COLORADO SPRINGS – Candidates for office in Colorado Springs and El Paso County met with voters for a forum and debate at Fox Meadow Middle School on Wednesday night.
KOAA-TV, the Citizens Project and the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region teamed up for this event with KOAA’s Andy Koen serving as the moderator.
This was an opportunity for voters to learn more about the candidates and their goals if elected to office this November. The candidates were allowed to make a two minutes opening statement before answering questions from the audience or submitted in advance by voters.
A common theme with the majority of the candidates is their service in the U.S. military or family connections to those who have served.
In the Congressional District 5 race Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding (D) was the only candidate in attendance as incumbent Doug Lamborn informed us today he would not be available. Spaulding is a professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She says if elected to Congress, she’ll work to help voters in Colorado in addressing problems with housing and economic struggles.
Republican Kit Roupe and incumbent Democrat Thomas “Tony” Exum Sr. were available to discuss their run for the State Representative District 17 seat. Roupe expressed her desire to work to create more opportunities for education in our communities. Exum also says he’ll continue to find solutions to address needs in education, healthcare and the affordability of our growing communities.
For the State Senate District 2 race, Democrat Beth “Hart” Harz spoke with voters about why she should be elected to serve. Harz said she’s worried about the environment with continued growth in Colorado, along with addressing healthcare needs in the state. Republican Dennis Hisey was not in attendance.
Challenger Gil Armendariz (D) is running for the State Senate District 9 seat currently occupied by Paul Lundeen (R) who is running for re-election. Lundeen was not in attendance. Armendariz says if elected to the Senate he wants to address affordable healthcare in a state that is experiencing growth in population and tax base.
Democrat Pere Lee (D) is running for the State Senator District 11 seat. He’s currently serving as a State Representative for District 18 which includes Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Lee says he wants to continue his work on clean energy, helping veterans, and healthcare while serving in the state Senate. Republican Pat McIntire was not in attendance.
In the State Representative District 16 race, Democratic challenger Andrew Smith made his pitch why voters should choose him over Republican incumbent Larry G. Liston who did not attend the event. Smith is a veteran who served in the Army Corps of Engineers. He’s now an educator who wants to give back to his community by once again serving in the Colorado House. Libertarian John Hjersman was also not in attendance.
Democrat Brenda Krause explained to voters why she should serve as a State Representative in District 15. Krause says she was motivated to run as the country is facing unease and division, which she believes is unnecessary as we are more alike than different. Republican Dave Williams was not in attendance.
For State Representative District 19, Democrat challenger Asia M. Zanders was in attendance while incumbent Republican Tim Geitner was not. Zanders, an Army veteran, says she’s running in District 19 as there is a need for accountability in the legislature. A pillar of her platform is providing livable standards in our communities through improving education and infrastructure.
In the State Representative District 20 race, Democrat challenger Kent Edward voiced his opposition to the toll lanes for the I-25 expansion project and his support for veterans in Colorado. Edwards says he is a fiscal conservative and a political moderate who believes in affordable healthcare for everyone in Colorado. Incumbent Republican Terri Carver was not in attendance.
State Representative for District 21 Lois Landgraf (R) shared the table with challenger Liz Rosenbaum (D) before the voters. Landgraf touted her efforts while serving the district since 2013. She referenced her efforts to protect the children of sexual assault victims from the assaulter, her efforts against human trafficking and designer drugs. Mrs. Rosenbaum explained her efforts serving in local government and efforts to improve the community while a part of non-profit organizations. She started the Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition.
Voters also heard from two candidates, Democrat Frank J. DeLalla and Republican Holly Williams, looking to fill the El Paso County Commissioner District 1 seat which will be vacated as Darryl Glenn who has term-limited out. DeLalla says he is qualified for office based on his experience in managerial experience and financial management from 40 years of work for the U.S. Government and with L3 Communications. Williams previously served as a Public Trustee in El Paso County where she says she reduced costs to residents and improved revenues for the county. The Republican says continuing the fiscally conservative tradition in our county is a core of her plans for office.
El Paso County voters will elect a new Coroner this November. Democrat Chauncey Frederick admitted he does not have experience in political office or as a Coroner, but he also reminded the audience that Donald Trump didn’t have experience before he was elected. Republican Dr. Leon Kelly is currently the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for El Paso County. He reminded the audience of his experience as a certified forensic pathologist.
Incumbent El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder (R) was not in attendance. His challenger Democrat Grace A. Sweeney-Maurer addressed the audience on why she should replace him as Sheriff. She says property owners have come forward to her claiming not enough is being done in the rural parts of the county to address illegal marijuana grows.
The current El Paso County Assessor Stephen Schleiker (R) listed of his experience in office, local knowledge, and leadership in office as his qualifications. His challenger, Democrat Sue McKnight, was not in attendance.
Across the state, voters are electing Regents for the University of Colorado. Democrat Tony Wolusky, a high school teacher, addressed the audience on why he should be elected instead of Republican Chance Hill for District 5 who was not in attendance. Wolusky voiced his students’ concerns about rising tuition costs that prevent them from moving on to college.
Democrat Kari Frederick spoke to voters about her concerns with rising prices and taxes in our community. She’s seeking the office of El Paso County Commissioner District 5. The Republican candidate Cami Bremer was not in attendance.
The final candidates to the table in this evening’s event are seeking the office of State Representative for District 18. Democrat Marc A. Snyder referenced his 20 years of public service, 6 of those as the Mayor of Manitou Springs, as his qualifications for state office. Independent Maile Foster, who is a self-employed financial advisor, says she is not alone as an independent in the district who is focused on solving problems, not party politics. Republican Mary Elizabeth Fabian, a small business consultant, says she’s in this race to address the needs of the voters in education and healthcare reform.
KOAA is involved in three election-related events in Colorado Springs: