanyl Act, which if passed will use unexpended COVID-19 relief funds to purchase Naloxone and fund educational programs about the fentanyl crisis.

HOMELESSNESS: Congress needs to work with state and local governments to expand access to affordable housing, and I have introduced several bills to do exactly that.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We must ensure that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is implemented appropriately so that Colorado receives its share of funding. I support bipartisan reform of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 

(R) Marshall Dawson – TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: School resource officers are a valuable asset. Teachers who are willing to undergo training should be allowed to conceal carry on the job, and federal funds should be reallocated toward mental health resources for students.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: The Second Amendment must not be altered. Far right violence does exist, but it is not nearly as large of an issue as left wing violence.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to take a hands-on approach to maintaining our national forests by removing invasive plant species and incentivizing water conservation on an individual level.

FENTANYL:  I support the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act, which would move several fentanyl variants to the Schedule I category and increase penalties on possession and distribution.

HOMELESSNESS: Giving out free money to homeless individuals leads to more drug overdoses. Instead, we should fund organizations with a proven track record of getting people off the streets and successfully rehabilitating them.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Most infrastructure decisions should be left up to states, but the federal government should be investing in repairing our national power grid and considering the possibility of nuclear power.

 

(AC) Gary Nation – TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Schools being designated gun-free zones and not having resource officers has invited violence. I’m not opposed to arming teachers, if they were properly trained.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We should restrict ownership of firearms for those under 21, but states should have to recognize other states’ concealed carry permits. Right-wing militants are under control, and now it’s time to stop left-wing violence.

ENVIRONMENT: Mountain land must be kept clear, and trees should be a certain distance from the mountain homes to avoid property damage. Droughts are inevitable, but inter-state agreements to limit usage can be helpful.

FENTANYL: Fentanyl is produced in China, and it’s coming across the southern border. If you want safer cities, we’ve got to get control of our borders.

HOMELESSNESS: Increased drug usage has created a larger homeless population. We should provide shelters for the homeless, but those shelters need to be contingent upon not allowing drugs or violence within them.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Raising gas taxes on a local level would help, but the federal government should not be involved. Wind and solar power are unreliable and shouldn’t be mandatory. Instead, I would support investment in nuclear power.

 

(CCP) Steve Yurash — TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: School resource officers are the best way to prevent violence, teachers should be allowed to conceal carry on the job, and more funding should be sent to mental health services in schools.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need increased background checks for people under 21 and strict enforcement of red flag laws. The threat of far right violence is over exaggerated. The biggest threat for most people is petty crime.

ENVIRONMENT: The federal government should provide additional firefighting resources to limit strain on state budgets. Droughts occur naturally, but they are exacerbated by overpopulation due to immigration.

FENTANYL: Instead of increased penalties for possession, we need a more heavily guarded southern border and more counseling services for addicts, up to and including forced rehab for drug offenders.

HOMELESSNESS: Those who are homeless purely due to financial reasons should get free temporary housing, but those with addictions or mental illnesses should be relocated away from big cities and rehabilitated by state programs.

INFRASTRUCTURE: State governments need to be encouraged to divert funding away from nonessential areas and into infrastructure. Illegal immigration deteriorates infrastructure due to overpopulation, so heavier border control will help the infrastructure crisis.

 


US HOUSE 7TH DISTRICT

(D) Brittany Pettersen — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We have a lot of fallout from policies that have not prioritized investment in our kids. Unfortunately it has been on the chopping block for decades because of conservative ballot measures that have stripped away funding for critical services. 

GUNS: We need common sense legislation at the national level. People in Colorado support gun safety legislation. It is deeply concerning how radical the Supreme Court is. It’s an unelected body not reflective of the American people

ENVIRONMENT:  You don’t have a fire season anymore, it’s year-round. That’s the reality.We need to work on water conservation and building communities that will be resilient.

FENTANYL: My mom had a substance abuse disorder, my brother struggled with mental health issues and fell through the cracks. We lost my older brother to suicide. These are preventable deaths with the right support.

HOMELESSNESS:  This has a cascading effect not only to that individual and their life but also the community. We need to invest in housing, providing substance use disorder treatment, and recovery services. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: We passed a comprehensive transportation package last session, investments are coming. We are utilizing federal dollars to invest in roads, bridges, sewer lines, and access to safe drinking water.

(R) Erik Aadland – TOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 

(L) Ross Klopf – QUALIFIED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: School resource officers should be used at each school board’s discretion. Properly trained teachers should be allowed to conceal carry. We should fund mental health services in schools and reevaluate the Common Core system.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: All gun legislation needs to be safety oriented and careful to not violate the Second Amendment. We need increased security at government facilities to prevent a repeat of the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot.

ENVIRONMENT: We should invest in reforestation to repair damage done by wildfires. Individuals and corporations must take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and stop climate change while the federal government funds green energy research.

FENTANYL: Safer drugs need to be legalized so that users can buy them without having to worry about fentanyl lacing. The FDA needs to seriously reconsider which drugs should be approved for medical usage.

HOMELESSNESS: We need to get rid of lumber tariffs to decrease building costs on homes and cut spending to stop inflation, which is causing many to become homeless.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Recycling materials such as asphalt helps the environment and keeps costs down. We need to fund maintenance of existing infrastructure first before funding any new building projects.

 


US SENATE

(D) Michael Bennet – Refused interview

 

(R) Joe O’Dea – TOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 

(L) Brian Peotter – TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that school shootings happen. Because they are gun free zones, people who are mentally deranged find them.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Governments at different levels are doing things they know are illegal. If I create a rule knowing it will be thrown out of court, that’s not a rule of law society.

ENVIRONMENT: Declaring an emergency gives you access to funds that you otherwise didn’t have so we don’t manage our lands until there is an emergency. Selective harvesting of timber inside our forests restricts private industries.

FENTANYL:  Putting someone in jail for possession of drugs, they don’t come out of the system fixed in any way. I would end the Drug Enforcement Administration on the federal level, just make it a local enforcement issue.

HOMELESSNESS: At the federal level, the war on poverty is an abject failure, we lost. I prefer to localize at the state level and end this failed war on poverty.

INFRASTRUCTURE: The future may include robo taxis and I think billion dollar investments in trains is an inefficient waste of money. Get rid of the Federal Highway Administration and let the states manage their own roads.

ADDITIONAL

2020 Election Stolen? Absolutely. Potentially legally. I don’t think anyone’s gonna go to jail over it, the system was manipulated to produce an outcome and they succeeded.

 

(AVP) Frank Atwood

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH:  Disclaimer: I’m not the answer. I’m the solution to get to better answers. With regards to roads, water and education, we’re ignoring voters to begin with and then surprised that we’re not getting the solutions we want.

ENVIRONMENT:  No, I’m not going to take a stance. I’m hoping approval voting will push towards alternative thinking and compromise.

FENTANYL: I am so grateful that my own family is not impacted by fentanyl. I want people treated as  adults. I don’t want children harmed. To find that balance I think requires moving beyond polarized thinking.

HOMELESSNESS: Denver is conducting experiments with money for the homeless. Traditionally Instead of Republicans saying no more money and Democrats saying yes more, we could be running a controlled experiment moving us beyond two party thinking.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I trust voters. In a country where independents say a new party is needed, yet we only see 2, 3 or 4 percent voting for new parties, there’s a disconnect.

 


COLORADO SENATE

DISTRICT 8

(D) Yadira Caraveo — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: In state legislature, I have supported increased mental health programs for school kids because of and informed by my experience as a pediatrician. I will carry this work forward on the federal level. I understand the concerns around SROs but I believe we can affect the necessary changes through better mental health programs and not focus on law enforcement.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I have worked hard on gun reform legislation in our House and greatly look forward to carrying that work to the federal level, where I believe we can effect the most comprehensive change. Colorado’s work on gun reform is an example all states can benefit from. I think we should delve into these groups weakening our democracy to see how we can effectively combat them and ensure they have no influence in public service.

ENVIRONMENT: I believe action on our various climate woes, including wildfire victims, can be created on the federal level with strong bipartisan support. This action can be done on a holistic level to approach the issue from many angles. I have done much work on this important topic in our state legislature and will work on the federal level to increase funds for water management throughout the entire West, taking things we have learned in Colorado to a broader scope.  I believe we can create and maintain affordable housing for all through various grant programs, etc on the federal level and I am looking forward to helping make safe, affordable housing for all, thus continuing the work I have done so far in the state legislature.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: I believe every person should have access to all the information available to them before making a decision that is very personal, and the topic of abortion is healthcare only and should not be handled in a legislative setting.

(R) Barbara Kirkmeyer – Incumbent, TOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 


DISTRICT 24

(D) Kyle Mullica — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We need to be conscious of the school to prison pipeline. I faced homelessness as a child. I’m here today because of the community that rallied around me. SROs have a place in our schools to ensure that our students are protected

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Over the last years we’ve seen an increase in divisiveness. I’m hoping to at least be a part of some of that healing. We’ve seen an increase in gender bias attacks and racial attacks. We need to have civil discourse.

ENVIRONMENT:  We need to make sure that individuals are appropriately covered under their insurance. Climate change is real, we need to continue having the conversation of what it looks like toe having the conversation of what it looks like to create a cleaner and healthier community.

FENTANYL: Give our DA and police resources, make sure consequences come from bringing poison into our communities. Addiction is a disease, we need to treat it that way. I see it in ER and in my community firsthand.

HOMELESSNESS: Partnering with our local communities, each one is unique. The first thing is meeting these individuals where they’re at, making a legitimate investment to make sure we’re getting them into a safe place.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Continue to make investments and be transparent that those investments are going into local communities. The more people are on the roads, the longer they’re stuck in traffic, that’s less time with their family.

 

(R) Courtney Potter – TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: The number one thing is get parents engaged and involved. Building confidence, supporting parents, being a part of the conversation, and just believing parents from the get-go.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: In light of the recent Supreme Court gun rulings and lawsuits against Colorado cities who have implemented new gun restrictions, I hope proposed legislation would honor the constitutional right to own guns and the safety of our communities.

ENVIRONMENT: People can’t afford to rebuild their homes because of regulation. We have to address that.

FENTANYL: We did see a correlation with the rise of fentanyl with decriminalization. There’s other factors as well, we’re seeing a lot of people cross from the border.

HOMELESSNESS: I support encouraging private organizations to help with those issues, they typically tend to manage resources better than the government.

INFRASTRUCTURE: The budget has been raised over the past four years and on top of that, you have rising housing costs, higher property taxes, it’s hard for me to believe that there’s no money.

 


DISTRICT 25

(D) Faith Winter – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Make sure that we are integrating community health centers with our schools. Also de-stigmatizing access, how do you make it okay to walk in say, I need some help?

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: A lot of that [far-right] rhetoric is against democracy. My job is to ensure that every person in my district has access to accurate information, can easily vote, and feels safe.

