Election 2016: Colorado Democrats Launch Campaign to Take Back Senate

democratSaying that several fundamental and imperative bills failed by one vote in the recently concluded legislative session, area Democrats have vowed to take back seats in the Colorado legislature.  The Fenberg Leadership Fund launch drew about 50 supporters including outgoing Senator Rollie Heath and current Senator Matt Jones, seated city and county officials such as District Attorney Stan Garnett, County Commissioner Deb Gardner, and city council members Aaron Brockett and Mayor Suzanne Jones.

“A lot of things happened in the House and then they stopped in the Senate,” Steve Fenberg’s opening remarks suggested that threats to economic justice, and reproductive rights continued through the last legislative session and that gun violence and climate change legislation will be difficult to pass in the next session if current party seats remain in place.

Fenberg who is behind the campaign fund and who is running to succeed Heath who is term-limited said that the failure of the hospital provider fee bill will mean increased tuition in Colorado colleges and cuts to public school funding, and a continued lack of attention to infrastructure including roads, “It will result in more highways and transportation being privatized because we can’t afford to do it on our own as a state through tax dollars.”   The bill was projected to have brought in 800 million dollars without raising taxes.

The failure of the presidential primary bill will mean the continuation of the Colorado Caucus process that Heath said the state has outgrown.  The March 1, 2016 caucus in Colorado saw a barrage of voters at precincts that couldn’t accommodate them.  Many lost the opportunity to vote.

The Senate District 19 seat representing Arvada and Westminster and held by Republican Senator Laura Woods will be re-challenged by Rachel Zenzinger who lost to Wood in 2014 by 663 votes after having been appointed to the seat by the Democratic Nominating Committee in 2013.  The committee was forced to replace Evie Hudak who resigned her position during a recall election stemming from Hudak’s support of gun legislation.  Zenzinger credited Boulder City Council member Macon Cowles for working alongside her in support and “who taught me the value of collaboration.”  She said that District 19 is highly competitive because of the evenly distributed electorate between parties and that winning depends on “how hard you work, how much money you raise and how many conversations you have at the door.”

Another Senate hopeful is Tom Sullivan who hopes to unseat Republican Dan Tate, also appointed to his seat.  Senate District 27 covers part of Arapahoe County including Centennial and Greenwood Village.  Sullivan credits time spent at the Capitol lobbying for stronger gun laws with moving him to run for the legislature.  His son was an Aurora theater shooting victim, “We are invested in that community.  My opponent moved there three years ago.  He doesn’t know the values of the people in the community the way that I do.”



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