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Meet the candidates: House District 17

Election 2020
Posted at 5:31 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 07:31:34-04

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House District 17
House District 17

The candidates in this upcoming General Election for House District 17 are Tony Exum Sr. (D), Rob Blancken (R), and Susan Quilleash (L).

We sent out a questionnaire to the candidates regarding the recovery of COVID-19 economic impacts, legislation they hope to introduce and what they think should be done to help fund our schools. Here are the responses:

Tony Exum Sr.

Tony Exum
Tony Exum

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A: To help combat the many disasters caused by the pandemic, we lawmakers passed more than a dozen pieces of legislation: providing $270 million in grants and loans to small businesses; channeling tens of millions of dollars in direct housing assistance, utilities support, and mental health assistance; ensuring access to paid sick leave for Colorado workers; and expanding unemployment benefits, helping hardworking Coloradans make ends meet. This suite of COVID-19 relief bills also included my bill HB20-1410, providing $20 million in direct rental and mortgage assistance to Coloradans experiencing a financial need, including $350,000 for legal aid for renters at risk of eviction.

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A: One thing I’ve learned from being a state legislator is that different people have different urgent needs. Some people are unemployed and need immediate assistance, which is why I’ve supported bills to expand unemployment benefits. Other people are being poisoned by toxic chemicals and need clean drinking water, which is why I’ve run bills to ban toxic PFAS firefighting foams. There isn’t just one pressing issue facing people in HD 17, there are several, and they all need immediate attention. I will of course continue working with the other state legislators and the Governor’s office to help Colorado recover from this coronavirus crisis, and I will also continue working on my top three legislative priorities: supporting public education, protecting the environment, and helping low-income families, people of color, veterans, first responders, and the elderly all live better lives.

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A: For decades in Colorado, school districts were funded mostly by local property taxes, with some money coming from the State. But for years now, school districts have been funded mostly by the State, with some money coming from local property taxes. These funding ratios have reversed, and that’s been bad for public school funding. The State simply cannot afford to be the primary payer for all public education in Colorado. We need to find ways to better balance these funding dynamics – and fixing TABOR, Gallagher, and Amendment 23 are three very obvious and effective ways to begin improving the funding situation for public education.

Rob Blancken

Rob Blancken
Rob Blancken

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A: The state of Colorado has received vast amounts of money under the Cares Act in our governor under the state of emergency as determined which counties receive this money. The legislators this past session had little or no input in determining how this funding was spent. Executive orders issued and state of emergency measures should be and must be approved by our legislators. The governor is picking and choosing which communities to punish or reward, this type of action must be stopped. 2021 legislative session must address the budget shortfall and how to promote Colorado and re-energize, re-incentive businesses across Colorado. Closing our businesses and throwing people out of work has cost us dearly it may take many years to recover from the decisions our governor has made.

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A: Over the last six months public schools and most charter schools have closed their doors to education, due to COVID-19. Relying on remote virtual learning technology to complete the schooling year many students were left behind in education due to lack of technology. County health department, school administrators and teachers are making decisions on how to education will be conducted this year. Now is the time to demand parents’ choice in schooling, education from this point forward may look totally different than in the past. Having an open voucher system in place so parents can decide the choice in education of their children.

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A: COVID-19 has brought to us the problem in educating our children. Parents were unprepared to stay home and become a teacher. Public education in the southeast part of Colorado Springs, has been a disappointment and a sore spot for many parents. Standardized testing was vigorously opposed in Harrison D2 school district, with a dropout rate of 40% in our high schools. With 18 separate school districts across El Paso County each one demanding more and more money from the taxpayers. They could consolidate their school districts increase their buying power and achieve better test results. Parents’ choice in schooling, along with an open voucher system would allow parents to decide the best education for their children.

Susan Quilleash

Susan Quilleash has not provided a photo or answers at this time.

Q: How should the General Assembly work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19?

A:

Q: If elected, what is one piece of legislation you hope to introduce and why?

A:

Q: School funding has become a topic of discussion in recent years- what do you think needs to be done to fund our schools?

A:

RELATED:
Find your nearest In-Person Voting Locations and Ballot Drop-Box Locations in El Paso County for Election 2020

Key Dates and Deadlines

Fri, Oct. 9: First Ballots Mailed Out to Colorado Voters; Ballot Drop-Offs Open

Mon, Oct. 12: Last Day to Register to Vote Via Registration Drive

Mon, Oct. 19: Some Voter Polling & Service Centers Open (See County Clerk's Office for locations)

Mon, Oct. 26: Last Day to Register to Vote and Receive a Mailed Ballot

Fri. Oct. 30: Additional Voter Polling & Service Centers Open (See County Clerk's Office for locations)

Tues, Nov. 3: Election Day - Ballots Due by 7:00 p.m.

Thu, Nov. 12: Military/Overseas Ballot Due Delivered by Date

Fri, Nov. 13: Deadline for Counties to Tabulate All Ballots

Thu, Dec. 3: Last Day for Counties to Report Results

Thu, Dec. 10: Last Day to Complete a Recount