ENVIRONMENT: We have a small fee on insurance so that we have local funds for communities to do wildfire mitigation. Then addressing the core issue which is the climate emergency. I do think it’s an emergency.

FENTANYL: Increasing criminalization doesn’t solve the problem and it disproportionately impacts low income and communities of color. We really need to go after the supply chain, the drug cartels that are providing these substances.

HOMELESSNESS: In my community I know we have a lot of single moms couch-surfing. They’re sleeping in their cars. There are a lot of invisible homeless, especially in the suburbs. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: I was the author of SB 260. There’s going to be a Highway 70 expansion. It is unsafe. Congestion is awful, it’s impacting our economy and workers. SB 260 is a significant step forward that has bipartisan support.

 

(R) Melody Peotter 

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Our kids coming out of COVID are really struggling. We have had some programs offer free sessions to families, they’re at capacity. It’s a clear sign to us that we need more mental health support.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We have a lot of gun control laws in place, it’s not decreasing the violence issues. How can we prevent people from getting to that breaking point?

ENVIRONMENT/CLIMATE CHANGE/WATER/FIRE: We can get ahead of wildfires by getting underbrush out. People affected by wildfires can’t rebuild their homes because of all the red tape, eliminating some of that is going to be key.

FENTANYL: I don’t think four grams of possession should be allowed, it’s way too dangerous. We need to really look at why people are turning to these substances to begin with, and really address mental health as well.

HOMELESSNESS: In talking to law enforcement we’re able to see we have a two fold issue. We do have resources available but we are finding that a lot of people don’t want to utilize those resources.

INFRASTRUCTURE: It’s not a matter of more money, it’s really prioritizing which roads are important. Looking at the high density areas where we have a lot of traffic and congestion is going to be key, keeping in mind our rural people. We need to be more careful with regulations we push onto our home builders. Being fair to them will help balance things out a bit while providing resources to people that are trying to get into homes.

 


COLORADO HOUSE

DISTRICT 10

(D) Junie Joseph — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Having police officers in schools is not ideal. Schools are not prisons; kids go to school to learn. But ultimately, it’s a conversation that the community and parents need to have.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need legislation but we have to hit them in their pockets. We have to find ways to make guns unprofitable for them. I agree on background checks and on the waiting period.

ENVIRONMENT: The way we build homes has to change. We’re living in different times; everything is intensified because of climate change. We need to retrofit our homes and provide support to homeowners.

FENTANYL: I disagree with criminalizing possession because we are punishing the end users. We need to go after producers, we need to ensure that wherever this fentanyl is coming into our community, we stop it. 

HOMELESSNESS: We need to ensure that people have access to housing and jobs. If you give someone housing but not a job or a sense of community, I don’t know what you expect from them.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I don’t think there’s any infrastructure project that costs little money. Telecommunication might be where we have the most impact to help a lot of marginalized people.

 

(R) Bill DeOreo

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I support school resource officers in schools. I would make sure that there was no bias going on and that they didn’t become agents of the classroom to prison pipeline. That’s not acceptable.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I don’t support a statewide ban on semi-automatic rifles. I’m a supporter of concealed carry permits. I would support raising the age to buy firearms and I support criminal background checks.

ENVIRONMENT: Active protection (such as barriers) is really important. We have dead wood everywhere, so I definitely want to take a careful look at better management of these lands.

FENTANYL: I support increasing penalties. I would support repealing our status as a sanctuary state and I would strongly advocate for better security on our southern border to stop this invasion.

HOMELESSNESS: Encampments have to be regulated, controlled, and well-policed. Cities have to enforce laws. We then offer addiction treatment and connect them with their families. If they show a desire to integrate, we should help them get set up.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I feel that the state energy system infrastructure is being dismantled and we’re headed for what I call an energy cliff. I will advocate strongly for advanced nuclear power.

 


DISTRICT 11

(D) Karen McCormick – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: This depends on the individual school systems, school boards, and how those positions are set up and how they are fostered. I see the benefits and the downfalls. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I am bringing forward another gun violence prevention bill this year to create grant funding for nonprofits that recycle guns that are turned in anonymously. It’s not a gun buyback, it’s a gun recycling program.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to get ahead of the areas that have been mapped out by experts where the biggest dangers are. Homeowners need to be able to make their homes defensible. We need affordable technology and materials.

FENTANYL: We do not want to criminalize possession; we have to do better. (HB22-1326) was not perfect, but I don’t want us to lose focus on all the harm reduction pieces of that bill.

HOMELESSNESS: If we don’t see the entire picture: helping folks with their mental health needs, misuse needs, job transition, budgeting and finances, we’re not solving the whole issue.

INFRASTRUCTURE: SB21-260 will be put into place over the years. If we ask companies to come to our city, if they employ 100 people, we should discuss what is going to be their contribution to help with housing.

 

(R) Tara Menza – QUALIFIED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I’ve seen SROs work. I haven’t seen any SROs doing anything negative towards discipline or towards any particular child based on their race. They’re a huge asset to our schools and to our communities.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I want to focus on gun safety versus gun control. We should encourage responsible gun owners to help educate the public about firearm safety; and more mental health support; and start holding criminals accountable for their crimes.

ENVIRONMENT: Colorado needs better land management, provide funding to rehabilitate and control the pine beetle destruction, and add in more fire breaks to protect our homes.

FENTANYL: It is a crisis. We have to outlaw these drugs. But we can’t just throw people in jail because they’ve committed crimes because they’re addicted. We’ve got to have some addiction treatment centers; we have to have mental health support.

HOMELESSNESS: There are some incredible programs out there that we should model. We can utilize nonprofits to help and assess each individual and try to figure out the root cause of their homelessness.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We need to better use funds from marijuana taxation and infrastructure bills—So, we’re not pulling money out of the pockets of our constituents.

 


DISTRICT 12

(D) Tracey Bernett – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: SROs need to reflect the values of the local community. SROs can be very positive. We need to be very sensitive to the local communities, the local issues—the relationships that SROs have with them.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Most gun owners are responsible but the issue needs to change from gun rights to gun safety. I consistently voted on improving gun safety by safe gun storage and the red flag laws.

ENVIRONMENT: We need insurance reform and improved fire codes. People are terrified that if they build with more fire resistance, if their neighbors don’t, it’s an issue. I want to improve our emergency communications.

FENTANYL: We want to make sure the people who are distributing and selling are held accountable but we don’t want to victimize the victims. Education is a lot of it—that young people learn to be very careful.

HOMELESSNESS: I agree with housing first. A person experiencing homelessness in the community can be expensive, but if you get them into permanent supportive housing, with wraparound services, it can be a quarter of the cost.

INFRASTRUCTURE: The recent federal bills will help. Roads and transportation are important but also broadband and sustainable infrastructure. Colorado is an ideal place for wind and solar energy.

 

(R) Anya Kirvan

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Until we get the mental health crisis taken care of, we’re going to have shootings. We’re going to need to have some sort of (well-trained) mitigation at our schools. I hope it won’t be forever.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I support the Second Amendment.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to have really good land management and forest management policies. We need to keep our forests really clean. We need to pull out the dead brush and have controlled burns.

FENTANYL: They have to re-criminalize it as a felony. You cannot have even one gram—they need to re-criminalize, that’s going to be the thing that’s really going to create change.

HOMELESSNESS: I do not support housing first. Groups have found that it doesn’t work. Until people get clean and off drugs, they’re not able to make the choices to make their life better.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I care about the environment. We can have clean energy, like nuclear. But we need to turn on the oil and gas as we innovate and see if these alternative fuels really work and can store the energy.

 


DISTRICT 19

(D) Jennifer Parenti – ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I have known many SROs and while some are good, most need better education, bias training, and to recognize they are not always beneficial. We must increase mental health care for all Colorado’s children, and increase access as well so children can see a therapist during school hours.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We have done good work on this issue, but there is a lot more to do: expanded safe storage laws, legislation to hold gun owners partially responsible if their weapon is used in the committing of a crime, and how insurance can play a role in creating more safety for guns and gun owners. As a veteran I can attest to the infiltration of our military and not only law enforcement by extremists and extremist groups. This must be examined and questioned to decipher the depth of infiltration, and at a national level, not just local.

ENVIRONMENT: Our legislature did good work on addressing wildfires and how to support victims of such this last session, but we should always do more to address the topic of how climate change negatively impacts our communities and how we can mitigate it. I also turn to the experts for guidance. I do not think the funds designated to address our drought conditions from the recent aid package are enough, and we must find other ways to find funds to address this growing concern. We need to have hard discussions about water and how we can conserve it. This includes how we can support water for our people while still having enough for agriculture and industry. This should include ideas on how to restrict growth so we maintain enough water for safe and sanitary living conditions.

FENTANYL: We have learned our lesson already about criminalizing drug users, and it does not work. It fails the people that need help, so we need to invest heavily in treatment for addiction. We also need to expand our mental health services so people can treat the reasons for their drug use and prevent addiction before it starts. If we want to stop people from doing drugs we must give them hope.

HOMELESSNESS: A very hard issue, especially in our district where housing prices have skyrocketed. Our communities must come together and have hard discussions and make a moral decision to create housing available and accessible for all. There are many ways to address this, from rent stabilization, protection for mobile home owners, and facing the difficulties with HOAs and Metro District taxes.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: We need to recognize the vast number of people coming to CO from out-of-state to access healthcare. One state’s ban is another’s burden, so the healthcare aspects of this issue must be handled on a federal level. This does not mean we shouldn’t invest more heavily in healthcare access for all anyone who needs it. Pregnancy prevention programs, access to contraception, and ensuring we have enough infrastructure to treat our population are topics to investigate.

 

(R) Dan Woog –TOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 


DISTRICT 29

(D) Shannon Bird – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Many SRO’s are part of identifying abuse happening towards children. I support increased investment in additional mental health support for our youth.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: People have the right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to harass and intimidate others.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to better monitor our forests to increase fire response time. Key sectors of the state economy should work together to protect our water. 

FENTANYL: Increasing penalties is the right thing to do. 

HOMELESSNESS: We need to create partnerships with local governments and nonprofits to provide shelter and programs to help people struggling with addiction and mental health problems. I support expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We must invest in affordable public transportation.

 

(R) Venessa DeMott

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I support SRO’s, potentially arming teachers, and increased mental health services. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Raise the legal age to purchase a firearm to 25 and increase mental health services.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to mitigate open spaces to prevent brush fires. 

FENTANYL: I believe police intervention and incarceration can help lead addicts to sobriety.

 HOMELESSNESS: Invest in Homeless Navigators Program that helps homeless individuals and offers interventions. Help incarcerated individuals get back into the workforce. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: The budget and Department of Transportation need to be constantly assessed. We need to work with municipalities to ensure our roads are usable.

 


DISTRICT 31

(D) Said Sharbini — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: SRO’s do more harm than good. We need to focus on mental health evaluations and providing treatment. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Supports common sense gun regulations such as universal background checks. Police officers should be required to get a college education.

