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THE State Debate: Gubernatorial Candidates face off in Colorado Springs

Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 13:21:42-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – The candidates for a hotly contested Gubernatorial race in Colorado met Saturday evening in Colorado Springs for THE State Debate on KOAA-TV.

Republican Walker Stapleton and Democrat Jared Polis answered questions for an hour from moderator Rob Quirk, panelists Elizabeth Watts and Joey Bunch.

On health care:

Jared Polis said he’s heard good ideas on getting a handle on health care reform from those on the left, right and in the center of the issue. What he believes should be the deciding factor on any proposals is whether they can reduce costs, and expanding coverage while not compromising existing coverage for all patients.

Walker Stapleton reiterated his opposition to any state-run health care proposal as he believes the cost would be too great for the state of Colorado to bear.  He went after his opponent claiming that his concept for reform would double income taxes in the state.

On abortion:

Stapleton told the audience “I accept that Roe vs Wade is the law of the land.” He is strongly opposed to late-term abortions.

Polis said that he does not believe it should be left to any politician to decide if a woman is able to seek an abortion if she chooses, clearly stating the decision is between “a woman, her doctor and God.”

On transportation:

Jared Polis believes the issue of transportation funding is a critical issue for all of Colorado. He’s opposed to Proposition 109, referred to as the Fix Our Damn Roads Act, before the voters this November on the basis that it would increase state debt. Polis said he has no position on Proposition 110 as it is not how he would address needs. The ballot issue calls for an increase of 0.62% to the state’s existing sales tax of 2.9% to contribute more than $700 million to the projects. He wants to seek an answer that would bring in all stakeholders to find a solution.

Walker Stapleton expressed he’s in favor of a 15% tax on sports gambling in Colorado, something he believes will become legal soon, as a source of revenue for long-term transportation funding.  He does not believe either transportation funding initiative on the ballot will pass, nor would  they provide the amount of money needed to address the state’s needs.

On Education funding:

Voters will decide this November on Amendment 73 which seeks to change the state constitution to boost funding for  Colorado schools.  The income tax would go up by 0.37% for people making $150,000 a year and taxes could go up as much as 3.62% for the higher earners. The corporate tax rate will increase by 1.37 percent.

Stapleton is opposed to Amendment 73. Instead, he wants to find incentives solutions for schools to keep administrative costs in balance with population growth.

Polis supports the amendment as a way to improve the quality of life in the state. Part of his proposal is creating a system that offers free preschool.

On Energy concerns:

Jared Polis is a strong supporter of green and clean energy programs across the state and nation with assistance from the government. His goal is a for the state to be on 100% renewable energy by 2040, with the state having zero reliance on oil and gas.

Walker Stapleton believes his opponent would bring a “radical, extreme” energy policy to Colorado that would cause utility bills to “go through the freaking roof.” He supports letting the market and consumers decide what is the future of energy.

Stapleton is the outgoing Treasurer of Colorado who’s served in that office since 2010. Following his win in the Republican Primary for governor this summer, Stapleton selected current state lawmaker, pilot, and U.S. Navy Veteran Lang Sias as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Stapleton is a relative of the Bush family, and among his endorsements include Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and President Donald Trump.

Polis is the current U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District since 2008. He’s running alongside Dianne Primavera, a former state legislator, now seeking the post of lieutenant governor. Among the endorsements for Polis are 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. Polis is one of the wealthiest members of Congress with an estimated net worth of nearly $400 million as a result of his business ventures.


Candidate Profile: Jared Polis

Candidate Profile: Walker Stapleton

Full video: THE State Debate (YouTube)

Learn more about the candidates and issues on the ballot this November by visiting News5’s Election Watch page.

There you’ll find all of the ballot information for statewide races, El Paso County, Pueblo County, Fremont County, Custer County, Crowley County, Baca County, Bent County, Huerfano County, Prowers County and Otero County.

KOAA News5 also partnered with the Citizens Project to bring El Paso County and Colorado Springs a forum with local candidates and on the ballot initiatives.  Candidate Forum Issues Forum

Local Clerk & Recorder offices will start mailing out ballots on Monday, October 15th. You have until October 29th to submit a voter registration application and still receive a ballot in the mail. If you miss that deadline, you can still submit an application at a Voter Service and Polling Center up to the day of the general election.

You may have already received the Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book) which provides voters with the text, title, and a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred constitutional amendment, law, or question on the ballot.