COLORADO- News5 wants to educate voters in Colorado about their candidates and the issues. This profile is one in a series about the November election. Visit our Election Watch page to learn about other candidates and issues.
In 2008, Jared Polis was elected for the first time to serve Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. After nearly a decade in Washington, he’s hoping to be elected as Colorado’s Governor. He’s running alongside Dianne Primavera, a former state legislator. Among his endorsements include former President Barack Obama and Colorado Springs city council members Richard Skorman and Yolanda Avila. If he wins the Governor’s race, he will be the first openly-gay Governor in the country.
Here’s a look at some of the big topics this election and where Polis stands on those issues.
Polis said he believes the state needs to focus on building up infrastructure and multi-modal transportation. In an interview with News 5 earlier this year, he said he believed a high-speed light rail needs to exist from Pueblo to Fort Collins. In a debate hosted by the Daily Sentinel and Rocky Mountain PBS in Grand Junction, Polis said he’s against Proposition 109 or the ‘Fix Our Damn Roads’ act, which would bond $3.5 billion to transportation.
Additionally, he said he’s not completely on board with another ballot question (Proposition 110) that would increase the state sales tax – but adds that it’s up to the voters.
“If both fail, I’ll look forward to building a statewide coalition of Republicans, Democrats, the business community, western Coloradans and rural Coloradans to try and make sure that we that we take a cohesive approach to meeting our infrastructure needs across our entire state,” Polis said.
“I oppose it, I think it’s bad policy,” said Polis in a debate hosted by CBS4 this month. That’s in reference to Proposition 112, which would require 2,500-foot setbacks for oil and gas development in Colorado. If it passes, it would go into effect in 30 days after the election when the Governor signs off on it. In the same debate,
Polis said he would respect the decision of Colorado voters and would not call on a special session for the legislature to discuss Proposition 112. In 2014, Polis backed a ballot measure that would have increased setbacks to 2,640. Despite support from many Democratic leaders in the state, Polis said he is against these setbacks.
Congressman Polis started charter schools in Thornton, Aurora, and Lakewood. In the Western Slope debate, Polis said he hasn’t taken a stance on Amendment 73 on the ballot this November. That amendment would increase income taxes for Coloradans making more than $150,000 and freeze property tax assessment rates. Polis said he supports funding preschool and kindergarten. “If you’re a young family with a four-year-old or a five-year-old, you’re struggling, all we have is half-day kindergarten.”
A question about the Red Flag Bill in the legislature came up in CBS4’s debate. The bill would allow a judge to prevent someone from having or buying guns if they have a temporary mental health protection order. Polis said he supported that bill. “I think we can honor our 2nd Amendment rights, protect the rights of those who keep guns for home defense of hunters for sportsmen, and at the same time move forward on gun safety,” said Polis.
A primary focus of Polis’ campaign is expanding Medicaid in Colorado. Polis’ platform includes a single-payer health care system, which has become a focal point in his campaign.