ENVIRONMENT: Focus on renewable energy, electric vehicles, and forest mitigation. We need more aggressive climate legislation and to work with surrounding states to solve our water conservation problem. 

FENTANYL: I do not support an increase in penalties. We need to end the war on drugs, it’s not working. 

HOMELESSNESS: We could create stop gap housing that helps people get into hotel rooms temporarily. Mental health, drug addiction, and employment programs need to be provided. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: TABOR is a hindrance to providing usable roads as it prevents enough money from getting to where it needs to be.

 

(R) Heidi Pitchforth

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I support SROs, arming teachers, and more counselors in schools. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Criminals will always have guns and law-abiding citizens should not be penalized from carrying a gun. It doesn’t matter what political ideology these militant groups have: if you break the law, you break the law.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to groom our forests and remove all the deadwood that may cause a wildfire. We have enough water in Colorado, we just have to keep it local and limit its access to other states. 

FENTANYL: There has to be penalties for distribution and I think addicts need treatment. 

HOMELESSNESS: We need to have resources available for the homeless, provide treatment for the mentally ill, and get them into permanent housing where they are contributing to society. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: Using the tax dollars we have right now in the transportation program would be a great start. 

ADDITIONAL

DEI: CRT (Critical Race Theory) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning) are ideologies that divide people into groups and fosters a victim mentality.

 


DISTRICT 33

(D) William Lindstedt — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: SROs are really an issue that’s best left to local school districts. SROs might be a part of that solution but I think school districts need to make that decision locally.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Colorado has made strides with comprehensive background checks and magazine limits, our red flag law. There’s a lot of guns in this country—it’s a public health crisis and needs to be addressed head on.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to give our communities adequate resources to maintain their open spaces and support fire departments. But, it’s about climate change. It’s going to be about meeting our greenhouse gas emissions goals.

FENTANYL: Criminalization isn’t a way to get people to get clean and sober. HB22-1326 provided funding for harm reduction. But it’s a problem that the bill isn’t going to solve and we need to take more actions.

HOMELESSNESS: We need resources to find long-term housing. The biggest thing we can do is prevent people from becoming unhoused. We need to make sure that we’re building enough housing.

INFRASTRUCTURE: SB21-260 funded improvements to our transportation system and I’m watching to see how it unfolds. We haven’t funded our infrastructure system sustainably enough to accommodate all the growths we’ve seen in Colorado.

(R) Stacie Dougherty – Radio Silent


DISTRICT 34

(D) Jenny Willford — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I’m somewhere in the middle. I want more community interaction and trust-building with law enforcement. That we’re implementing (SB217) reforms in a way that’s transparent and reflects the direction we’re going as a nation around policing.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need to ban assault rifles. Despite legislation that authorized local control in the past, the issue is a statewide concern—when you’ve got different regulations in different parts of the state it complicates issues.

ENVIRONMENT: Addressing climate change and reducing emissions—that can help with wildfires and air quality. We need more resilient homes and improved fire mitigation across the state recognizing that the Marshall Fire could happen anywhere.

FENTANYL: Penalties are part of the equation and the fentanyl epidemic is ripping communities apart. The answer is somewhere in the middle: penalties will help, but we need to be investing in treatment.

HOMELESSNESS: We need case management to build relationships and trust. Affordable housing is a huge issue but folks have so many other obstacles too—we should explore opportunities to break through some of those barriers.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Tabor really hamstrings what we’re able to do. Without additional funding, I don’t know how we’ll meet these challenges. We want to invest in our infrastructure, because when we do, we create good paying jobs.

 

(R) Kevin Allen 

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We need to fund our police to address crime and keep our schools safe. I would be in favor of having SROs—I’m an advocate for local control and want the individual school districts to decide.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Protecting the Second Amendment is my first priority. Continued education of gun ownership is key to making sure that our streets remain safe because an armed society is a safer society.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to have better forest management—we are still recovering from the beetle kill. I want to work with our state and local partners to unify building code standards across the state.

FENTANYL: HB22-1326 did not go far enough and HB19-1263 was a mistake. I would re-criminalize fentanyl and work to stem the flow of illicit drugs across the border and educate our citizenry on why drugs are unsafe.

HOMELESSNESS: It’s more complicated than one solution. It has to do with mental health, taking care of veterans, getting drugs off the street, providing police resources, having job training and people available to help transition off the street.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We have to prioritize our budget. I want to work towards making sure that we’re allocating enough money to improve our roads and bridges and keep them safe.

 


DISTRICT 49

(D) Judy Amabile – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Boulder Valley school board voted against SRO’s. We need to substitute with more counseling. I have worked to allocate $100 million for children, youth and families to get mental health resources and $100 million for mental health grants. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: People want common sense gun regulations. I have worked to pass gun violence prevention bills and have another coming soon that will institute a waiting period.

ENVIRONMENT: I helped pass fire mitigation bills and bills insuring homeowners against wildfire damage.. More climate legislation is needed at a state and federal level. 

FENTANYL: Focus on drug education. More funding should go towards medication assisted treatment, providing test strips, and making Narcan nasal sprays should be available in public bathrooms.

HOMELESSNESS: I helped pass a bill that puts $200 million towards homeless services, half towards drug and mental health treatment and housing and the other half will go towards grants for local governments and nonprofits. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: Uber and other delivery services are now required to pay for transportation fees to help roads. We must maintain the infrastructure that we already have and create more public transit in places that need it.

 

(R) Katie Lehr –TOO EXTREME

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I can’t imagine not having an SRO officer would have been beneficial. Uvalde is a gateway for cartels. That school had been on lock-down many times prior to that incident. The people killed in Uvalde were minorities, killed by a minority, and officers on site were of Hispanic background.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: People convicted of domestic violence or with a history of mental instability should not be able to obtain firearms. I am confused as to why a far right militia member might be a hindrance to a police force.  

ENVIRONMENT: The county has an obligation to maintain this open space, before it serves a kindling for a grass fire. Keep Colorado’s water in Colorado.  

FENTANYL: Increase penalties. Put addicts in jail, give them treatment, and try to help them when they have served their time in prison. The state of Colorado should help find employment post incarceration. 

HOMELESSNESS: I would not do anything on homelessness. City voters have spent millions of dollars on shelters and the homeless are service resistant. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: The government is wasting tax money and is not sure how to fix CO’s roads.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: I’m glad Roe v. Wade was overturned. Sex education should be gender-segregated. Boys shouldn’t have to learn about menstruation, because the girls are embarrassed to have their periods.

 

(L) Daniel Lutz

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Create inexpensive programs that give Veterans jobs with the purpose of defending schools. Supports arming teachers. Use local resources, such as child counselors, to improve mental health programs.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: More organizations to educate community members with gun safety regulation. People in law enforcement need to learn to work together despite political differences. 

ENVIRONMENT: PILT: Payment in Lieu of Federal Tax money, which allows counties to have federal lands and never sell them for private use. More money to stop drought is not the answer. We should put more effort into reflecting shortwave radiation from the sun. 

FENTANYL: Less penalties, more treatment programs. Stronger regulations on lacing other products with fentanyl.  

HOMELESSNESS: Get rid of laws that prevent organizations and individuals from helping others with rent.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Spend half of the cannabis tax money towards improving infrastructure and give the other half back to the taxpayer.

 


DISTRICT 27

(D) Brianna Titone – Incumbent, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: SRO’s put a lot of fear into kids, especially in schools with a lot of marginalized people. Passed a bill that allows kids ages 12 and up to be able to talk to a counselor. More counselors in schools.  

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Second Amendment outdated. Police and safety officers should protect everyone and not favor anybody.  

ENVIRONMENT: Give fire departments more resources and improve mitigation. More water recycling, getting rid of turf grass, and learning from drier states on how to conserve water. 

FENTANYL: Passed a bill last year to help people identify fentanyl in their drugs. Prison is not the answer. Need to empower people to get the help that they need.

HOMELESSNESS: Need to better equip housing shelters to assist addicts, as well as bringing them back to self-sufficiency. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: We need to get more people on public transportation and alternative forms of transportation. We can put more resources at people’s facilities to help them get around better. 

(R) Lynn Emrick – RADIO SILENT

 

(L) Jacob Luria

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Support staff and teachers being armed. Improve children’s mental health by restricting screen time during lunch. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: Gun legislation should be determined at local level. Local marches have more influence than the Supreme Court. Supports free speech unless a group is violent or damaging. 

ENVIRONMENT: Forest management is extremely important, as is private conservation. States should also be banding together to raise money to fight drought in the Colorado River. 

FENTANYL: Decriminalize all drugs. The War on Drugs has failed and decriminalizing drugs is the best way to keep Mexican drug cartels from coming into the country. 

HOMELESSNESS: Find better ways to encourage homeless addicts to shelters. Can’t force people to enter these shelters against their will, but that leaves a lot of addicts on the streets. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: Some of the roads should definitely be privatized and sent back to localities. Let local areas be responsible to fix their roads.

 


SECRETARY OF STATE

1. Election security is vital to our democracy, fortunately Colorado has some of the safest elections in the country – how will you maintain safe elections for our state and what are your top priorities for ensuring election security?
2. How will you encourage voter registration in Colorado and what do you see as the most important areas of improvement for encouraging voter registration?
3. How will you improve the process for reporting a campaign-finance complaint, what issues do you see with the current process that could be improved?
4. The position of Secretary of State has become increasingly political in recent years, how will you maintain election integrity?
5. Closing thoughts: please provide any closing thoughts for readers or any issues you would like to cover that we haven’t.

 

(D) Jena Griswold Incumbent, ENDORSED

1. In a second term, I will continue to innovate and respond to emerging election security threats. I will enforce the laws and rules we have in place that make Colorado a leader in election security.
2. I’ve led the largest democracy reform package in the nation. That included automatic voter registration reform, which led to more than 350,000 eligible Coloradans registering to vote.
3. I have led legislation that shines light on dark money, prohibits foreign political spending, and requires disclaimers on political ads. We also set up campaign finance enforcement, so that the rich and well-connected could not sidestep the rules.
4. I have increased voting access and protected the right to vote for all voters, Republican, Democrat and Unaffiliated. I have passed numerous bipartisan bills this legislative session, and if reelected, I will continue to work across the aisle, with all political parties.
5. I will continue to ensure that every eligible voter — Republican, Democrat, and Unaffiliated alike — has access to free and fair elections. That’s how democracy works. One person, one vote regardless of party.

 

(R) Pam Anderson – QUALIFIED

1. I will launch the Citizens Election Academy. I will work to restore the cybersecurity team and resources directed to elections operations, not for commercials to raise my political profile. I will continue to lead on unbiased and experienced professional leadership for Coloradans.
2. I’ve led on supporting voter registration modernization. We need to be transparent in the safeguards and processes that ensure everyone’s vote is accurate and valid.
3. I will delegate the office’s authority to the nonpartisan staff and return to professional rather than political evaluations. I will work with the legislature to eliminate gotcha rules used by all sides for partisan political reasons, and will institute published guidelines to how decisions on penalties are determined to increase transparency.
4. I will restore professionalism and keep moving the ball on standardizing and improving election best practices in Colorado. I am a better elections official by listening to those with valid concerns, not dismissing them.
5. I have the proven track record of serving as a fair referee and a history of working across the aisle with legislators on both sides to best serve our voters.

