Colorado is holding elections, including for school boards and city council, on Nov. 7, 2023. A number of candidates running in these elections completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.
Below is a selection of responses from the candidates who filled out the survey as of Oct. 23. To read each candidate’s full responses, click his or her name at the bottom of the article.
Incumbent Darleen Daniels (nonpartisan) is running for Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education At-large, and the general election is on Nov. 7. Here’s how Daniels responded to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“School funding: Colorado’s per-pupil spending is significantly lower than the national average for education. Due to Colorado’s budget-balancing method, which sacrificed education funding, we have lost nearly $10 billion. I’ll support initiatives that aim to stabilize the budget. Boards must support lawmakers who are trying to address the problems with education funding.
Access for all students: It’s critical to implement district-level regulations that permit access for all children. Each student brings a different set of tools to class. Our pupils are entering the classroom prepared for success. Additionally, there are students who join schools without the resources they need to succeed.”
Click here to read the rest of Daniels’ answers.
Max Garcia (nonpartisan) is running for Aurora Public Schools Board of Education At-large, and the general election is on Nov. 7. Here’s how Garcia responded to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“… It’s no secret that all three of our daughters attended AXL Academy Charter School near our home in Aurora, as parents we could not have been more satisfied with the Expeditionary Learning methods that were introduced during those most influential years. We believe that it fostered, along with our help, their life long love of learning and desire to attend school. Along with that affirmation we know that healthy competition breeds excellence, why one product or company that outperforms another gains dominance in the market. If parents, such as ourselves, are given a choice to send their learners to schools that produce higher test scores, funding from our taxes would follow them. These schools would gain enrollment as long as responsible and transparent teaching, administrating and budgeting practices are followed, in turn learning successes will continually increase. This in turn, builds in accountability in a very real-world, free market way. Schools that shape themselves into centers of academic excellence reap the benefits, while schools that languish academically or force agendas contrary to family values, ultimately diminish. The public schools system serves the public, not the other way around.”
Click here to read the rest of Garcia’s answers.
Annie Jensen (nonpartisan) is running for School District 27J Board of Education District 6, and the general election is on Nov. 7. Here’s how Jensen responded to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
- “Keeping policy focused on supporting academic proficiency/excellence.
- Keeping policy/language/curriculum focused on supporting each student/educator individually, as opposed to labeling them in different social groups.
- Making all policy transparent, open and with respect to the parent/child relationship and parent/child/educator partnership.
- Curriculum transparency.
- Choice and accountability.
- Permission slips rather than opt out forms.”
Click here to read the rest of Jensen’s answers.
Brian Matise (nonpartisan) is running for Aurora City Council Ward VI, and the general election is on Nov. 7. Here’s how Matise responded to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
- “Fiscally-responsible budgeting. I am concerned that Aurora has been using budget gimmicks, similar to what Enron did before it collapsed, hiding debt in off-budget tax authorities and ‘certificates of participation.’ In the past few years alone, Aurora has sold and leased back multiple floors of City Hall, Tallyn’s Reach Public Safety Center, and many recreational facilities for which the City will have to pay over $263 million over the next 20 years. …
- Growing small businesses instead of giving incentives to attract national chains. Aurora has been recruiting out-of-state chains (recent examples: Nordstrom Rack and Lululemon) while its bureaucracy and planning/zoning discourages neighborhood-based small businesses.
- Environmental protection. With directional drilling that can reach oil up to five miles, there is no need for oil companies to be drilling within 1 mile of the Aurora reservoir.
- Better long-range planning. I would require adequate infrastructure to handle regional traffic before new development is approved, more local neighborhood commercial space for small businesses, and transit-oriented development.”
Click here to read the rest of Matise’s answers.
Chris Rhodes (nonpartisan) is running for Aurora City Council Ward V, and the general election is on Nov. 7. Here’s how Rhodes responded to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“Affordable Housing and Smart Development
– Developer Allocation: Require developers to allocate a percentage of new projects for affordable housing units.
– Zoning Revisions: Revise zoning laws to promote mixed-use developments, better utilizing our urban spaces and offering a variety of housing options.
– Public Housing: Allocate city funds to create and sustain public housing options, ensuring every Auroran has a stable home.
– Responsible Redevelopment: Implement practices in older neighborhoods to safeguard against gentrification that erases community character.
– Address the Housing Gap: Actively work to increase the overall housing supply, which will ease the burden on both the rental and property markets, benefiting everyone in Aurora.
– Comprehensive Public Transit: Advocate for a transit system that’s not just reliable and frequent, but also inclusive, serving all corners of Aurora including marginalized areas.
– Walkability and Cyclability: Let’s make our city’s urban areas safe and enjoyable for walking and biking. This not only connects our community but also makes it more eco-friendly. …”
Click here to read the rest of Rhodes’ answers.
If you’re a Colorado candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.