 

(UP) Gary Swing

1. I was the vice chairman of the Colorado Coalition for Fair and Open Elections back in the 1990s. I’m a former national advisory board member for the Center for Voting and Democracy. Colorado elections are technically secure. It’s the job of election administrators to maintain and update security measures.
2. I support expansion of automatic voter registration. Why would people vote in a system that excludes them from representation? In the US we’re stuck with our system that was originally designed to preserve slavery. Proportional representation encourages voting and making every vote count.
3. There is too much money spent on political campaigns that fail to provide fair representation for a diverse population. Campaign finance laws are set up to bleed money from inexperienced candidates who are on a shoestring budget.
4. As a political issue, election integrity has been used to distract attention from the real problems with elections. My top priority is to implement proportional representation voting. The U.S. political system is designed by two cartel parties to exclude political minorities of all types from representation.
5. I support a proposal to use hybrid proportional representation to elect a 185 member unicameral state legislature. I support ballot access reform. We have the most restrictive ballot access laws in the world designed by two cartel parties to exclude other parties from participating in the process.

 


LONGMONT CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL ELECTION

Local races are bipartisan, therefore YS does not include party affiliation.

Sean McCoy — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We need an expert on dealing with students and families and then bring in police officers when it’s absolutely necessary.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need to demand that people who have guns have insurance and liability insurance. People would be a lot more careful with their guns and not allow people that are too immature to have them.

ENVIRONMENT: We have to start looking at what we can do in our communities to be more resilient. How do we deal with zoning issues about the type of siding that we put on our houses? 

FENTANYL: It’s an educational thing of how dangerous it is. Longmont could arm people with Narcan—our best move is trying to educate people.

HOMELESSNESS: Longmont might need to help by providing a piece of property to be used for housing (for homeless outreach). People feel their county government is not doing enough—we need to do more.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Longmont’s in pretty decent shape. I am a strong believer in solar gardening on most city buildings and properties to lower electricity costs. We need more people composting and being more sustainable.

 

Mitzi Nicoletti – QUALIFIED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Students of color are disciplined more aggressively—in those cases, it would not make the situation better. It may be different from school to school, but it’s not always helpful. It causes problems.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: The community needs to have a discussion for a resolution. It’s important to look at background checks. Gun safety is critical and people should feel safe in the community.

ENVIRONMENT: Every city should have a fire emergency plan and everyone should be properly insured. Managing our natural resources is critical and looking at how we’re building our communities.

FENTANYL: Fentanyl shouldn’t be on the street. It should only be in a controlled medical setting and additional mental health services would help this critical situation.

HOMELESSNESS: Our solution is going to provide shelter for the unhoused—including wraparound services and counseling, which will help them transition to permanent housing. That’s a top priority.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We should go after any money that might be in the recently passed infrastructure bill. Especially when it involves renewable energy projects, which could affect the schools and some of the commercial buildings.

 

Gary Hodges

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I support SROs. I don’t think I would have any influence or say on that. My understanding is that it’s going to be a school board and not a local governance issue.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: If I’m fortunate to be elected, I wouldn’t bring forth any ordinance or resolution nor would I support any ordinance or resolution that restricts your gun rights in Longmont.

ENVIRONMENT: We could look at fire breaks and landscaping. I would encourage people to have adequate insurance. Adequate firefighting. The architecture of homes, different roofs, materials on the houses might be valuable. 

FENTANYL: I would like to talk to our Chief of Police how we might be able to insulate our city from the liberalization of criminal offenses. I’m all for doing whatever we can to reduce the amount of fentanyl use in the city.

HOMELESSNESS: I disagree with the idea that housing first is an effective solution. The vast majority is vagrancy. I would take a firm but compassionate approach to deal with the vagrancy-end of homelessness.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Longmont has a long-standing .75% tax that goes directly to maintenance and upkeep of roads, sidewalks, etc. We have a steady reliable source of income. I don’t have any complaints.

 


SUPERIOR CITY COUNCIL

Local races are bipartisan, therefore YS does not include party affiliation.

Mark Lacis – Unopposed, ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Superior doesn’t have a school district so I don’t think the question applies. We need to curb the availability of guns. Mental health services should be available to children. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: We need to stop catering to the NRA. I support the bans. I don’t respond to intimidation. 

ENVIRONMENT: We need to focus on renewable energy. I have passed oil and gas regulations. We need to preserve open spaces and implement more wildfire prevention measures. I’m happy to see the funding to fight the drought but it’s not enough. 

FENTANYL: I don’t agree with the criminalization of drugs. The war on drugs is a failure. We should be spending on Narcan, test kits, and education. 

HOMELESSNESS: Superior hasn’t really been affected. We should focus on affordable housing, fire mitigation, mental health and drug use. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: I support small sales tax increases, weep businesses thriving, invest in public and alternative transportation, and encourage electric vehicles.

 

Jenn Kaaoush – ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I don’t agree with SROs. We should increase awareness of the support systems that exist, normalize mental health awareness, and support mental health initiatives. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I support gun reform. We need to make sure all members of the community are included in decisions. I believe in gun safety. Action should be taken against militias so a precedent is set. Leadership should shine a light on them. 

ENVIRONMENT: I am the director of Superior Rising which develops ways for prevention and rebuilding. Finding resources is a priority. We need to curb flammable fencing and plant life around homes. The money is not enough to fight the drought. 

FENTANYL: Penalty doesn’t stop usage. We need more resources to stop it entering communities and focus on mental health, education, addiction services. Stop it at home with teens. 

HOMELESSNESS: I volunteer with Bridge house, an organization that helps the unhoused find work and provide housing. We need to fund more resources. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: Let’s focus on rezoning and development. There’s not a lot more room for development in Superior. We need to focus on finding other available resources and traffic mitigations. 

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: I’m pro-Roe. The more sex and reproductive rights education and resources, the better.

 

Neal Shah – ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Listen to parents with kids in schools. I support cutting down SROs. We need to fund mental health initiatives. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I support the laws already in place, common sense gun laws, and finding middle ground. We need to make sure language is clear in legislation. I am unaware of militia infiltration in Colorado but believe more training should be implemented in police departments.

ENVIRONMENT: I co-founded Superior Rising. We need to listen to the community and keep it informed and more affordable resources. I support responders. The money for drought is a drop in a bucket. Stop wasting water on unnecessary grass. Reduce energy usage. 

FENTANYL: Increase access to narcan. Penalties don’t do enough.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: Despite the Supreme Court, nothing has changed in CO at a state level. I support more education for kids and access to birth control.

 

Jason Serbu – Refused interview

 

Stephanie Miller – ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: We need to focus on mental health over SROs. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I am disappointed that groups are more concerned with 2nd amendment rights over mitigating gun violence. I support common sense gun laws and more mental health availability.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to mitigate possible ignition points and rebuild with prevention in mind. I will ensure rebuilding is affordable for homeowners and increase community communication. I am not as informed as to the drought and need to do more research.

FENTANYL: Increased penalties don’t work for users, but might help deter distributors. We need to provide mental health services.

HOMELESSNESS: Affordable housing is imperative. Look to the tiny home movement for potential ideas. Mental support is key as is increasing availability of jobs for the unhoused.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I support a sunset tax that will be on the ballot this November to help offset recovery costs. Other small taxes can go a long way.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: The population in general, not just women, needs more sex education. We need to remove the stigma around abortions and ensure access to health care for people in need.

 

Mike Foster – ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: I believe SROs can make children feel safer. I do not support arming teachers. We need to work with the state and federal government to provide more mental health care in schools.  

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: AR’s are strictly military weapons. I believe in sensible gun laws but am not optimistic about their implementation. We need to ensure police departments are appropriately vetting applicants.

ENVIRONMENT: Climate change should be at the forefront of legislation at all levels. I support a sales tax to help towns rebuild. We must use funds to increase water storage capacity and help local companies increase agricultural efficiency. 

FENTANYL: Penalties can help, but focus must be on addiction treatment, mental health, and education. 

HOMELESSNESS: I support building more affordable housing. 

INFRASTRUCTURE:: I will use funds from federal infrastructure bills to repair roads and increase access to public transportation. 

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: The government should not dictate women’s decisions.

 

Michael Neustedter – QUALIFIED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Schools are underfunded so excess resources should be dumped. Guns don’t belong in classrooms. We need to increase mental health resources and increase mindfulness training.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: No individual needs an AR. All sides should be heard but increase media outreach to keep the public informed of the facts. More restrictions on guns equals safer communities.

ENVIRONMENT: We must focus on prevention and mitigation through community education. Investing more resources towards conservation is incredibly important for Colorado’s economy.

FENTANYL: I support stiffer penalties.

HOMELESSNESS:: We must focus on mental health and availability of affordable housing. Long term methods towards connecting with the unhoused on an individual level are worth looking into.

INFRASTRUCTURE: I don’t have a specific answer but we should listen to the community.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: Parents should educate their children on the issue as should schools.

 

Stephanie Schader

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: Does not support SROs. Increase mental health resources and education that allows students to be more in touch with their emotions.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I feel there is a balance that should be struck. I am against concealed and open carry. I need to think more on the matter. I believe militias and misinformation can be real threats. We should monitor social media for warning signs.

ENVIRONMENT: We need to consider the past, what’s worked and what hasn’t and update policy moving forward. We should focus on clean energy. Increase awareness of electric vehicles. Educate the community on mitigation and prevention. I Don’t know if the money is enough or not.

FENTANYL: Increase access to jobs. I believe in stiffer penalties, that we should curb influx of immigrants andIncrease cooperation with law enforcement.

HOMELESSNESS: Affordable housing is key. We should follow California’s model and repurpose hotels.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We need to attract more taxable businesses.

ADDITIONAL

ROE V. WADE: I support age appropriate sex education for boys and girls. We need to increase awareness of the potential consequences of sex. I support Planned Parenthood and other low-cost providers.

 

Bob McCool – Refused interview

 


BOULDER COUNTY

COMMISSIONER

(D) Ashley Stolzmann — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: School districts should decide on SRO’s. I support school districts providing mental health programs and these services should be more widespread across the county. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I’m proud of the community for passing the assault rifle legislation. It’s important that law enforcement knows how to identify white nationalists and to make sure that they’re not hiring them. 

ENVIRONMENT: We must continue mitigating public lands and private property, rebuild using more resilient materials, and practice regenerative agriculture. Keep water in the stream and improve our conservation laws.

FENTANYL: End the war on drugs. Improve our programs to stop addiction and to have more community conversations about addiction to break the stigma. 

HOMELESSNESS: Boulder County housing program needs more resources. Multi-pronged approach to provide more resources faster. Encourage collaboration between towns.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Unincorporated roads  in poor condition in subdivisions. Equity issue because cities in Boulder County are paid to maintain their roads while incorporated area subdivisions are neglected.

 

(L) Bo Schaffer — Radio Silent

 


SHERIFF

(D) Curtis Johnson — ENDORSED

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH: School districts should be the ones who decide whether they want SRO’s. I don’t support arming teachers. Mental health programs in schools are important to students’ well-being.

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I am frustrated by federal inaction on gun legislation. Local communities are taking it upon themselves to pass ordinances. Must be extremely careful in our hiring processes and in our background checks.

ENVIRONMENT: I am working hard to look at ways to mitigate fuels to lessen the opportunity for such damaging wildfires. We must make sure communities have the right resources to fight fires.

FENTANYL: I support penalties for people distributing drugs. We need to take an aggressive approach to dealing with addiction.

HOMELESSNESS: We need to stop relying on law enforcement to deal with the unhoused. I am committed to working with human and housing services to ensure the homeless stay out of the criminal justice system simply because they’re unhoused.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Continue the current transportation tax in Boulder County to address infrastructure needs without raising new taxes. Provide better alternative transportation options.

(R) Lee Stadele – Radio Silent

 


CLERK & RECORDER

(D) Molly Fitzpatrick — Unopposed

QUESTIONS:

– As someone who maintains records of real estate and mortgages, how do you think politicians should combat the rise of homelessness in Colorado?
– How important is the Respect for Marriage Act? How has it impacted Boulder County?
– What precautions are you taking to protect our elections this season?
– How are you getting people to vote this election season? What other programs have you coordinated in the past?

ANSWERS: 

HOMELESSNESS: We are working to develop information for the public that describes some of the common questions that we get from first time homebuyers. We want to break down the jargon so new homebuyers can understand. 

RESPECT FOR MARRIAGE ACT: It’s very important that that legislation is passed. Our office has an important history in the fight for marriage equality that I have every intention of continuing in my role as clerk.

PROTECT ELECTIONS: Protecting the right to vote right now is an important priority for our office. We worked with the Colorado legislature on bills that enhance security procedures for local election offices. We produced a 20 page election security report that details why the public can feel confident about our elections process. We do tours so the public can see what election operations look like. There was no election fraud in the 2020 election in any state.

VOTING: I’m proud of our High School Voter Registration Awareness Week. I worked with the Colorado legislature on a bill in 2019 that increases access to voting centers for college students and increased drop boxes across the state. Part of that legislation included removing drop boxes from police stations. I serve on a committee that promotes early voting. Make sure the community is confident in our voting processes.

 


TREASURER

(D) Paul Weissman — Unopposed

QUESTIONS:

– On December 9 of 2021, Buller county adopted a $549.8 million budget for 2022. Much of its funding went towards forest health and wildfire mitigation. Do you think enough money was funded for these programs?
– Do you believe there should be an increase in taxes to improve Boulder’s infrastructure? Are there any particular areas in regards to infrastructure that need improvement?
– What is your stance on active military property tax deferral?
– Do you think the proposed library district will become an asset to the community? Or will it cost the community too much tax money?
– Since your reelection in 2018, what negative and positive changes have you seen in Boulder County’s funding?
– What should Boulder County residents keep in mind during local midterm elections?

ANSWERS:

WILDFIRES: I’m not intimate with the budgets of Boulder County. What I do is get them the money for it. I don’t think Boulder County could have done it alone. I think the federal government should work in tandem with the state. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: What I’d do is make a deal or cut ties with the local RTD. Let them handle regional transportation and we will build our own transit infrastructure. 

MILITARY PROPERTY TAX DEFERRAL:  I think it’s a good policy. A lot of times when you’re called for duty, the last thing you need to do is scramble to try to figure out your property taxes.

LIBRARY DISTRICT: In an ideal world, the library would be funded by the city. Libraries are one of the first things to scale back financially when economic issues are encountered. The city relies on sales taxes which causes libraries to get the short end. 

POSITIVES/NEGATIVES: We’ve increased the numbers of people that are paying property taxes online. We’ve been open and accessible to the community and the governments we collect for which will continue to grow.

MIDTERMS: Know that there are ballot issues that will affect you. People that are less engaged tend to see sales taxes rising and get upset because they don’t know why.

 


COUNTY ASSESSOR

(D) Cynthia Braddock — Unopposed

POLICE/SCHOOLS/MENTAL HEALTH I think SROs are absolutely essential. I don’t agree with arming teachers. Our office doesn’t deal with policy making but I would support any legislature regarding mental health services. 

GUNS/MILITANT GROUPS: I’m not anti-gun but I think it’s too easy for people to get guns. I think there’s a type of gun that should not be in the hands of anybody but the military. I don’t think police departments should tolerate far-right activity. 

ENVIRONMENT: We need to have more money and more programs available to help people keep their properties in safe condition. We need to make sure the people in our communities have their properties insured. I think that the government has a role in providing help and support to people not only in recovery, but also in preparation.

FENTANYL: I think we need huge improvements in our social network and our mental health support for people. I think criminalizing this behavior doesn’t really stop it.

HOMELESSNESS: In my political position, I can’t do a lot. But personally, I think that we need to do more. I think the solution really is in addressing this as a social concern and funding that better so that we can meet people where they are and help them come out of the situation. 

INFRASTRUCTURE: It’s not what I do as assessor, but I certainly would support measures that move it into mass transit, buses, high speed trains, light rails. We should make it affordable to be subsidized. Everybody should be able to access mass transit. I also support other transportation modes such as biking and electric vehicles.

 


CORONER

(D) Emma R. Hall — Unopposed


WELD COUNTY

COMMISSIONER 

Scott James – Unopposed, Refused interview

 


SHERIFF

Steve Reams – Unopposed, TOO EXTREME, Refused interview

 


CLERK AND RECORDER

Carly S. Knoppes – Unopposed, Refused interview

 


COLORADO STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

1. Why are you running and what are your highest priorities?
2. Do recent NAEP scores have any policy implications?
3. School safety – what further measures, if any, do you support?
4. What do you understand about DEI and what more should elected officials be doing to ensure racial justice?
5. What is your view of charter schools and school choice?
6. Should for-profit schools receive public funding?
7. In light of the recent SCOTUS case, must Colorado provide public support to religious schools?
8. What should be schools’ approach to education about sexuality and gender?
9. What role do you see for parents in schools, including having a voice in curriculum and/or choice of literature or subject material?

 

(D) Kathy Plomer – ENDORSED

1. I care about public education. It’s been a passion since my oldest child started kindergarten. Well-resourced classrooms with up-to-date curriculum, broadband internet connection and a diversity of course offerings.  Address teacher shortages.

2. More one-on-one attention or credit recovery options. How do you use the resources available to now address the issue?

3. Three levels. Prevention. We need to understand if kids are in crisis and they are ready to hurt themselves or others. Making our buildings safer and procedures that lessen the risk. Coordinated relationships with law enforcement.

4. To advance as a country we need to have an honest study of the past. You cannot talk about the Civil Rights Movement without talking about racism and slavery.

5. Every student deserves a school that parents can feel confident about; some at public charter schools, some at neighborhood schools – magnet schools, innovation schools.

6. No.

7. Since they’re not public schools it’s the same answer.

8. Every child who comes to the door needs to be seen for who they are, needs to be treated with dignity.  Kids who identify as LGBTQ have higher rates of suicide, stress and anxiety. We can have those conversations in our classrooms.

9. They already have a voice. Whenever a school district has a new curriculum, those materials are put out for parents to view. It’s a partnership.

 

(D) Joseph Shelton – ENDORSED

1. I decided to run because Steve Durham has been in this seat since 2014 and hasn’t shown up in his community. I  want to make sure we’re building an education system that prepares our students for a future.

2. More on practice than policy.

3. Reasonable security measures, but not armed guards or armed teachers.

4. Diversity equity and inclusion is making sure that everyone’s getting a seat at the table and we’re getting the best support systems possible. My number one plan is to build a Community Coalition.

5. I support Charter Schools. I support a parent’s right to choose where their student goes to school.

6. No.

7. If it’s a public institution. I don’t believe that religion should play any part.

8. As an openly gay man, gender and sexuality studies and support for LGBTQ students are very important – the kind of education that really supports our youth, especially those who are at high risk of suicide. Talking about LGBTQ issues doesn’t hurt anyone.

9. They should be able to choose what classes their child takes. If a parent doesn’t want their kid in sex ed, they should be able to say yes or no.

 

(D) Rebecca McClellan – ENDORSED

1. I’m running for re-election to continue the work of supporting academic growth and achievement for all students.  Implementing the READ ACT – evidence based literacy –  is very important.

2. The impact of  interruptions to in person learning are reflected in the latest scores. The value of professional teachers delivering in person instruction cannot be overstated.

3. When we prioritize respect and humanity for every student, our schools are safer. This includes prioritizing mental health support and protocols for identifying and stopping bullying.

4. The State Board can support diversity, equity and inclusion by following the terms of HB19-1192 as we revise the Standards. We should include the contributions of people from diverse groups, as the law now indicates.

5. The majority of charter school applications are approved locally without State Board involvement.

7. I believe in the separation of church and state.  I would find a shift to public funding of religious schools concerning.

8. Opting out of sex education is allowed.  It should be factual and comprehensive so that students can gain accurate understanding.

9. Colorado is a local control state and our constitution forbids the Legislature and the State Board from prescribing textbooks.  The teacher is the best person to talk with.

 

(R) Peggy Probst – QUALIFIED

1. Literacy levels have plummeted – 40 percent leave third grade without reading.  I want to address the declining academic performance. We are seriously jeopardizing our kids.

2. If they can’t read, they can’t do any other content area. We must have  literacy specialists who understand the science of reading.

3. Perhaps retired military or law enforcement who volunteer their time. Arming staff or teachers could be considered.It should not be a mandate.

4. Education is the great equalizer.  A conscientious effort to improve the level of academic achievement is the best way to approach equity.

5. I support parents’ choice because every child is different.

6. Some charter schools have a chartering entity that is for-profit. They have management companies that help run them.

7. In Colorado we receive some federal funding, state funding and local funding, Money could be tied to the child without strings attached from the government. I think all of us are looking very closely at what’s going on in Arizona to see if that experiment works.

8. We have science-based health and sex education.. There should be a parental right to opt in or out and/or provide instruction at home.

9. The State Board of Education sets standards, but we don’t dictate curriculum. That is left to local school districts.

 

(R) Molly Lamar – Radio Silent

(D) Rhonda Solis – Radio Silent

(R) Dan Maloit – Radio Silent

(R) Steve Durham – Refused interview

 


UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO REGENTS

1. What are your highest priorities if elected/reelected?
2. How would you define the purpose of higher education?
3. What is your view of affirmative action and the SCOTUS case that will be argued this fall?
4. Colorado funds higher education at one of the lowest rates in the nation. Only 6 states are worse.  How can the system increase revenue or control expenses?
5. The Regents have been widely criticized for the CU presidential searches. Can that process be improved?
6. Do you believe free speech restriction is a problem on Colorado college campuses?

 

(D) Wanda James – ENDORSED

1. Higher education should be a pathway to success from a traditional four-year student learning from great books at one campus to an older adult gaining new skills  for career advancement at another.

2. Diversity, diversity, diversity.  As the first Black woman on the Board of Regents in more than 4 decades, I wish to see the diversity of our state reflected in the student body, faculty and administration.

3. It is a shame that affirmative action is threatened. This “campaign”dates back to the Carter administration when Ward Connerly, a Black Regent in the University of California system, began a long crusade to eliminate affirmative action, which he saw as a form of racial discrimination.

4. I believe we are 49th or 50th! Unfortunately, there is little that Regents can do but work with the legislature to encourage more support.

5. I support the appointment of Todd Saliman. The recent searches have been well-conducted. If there had been more transparency, the public perception problems might have been avoided.

6. The political rhetoric around this issue is not supported by real experience. I’m not aware of any student whose conservative viewpoint has been repressed in the classroom.

 

(R) Frank McNulty – QUALIFIED

1. Higher education is to help build better people; to allow them to experience things that they haven’t experienced in their lives.

2. My top priority is to make sure that we have diversity of thought and experience throughout the system. We need to prioritize the Athletics program to make sure that it’s resourced at the very highest levels.

3. Students benefit from learning from others. Experiences we share help make us better people. Diversity makes for a stronger University system.

4. It is important for the legislature to better fund our education system. It is the largest unprotected pot of money in the state budget. Regents must make the case well and make it loudly.

5. I was involved in the presidential search that recommended Mark Kennedy.  Partisans outside of the Board got a hold of that nomination and decided to sink him.  I don’t think that the process is fundamentally flawed.

6. Cancel culture exists on college campuses. Conservatives are the ones most concerned. Regents need to set an example that we can have productive, respectful discussions of philosophical ideas. That example should carry through to the administration, the faculty and the students.

 

(D) Jack Barrington

1. The purpose of higher education is to enhance people’s abilities to function in our society,  become better, contributing members of society.

2. To make sure that the people are taking care of the students, the faculty and the staff.  I’m going to be considering the effect on people, more than I will be on political expediency.

3. As long as there has been and are still roadblocks or gatekeeping done to keep minorities from accessing the same services and resources as others, we do need some way of balancing.

4. Since I haven’t gotten to the position yet I can’t speak specifically on any point.

5. My opponent had been heavily involved in forcing through the previous president who was basically run out of town on a rail.  I would try to bring in as many of the varying Community leaders to seek out candidates so that we could have a larger candidate pool of qualified people, regardless of their race, sex, creed or religion.

6. It really is more of a legal question as to what kind of limits can the university put in place on any kind of speech being funded by the government.

 

(R) Ken Montera – QUALIFIED

1. Higher education is there to not only establish specific skills based on a major but it’s also there to foster one’s ability to make decisions, based on critical thinking skills.

2. The cost of education;Making sure the money that is provided to the university is moving to the areas that are most important. Reaching more students within our state.

3. It’s not just about people of color or people of a certain identity, but it’s also about political thought and representation from rural communities, farming communities, and places that are harder to reach.

4. Only 5.5 or 5.7 percent of our budget comes from state funding and that has a significant impact on the cost that gets passed on to the students. Our donor levels are at all-time highs. When you have a $5.2 billion operating budget, there will be opportunities to evaluate expenses.

5. It’s very difficult for anyone to come out of a contentious search. It was unfortunate for President Kennedy to go through that. This time I think we ended up in a pretty good place.

6. I’m a strong proponent of free speech. If you believe in free speech you’ve got to believe that it offers the same opportunity for everybody.

 

(R) Mark VanDriel – ENDORSED

1. To prepare students’ minds for all the awesome possibilities life offers. Education should provide good value as students move on to work and life after college.

2. The highest priority is to make higher education more affordable.  As I have had a career in higher education, I know the value of a strong advising system and this should be a priority.

3. Affirmative action has been a crude tool with good intentions. If affirmative action is not permitted, CO might look to workable strategies developed elsewhere, i.e. programs that guarantee admission to the top tier of students at all high schools.

4. Even if CO reached the median, it would be only about $2,400 more per student. We might lower costs by partnering with 2 year colleges to reduce the time and expense at CU. Administrative costs can be reduced.

5. The biggest credibility gap arose from having only one final candidate.

6. Restriction of speech at Colorado campuses doesn’t seem to be a real problem.

 

(D) Ron Casados – Radio Silent

(D) Yolanda Ortega – Radio Silent

 


BALLOT ISSUES

State

  • Amendment D | In 2020, the state legislature passed a law creating the 23rd Judicial District out of the existing 18th Judicial District. A ‘yes’ will initiate a definitive mechanism for transitioning judges currently living within the new district boundaries into their seat position in the 23rd Judicial District. Amendment D amends the state constitution requiring the Governor to reassign judges from the 18th Judicial District the the 23rd Judicial District. | YES
  • Amendment E | Colorado currently offers the Homestead Exemption to spouses of 100 percent disabled veterans when the veteran dies. A vote ‘yes’ to extending the Homestead Exemption to Gold Star spouses would reduce property taxes for homeowners who are the surviving spouse of a military service member who died in the line of duty or a veteran or who died from service-related injuries or diseases. | YES
  • Amendment F | A ‘yes’ would allow non-profit organizations to operate in Colorado for a minimum of three years instead of five years, the current requirement, before applying for a bingo-raffle license. A ‘yes’ would also allow, but not require, a member of the non-profit organization working as the bingo raffle operator to receive compensation up to the minimum wage before a complete repeal of compensation restrictions on July, 1, 2024. | YES
  • Proposition FF | A ‘yes’ will create the Healthy School Meals for All program. Along with additional federal funding, funding would come from an increase in income taxes owed by households with federal taxable incomes over $300,000. Any school meal provider can participate in the program, which will feed any student regardless of income at a participating school. Beginning in the 2024–25 school year, the program will also fund purchasing products grown, raised, and processed in Colorado, increase wages for employees who prepare and serve meals, and fund education and collaboration between schools, communities and local food growers and non-profits. | YES
  • Proposition GG | A ‘yes’ would require petitions and ballots from citizen-initiated measures to include a tax information table listing the change to average individual income tax rates for taxpayers in eight specified income categories. The measure would increase information technology costs in the Secretary of State’s Office to modify ballots to include tax information. The measure will increase costs for county clerks to include the new tax information on printed ballots and would increase printing and mailing costs. | YES
  • Proposition 121 | A ‘yes’ would reduce the state income tax rate from 4.55 percent to 4.40 percent for individuals and corporations for the tax year 2022 and after. State government currently collects more taxes than it is legally allowed to spend, as mandated by the constitutional revenue limit (TABOR).  If passed, 75 percent of taxpayers will receive a tax cut of less than $63 a year. On average, households and corporations with incomes over $1 million are expected to save almost $7,000 per year. In years when the state revenue is below the constitutional limit (TABOR), the measure would reduce the amount of general funds to be saved or spent. | NO on 121
  • Proposition 122 | A ‘yes’ amends Colorado statutes to require the state to create regulations and a system for accessing psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and over. The measure would allow the supervised use of psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and older at licensed facilities that follow a state regulatory structure for operation. A ‘yes’ also expands the types of substances used in licensed facilities to include more plant-based psychedelic substances including dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, and mescaline. The measure would decriminalize personal possession, growing, sharing and use of psilocybin, psilocin, dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, and mescaline for those 21 and over. Local governments may not ban licensed facilities, services and use of natural psychedelic substances but can regulate the time, place and manner of these operations. There will be an established penalty for those over 21 who possess, use or transport natural psychedelic substances and for those who allow underage access.  “This initiative would give Coloradans access to a new, promising, and research-based treatment option for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, in a safe, careful, and beneficial way,” Kevin Matthews, representative for Natural Medicine Colorado said, according to their website. “These medicines can be transformative for people who have suffered for years and struggled to find help.”  | YES
  • Proposition 123 | A ‘yes’ would allow a portion of annual state income tax revenue to go toward affordable housing programs, which could possibly result in less money returned to Colorado citizens in their TABOR tax refund. The state already uses over one billion dollars in federal stimulus funds for affordable housing. From lack of affordable housing options in metro areas to people working in resort towns not being able to afford to live in the community they work, 86 percent of Colorado citizens list housing and the housing crisis as a top issue, according to a poll conducted earlier this year by the Colorado Health Foundation. The money collected from tax revenue will run through both the state division of housing and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. Those entities will put the funds into land banking, affordable housing equity, concessionary debt, affordable home ownership, homesllessness assistance and local government capacity building. Local cities will have the obligation to make a commitment to growing their affordable housing stock, as well as expediting the planning review for affordable housing developments, according to Brian Rossbert, Executive Director of Housing Colorado. The funding would increase building of affordable housing units from around 3,000 units to a goal of around 10,000 units a year, Rossbert said. The voter-approved investment into affordable housing, which doesn’t increase taxes but uses existing tax revenues, is the first of its kind in the U.S.  “Right now there isn’t a ton of incentive for market rate developers to develop affordable housing because they are able to build, sell, or rent the units that they’re building at market rate,” Rossbert said. “With rents and home prices increasing, the affordable market might start to go away.” Groups like Advance Colorado Action oppose the proposition. “There is nothing ‘affordable’ about taking $300 million of our TABOR tax refunds for a flawed housing measure,” said Michael Fields of Advance Colorado Action. “To fix our state’s housing crisis, we need to build more, not tax more. Coloradans are struggling — and they want their full TABOR refund in upcoming years.”  Yes on 123
  • Proposition 124 | A ‘yes’ would allow retail liquor stores to open additional locations from the current law of two stores to three stores between 2023 and 2026, four stores between 2027 to 2036 and unlimited stores starting in 2037. The campaign behind the proposition, Coloradans for Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness, has raised millions of dollars and is backed by David Trone and his brother Robert Trone who co-own the national corporation Total Wine. “These large out of state corporations want it because changing the laws will meet their business model and help them increase their profits, so they’re essentially trying to buy a change of law that they were not able to get done at the legislature,” said Bruce Dierking of Keeping Colorado Local and Colorado Licensed Beverage Association (CLBA). The CLBA estimates that about half of all independently owned liquor stores, majority owned by minorities, would be out of business within five years if this proposition passes. “[Colorado laws] have been this wonderful low barrier to entry opportunity for people of modest means to own their own business and to provide a nice middle class income for their families,” Dierking said. “We’re at risk of losing that to corporations who are just going to chuck the profits back home to other states and pay them out to shareholders, wealthy CEOs and executives at the expense of these Colorado families.” | NO on 124
  • Proposition 125 | A ‘yes’ would allow grocery and convenience stores that already sell beer to be able to sell wine. “Colorado is known as one of the best alcohol markets of any of the states in the nation,” said Dierking of CBLA and Keeping Colorado Local. “We have one of the most robust craft industries. Every community has their own unique stores that are different. It’s not like every county you go to has the same stores. When you look at states that have gone to chain licensing in more of what the corporations want, you got a lot more homogeneity and uniformity. Every town you go to has the same stores. When you go from town to town you might see that the only liquor stores are Total Wine and More and it’s not like down in Pueblo there’s Big Bear, and in Colorado Springs there’s Cheers, and Denver has Argonaut, and Fort Collins has Wilbur’s. Everybody’s a little different and they’re all owned by families. Instead it might be that every community has the exact same store. Exactly the same selection, and we’re all owned by out of state corporations.” | Tentative Yes on 125
  • Proposition 126 | A ‘yes’ would allow alcohol takeout and delivery from bars and restaurants, which is currently set to be repealed in 2025 and also allow third party companies, like Doordash and Uber Eats, to deliver alcohol to customers. Third party entities would be able to deliver alcohol from establishments that have a liquor license. There would be no regulation mandating the third party delivery services to check for underaged alcohol purchases. “[Alcohol] is not like every other consumer product,” said Dierking of CLBA and Keeping Colorado Local. “It should be regulated. A lot of these big out of state corporations want deregulation because their corporate model makes more money when they don’t have to follow the rules. It really is about money. It’s about greed.” | NO on 126

 


Boulder County

  • Ordinance 8542 | Yes on 8542
  • Ordinance 8534 | NO on 8534
  • Ordinance 8539 | Yes on 8539
  • Ordinance 8540 | Yes on 8540
  • Ordinance 8546 | Yes on 8546 

 


Louisville

  • The Louisville Fire Protection District Board of Directors election | Residents within the Fire District will receive a mail ballot election for its Board of Directors. The Fire District is a separate governmental entity from the City, which is not conducting the election. If you have questions, please contact the Louisville Fire District at 303.666.6595 or visit https://www.louisvillefire.com/about/contact/.

 


Erie

  • Ballot Question 3E  | A resolution of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Erie to submit a ballot question to possibly form a Home Rule Charter Commission to the Town’s Registered Electors at the November 8, 2022 Special Election, and list candidates for the Charter Commission. A ‘yes’ on Resolution No. 22-104 would mean that Erie would be governed based on a charter written by its residents as opposed to following the state’s statutes. This will mean that the community will be governed by its residents. | Yes on Resolution No. 22-104
    • Candidates endorsed: Bob Braudes, Ken Martin, Ashraf Shaikh, Ben Hemphill, Adam Haid, Sarah Kornerly, Lisa Cunningham, Brian O’Connor and Chelsea Campbell

Full disclosure: YS’s publisher lives in Erie, CO and supports Home Rule. She is involved in supporting the Yes for Erie Home Rule Committee and feels these candidates have the best interest of Erieites in mind.

  • Ballot Question 3D | A ‘yes’ on Resolution 22-103 will extend funding to protecting natural areas along Coal Creek and Boulder Creek, conserving scenic landscapes, creating and enhancing hiking trails, protecting wildlife habitat, acquiring more natural areas, and maintaining trails.  This resolution would not increase taxes. Funds would come from the existing Four Mill Property tax, which was approved by voters in 2004. This resolution would extend the tax until Dec. 31, 2024. The intended uses of the funds will include slightly broader intended uses than agreed upon in 2004. No more than four percent of revenue will be used on the administrative costs that come with the annual citizen advisory board and independent audit. | Yes on Resolution 22-103

 


Longmont 

  • Amended by revising Sections 2.4, 3.3, 3.6, 3.9, 7.1, and 13.7 of the City Of Longmont Charter | A ‘yes’ on amending 2.4, 3.3, 3.6, 3.9, 7.1, and 13.7 on the City’s Home Rule Charter will remove outdated language and allow for modernization of how city business is conducted. | Yes on revising Sections 2.4, 3.3, 3.6, 3.9, 7.1, and 13.7 of the City Of Longmont Charter
  • Resolution R-2022 | A ‘yes’ on this resolution would allow City Of Longmont Revenue Bonds to fund St. Vrain project improvements. Without imposing new taxes or increasing existing taxes, the City would borrow up to $20,000,000 for the purpose of financing storm drainage system improvements, including improvements to the St. Vrain Creek drainageway from Sunset Street to Hover Street to protect downstream areas from future flooding. The proof of the borrowing would be through bonds, loan agreements, or other financial obligations payable solely from the City’s storm drainage enterprise revenues. | Yes on Resolution R-202

 


City of Boulder

Research on Boulder County and the City of Boulder Ballot issues provided by Shay Castle, endorsed by YS editorial board.

Ballot Issues 2A + 2B: Climate Tax and bonds | Yes on Resolution 2A & 2B

Together, these measures will combine two climate change-fighting taxes into one, increase them a bit and extend them to 2040 (2A). 2B will allow the city to borrow money against the revenue, so it can make large, upfront investments into things like infrastructure (think solar and other renewables, electric vehicles and/or chargers, microgrids, replacing natural gas systems in buildings with electric appliances, etc.). 

Money from it will go toward efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change: flood, fires and other extreme weather, etc. Much of this work is ongoing; additional money will help pay for work to prevent and fight wildfires.

PROS

  • Urgent climate action is needed, and almost all of it costs money. The city is currently reducing emissions by about 1.3% per year, and will need to increase that to 5.88% to meet its climate goals.
  • The ability to borrow money against the tax will give the city a way to spend money upfront on bigger projects, something they can’t do with current climate taxes.
  • This tax also includes money for wildfire prevention and mitigation, another critical need that is expected to grow as the climate dries and warms.

CONS

  • This is a tax increase, and a big one for businesses. The tax is a charge on energy consumption: How much your bill will increase depends on how much electricity and/or natural gas you use, but the city calculated the following average rates and increases:
    • Residential: $49.66/year (+ $6.71 / year, or 15.6%, over current CAP + UOT)
    • Commercial: $487.37 (+ $194.95 or 66.7%)
    • Industrial: $1,806.85 (+ $722.74 or 66.7%)


Ballot Question 2C: Repeal of Library Commission and Tax if Library District Created | Yes on Resolution 2C

This measure addresses language in Boulder’s charter related to the Library Commission, the group of residents city council appoints to “govern” the library. If a library district is created, the commission will no longer be needed —  a district is its own government entity, and it will be governed by an appointed Board of Trustees, similar to RTD or school boards.

More importantly, 2C gives city council the authority to repeal a dedicated library tax of 0.333 mills that has helped fund the library since the early 1900s. It brings in about $1.4 million each year. 

If voters approve the library district and associated property tax, this dedicated tax will no longer be necessary. 2C allows that tax to stop being collected, providing a bit of a tax break to property owners within the city of Boulder.

The passage of 2C is dependent on the passage of the library district measure. That is, if voters reject a library district and tax, 2C becomes null and void, regardless of how people vote on it.

PROS

  • If a library district is created, all the language in Boulder’s charter related to the library becomes pointless. This helps keep the charter clean, up to date and free of conflicts that could cause confusion or legal challenges.

CONS

  • There really aren’t any to this: It only matters if the library district is approved by voters.


Ballot Question 2D: Charter Clarification of Candidate Issues | Yes on Resolution 2D

This measure cleans up charter language related to the 2020 voter decision to directly elect Boulder’s mayor beginning in 2023.

It has four parts: 

  • Prohibiting a candidate from running for council and mayor simultaneously
  • Allowing a sitting council member to run for mayor without resigning
  • Defining how vacancies are filled if a sitting council member wins the mayoral seat
  • Changing the swearing-in date for new council members

Let’s look at each issue separately:

Candidates may run for council or mayor, but not both

The rationale here is that it reduces conflicts in the event of a popular candidate winning the mayoral seat and a spot on city council. (Which would need its own set of rules: Do they take the mayoral seat or the council one? How do we fill either the council spot or mayoral seat they one in that case?)

The posts are essentially the same. Boulder’s mayor has no more powers than an ordinary council member, though s/he does have certain ceremonial and representative duties.

PROS

  • Reduces confusion for voters
  • Eliminates the possibility of a double win and attendant issues
  • Conforms with state law that prohibits candidates from seeking more than one office at the same time; kinda. It’s complicated. Additionally, Boulder is a home rule city, meaning it can (mostly) make its own election rules.

CONS

  • Some argue that this will reduce the number and quality of candidates, assuming most people would prefer a four-year seat to the mayor’s two-year term.

Council members can run for mayor

This is how things are done now, when council members choose the mayor themselves. This means that a council member could continue serving if they run for mayor and lose.

PROS

  • It helps keep experienced members on council and reduces turnover (which is hard for  good governance).

CONS

  • Provides a bit of a safety net for elected officials and may result in them not being entirely focused on their jobs (as some have argued).

Filling vacancies

The way council fills vacancies now is to simply go down the ballot; the candidates with the most votes get those seats. If there are 5 seats, the top 5 vote-getters are elected — the top 4 to four-year terms, and the fifth to a two-year term. If there are 6 seats (as has happened in the past with resignations) the sixth-place candidate will fill whatever is left of that term.

2D would apply that process if/when a sitting council member is elected to mayor, filling their now-vacant seat with the fifth or sixth candidate in terms of votes.

Why you might want to vote for this

It’s the way things are done now, and honors the will of the voters (in that the most popular candidates will be elected).

Why you might not want to vote for this

Some have argued that if a sitting council member runs for mayor, then voters should be allowed to choose an additional candidate in case they win.

New swearing-in date

Newly elected council members currently take office the third Thursday of November. (It’s actually Tuesday, but council meetings recently moved to Thursdays, so this would also change charter language to reflect that.)

The problem? Election results aren’t official by that point. It hasn’t been a problem; the results are typically pretty clear. But this would ensure that newly elected officials don’t take office until the first Thursday in December — after the results are certified.

PROS

  • See above.

CONS

  • There really aren’t any, as the date for swearing in is only one week later (the last Thursday in November being the Thanksgiving holiday, there are no meetings)


Ballot Question 2E: Change Regular Municipal Election to Even Years | Yes on Resolution 2E

Boulder’s city council is currently elected in odd-year elections (2019, 2021, etc.) This would move city council elections to even years — when far more people vote.

On average, 30,000 more people vote in even years than odd. Even when looking solely at local ballot measures, 17,000 more people, on average, have voted for the down-ballot local measures on even years over the past decade.

While ballot drop off doubles in even years (to 8%, on average), the loss in voters is not enough to offset the gain by moving away from odd years. 

Studies of moving local elections to even years in other jurisdictions (primarily California) show that even-year elections bring a greater diversity of voters. That is reflected in the candidates they represent.

However, studies also suggest this effect is limited in majority-white places like Boulder. Turnout is still more diverse in even years, but gains are not as great as in cities with more diverse populations.

PROS

  • More people voting
  • More diverse voters
  • More representative government
  • Demonstrable ballot drop-off offset by overall gains

CONS

  • This may exacerbate decreases in voter turnout on odd years and create “orphan” elections such as school board races.
  • It could also strengthen the dominance of interest groups in odd years for whatever elections remain — the fewer the voters, the more power these groups have.


Ballot Question 2F: Repeal of Ordinance 8483, regarding the annexation of CU South

This would undo the city’s annexation of the land known as CU South, 308 acres south of the city (along U.S. 36) owned by the University of Colorado. (Annexation = officially adding the land to city limits, which provides access to city services such as water and sewer.)

The land is owned by the University of Colorado, who plans to build a southern campus there. In exchange for annexation, CU is donating land for Boulder for flood protection.

This spot was identified as the most optimal by a 2015 study of South Boulder Creek, given the number of homes and businesses downstream and the waterway’s history of flooding.

The annexation agreement includes much more, including limits to the amount of housing and traffic the campus can generate, plans to donate and sell open space to Boulder, requirements for affordable housing and options for Boulder to buy the land should CU choose to sell and not develop. 

Ordinance 8483 was passed by a 6-1 vote of city council in September 2021, approving the annexation.

PROS

  • If you are opposed to development at CU South, this would likely delay that by many years. It probably won’t stop indefinitely.
  • There is an agreement that surrounding towns (Louisville, Lafayette, Superior) won’t annex the land into their boundaries, but that expires in 2029. Even if it remains unincorporated, some building can occur there (a handful of very large homes).

CONS

  • A yes vote on 2F would delay flood protection for for several years. Boulder does not own the land; CU does, and as a state government entity, it outranks Boulder (making condemnation unlikely if not impossible).
  • There is no backup plan for flood mitigation; 2,300 downstream residents would be left unprotected. The process that identified this as the best site was completed in 2015. All the work that has occurred since then — preliminary design, studies, consultations with permitting agencies — would have to be repeated once a new site was selected.
  • Boulder would also lose the other benefits of the annexation agreement, including donated open space and plans for wetlands restoration.


Boulder County

Research on Boulder County and the City of Boulder Ballot issues provided by Shay Castle, endorsed by YS editorial board.

1A: Countywide Wildfire Mitigation Sales and Use Tax and Revenue Change | Yes on Resolution 1A

This would create a new sales tax to fund wildfire prevention and response, through four primary focus areas: 

(a) Strategic forest and grassland management projects;
(b) Community partnerships and programs to help residents prepare for wildfires, create defensible space around homes, make homes more fire resistant, and provide technical assistance and rebates to homeowners;
(c) Fire mitigation staffing; and
(d) Other projects and services to proactively address the increasing risk of climate-driven wildfires.

Community partnerships refers to an expansion of the Wildfire Partners program into the eastern part of the county. The program provides assessments, recommendations and certification for fire mitigation at private properties.

The sales tax is 0.1%, equal to 1 cent for every $10 purchase.

PROS

  • The county doesn’t have a dedicated source of funding for fire, despite the widespread and increasing risk. This would provide one, and in perpetuity. That’s appropriate, given that the threat of fire is not one that expires.
  • Expanding wildfire programs into the eastern plains makes sense. The Marshall Fire showed how vulnerable everyone in the country can be, regardless of location.

CONS

  • It is a tax increase, to be charged in perpetuity.
  • Sales tax is regressive (meaning low-earning people pay a greater percentage of the income, on necessities like food and clothes).
  • There are other sources of funding for wildfire, including another county tax (1B) and state and federal funds. However, it’s worth noting that local officials say this won’t be enough, and that local money is necessary to apply for state and federal grants.


1B: Emergency Services Sales and Use Tax and Revenue Change | Yes on Resolution 1B

This would create a new sales tax to pay for emergency services (ambulances, fire response and open space search-and-rescue teams) in areas of Boulder County not already served by various cities.

This money will be used to supplement all the aforementioned emergency services with additional staff and equipment, including:

  • Extended contracts of currently part-time, seasonal wildland firefighters 
  • Funding first responder training
  • Providing multilingual dispatch services
  • Purchasing radios and other communication equipment, vehicles and personal safety gear
  • Supplementing funding for mountain and rural fire districts

Funds will also provide staffing and shuttle services to address congestion and traffic concerns at trailheads.

It includes beefing up search-and-rescue resources. Boulder County contracts for these with volunteer organizations Rocky Mountain Rescue Group (primary contractor), Boulder Emergency Squad, Front Range Rescue Dogs, and Mounted Search and Rescue, which provides horseback searchers and assists with large animal evacuations.

Of this tax’s initial revenue, ~$17 million will help build a (county-owned) facility for Rocky Mountain Rescue Group to use as a home base for equipment maintenance and testing, outdoor safety education, meeting space, sleeping quarters for out-of-town responders assisting with large missions, and storage space for county and RMRG equipment.

The tax would be 0.1%, or 1 cent on every $10 purchase, declining to half a cent for every $10 after the first five years. 

PROS

  • There is no dedicated tax for emergency services or search and rescue. Paying for these services in rural areas is difficult owing to the low number of property owners to contribute taxes.
  • Coverage has typically been provided by contracts with units serving nearby cities. As those cities shift services in-house, towns like Lyons and Hygiene are uncovered by ambulances.
  • Demand for search and rescue operations has increased along with visitation to open space. Their current headquarters is inadequate for current needs, and equipment stored outside has been stolen. The county will maintain ownership of the facility, providing flexibility for future uses.

CONS

  • This is a tax increase, one that will be paid in perpetuity. It’s also a sales tax, which is regressive. 
  • In this case, however, a sales tax might actually be more equitable given that, unlike property tax, it is also paid by visitors and non-residents — including many users of open space. This does mean property owners in rural areas will be paying twice (in property tax and sales tax) but they will get more services in return.


1C: Transportation Sales and Use Tax Extension and Revenue | Yes on Resolution 1C

This is an extension of an existing tax, one that funds transportation programs and services. The 0.1% sales tax (a penny on every $10 purchase) raises $11 million per year.

The tax expires in 2024; 1C would extend it in perpetuity. 

PROS

  • This is not a tax increase — you’re already paying it. 
  • The tax is the only source of funding for any improvements to or construction of new facilities, including roads, bridges, pedestrian underpasses, sidewalks, multi-use paths, new road shoulders or transit routes.
  • The first 15 years of revenue will go to: 
    • 55% Roadway safety and resilience (Road shoulders, flood resilience and creek restoration, intersection safety, mountain road repair)
    • 15% Regional trails and and commuter bikeways (Recreational trails connecting Longmont, Boulder, Superior, Louisville, Erie, Lyons and Nederland; bikeways along major corridors; multi-use paths connecting neighborhoods)
    • 15% Transit service and programs (Fixed route and on-demand transit services from Boulder to Lyons, Gold Hill, Fort Collins and throughout Boulder County)
    • 10% Regional corridors (Multimodal travel improvements connecting communities, including transit, bike and pedestrian facilities, and safety)
    • 5% Community mobility programs (Services for vulnerable and underserved populations of all ages and abilities, including education and support programs)

CONS

  • There aren’t really cons to this measure. There is more transportation money floating around than usual, but as mentioned above, having a source of local revenue will help secure federal and state grants.
  • It does extend the tax forever (unless repealed by voters), but transportation is an ongoing need.


Special districts

6C – Library district | Yes on Resolution 6C

The Boulder Public Library is currently the responsibility of the City of Boulder. This would create a library district — a separate government entity similar to RTD or school districts — whose sole purpose is to run the area’s libraries. It would be funded by a property tax. 

The property tax will be 3.5 mills for a large part of Boulder County. For residents within the city of Boulder, it will be 3.167 mills, once a 0.333-mill dedicated library tax is repealed. (That’s measure 2C on City of Boulder ballots.)

The city has developed a searchable map so property owners can see how much their property taxes will increase (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/8f0fafc66c7f4d0e9aba1084e37de9b7) but generally it’s $230 per year for a $1 million home outside the city of Boulder, or $208 for one inside the city (again, assuming the repeal of the current dedicated library tax).

Commercial properties will pay more, due to the Gallagher Amendment: $976 per year for every $1 million of commercial property outside the city of Boulder, and $884 per million inside.

Of note: This is on the assessed value of a home — that is, the taxable value — not the market value, or what it could sell for.

Also similar to RTD or schools, the library district will be governed by a five- to seven-member board of trustees appointed by Boulder City Council and Boulder County commissioners. 

PROS

  • The library is underfunded according to several measures Patronage has increased while staff has decreased. The library was particularly hard-hit during pandemic-related budget cuts, and has still not recovered completely. Private nonprofit Library Foundation — not the city — pays for 90% of the library’s programs, and even covered staff salaries during COVID.
  • All locations are operating at reduced hours, the Carnegie Library for Local History is still open by appointment only, there is very little programming at the Canyon Theater and the makerspace is open only 2.5 days per week. There is also a more than $3 million maintenance backlog, for things like leaky roofs and outdated HVAC systems.
  • A library district was identified as the best way to fund the library by multiple library commissions (the city-appointed group that helps govern the library) and recommended in the 2018 library master plan. 
  • That’s in part due to the stability of property tax revenue, which has increased exponentially along with property values in Boulder County. Most of the library’s budget today is funded by sales tax, which fluctuates along with economic health.

CONS

  • This is a sizeable tax increase, one of several taxes on this year’s ballot. The cost is particularly steep for businesses, which is part of why the Boulder Chamber is opposing the district.
  • It also creates a new government entity, though their powers are fairly limited to running the library and asking voters for money.


5A – BVSD bonds | Yes on Resolution 5A

This would increase taxes to Boulder Valley School District by $32 million per year and allow them to borrow $350 million, primarily to repair buildings and other facilities (like playgrounds). It would also pay for two new school buildings: A replacement for Vista High School and a new elementary school in Erie.

Lastly, it would expand BVSD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) job training programs.

Taxes would increase by about $120 per year for a home worth $600,000 and $840 per year for a commercial property worth $1 million.

PROS

  • Many of the district’s buildings are old and in need of upgrading or replacement. Vista High School, for instance, is 70 years old.
  • Additionally, BVSD’s sole Erie elementary school is already over-capacity. Given the planned housing development in the area, population (and enrollment) will likely continue to increase.

CONS

  • This is a sizeable tax increase, and comes not too long after voters passed the largest-ever school district bond measure for BVSD in 2014: $576.5 million for some of the very same issues voters are being asked to fund today. 
  • Quoting from a Daily Camera article at the time: building New Vista High School, constructing a new school to relieve overcrowding in Erie and money to support CTE. It also comes at a time of declining enrollment in the western part of the district.

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