*This article has been amended to clarify: Rep. Polis did not support a fracking “ban”, but a bill that would force fracking operations at least 2,000 feet from schools, hospitals, and other community facilities.
The following endorsements have received careful consideration, and are chosen and voted on by a majority of our editorial board. We hope students and all other readers find merit in our endorsements, but remember, the most important thing is getting out there and voting.
Ballot Issue 1A
This board supports the passage of Ballot Issue 1A. The ballot issue would extend the .25 percent Larimer county sales and use tax by 25 years. The purpose of this tax is to conserve and protect natural areas and open spaces. This tax is already in place, so extending it will not place any more financial burden on taxpayers, and it serves to preserve Larimer County’s lands for the benefit of wildlife and enjoyment of the citizens. Larimer County has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the nation, and preserving these open spaces is a high priority for residents. For these reasons, this board supports Ballot Issue 1A.
Ballot Issue 1B
This board supports the passage of Ballot Issue 1B. The ballot issue would extend the .15 percent Larimer county sales and use tax by 25 years. This tax revenue is used to operate the Larimer County Jail. This tax is a very small price to pay for security in the county, so this board supports Ballot Issue 1B.
Ballot Issue 200
This board supports the passage of Ballot Issue 200. The ballot issue would implement an additional countywide sales and use tax of .1 percent in order to build a new Larimer Humane Society animal shelter. The building would be located south of town, adjacent to the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport. The current LHS shelter is just short of falling apart, according to its employees. Employees say that the building has asbestos, a failing foundation and inadequate heating and ventilating systems. They are also having serious issues with overcapacity, and the shelter employees do not have the room necessary for proper care of the animals. The Humane Society takes care of this county’s critters and deserves a proper shelter to do this. For these reasons, this board supports Ballot Issue 200.
This board does not support the passage of Amendment 67. The amendment would define unborn children as people and include them in the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. The amendment came out of an incident in 2012 when a drunk driver hit the car of Heather Surovik, who was 8 months pregnant at the time. The crash resulted in the loss of her fetus, but since the fetus was not legally considered a person, the driver was not prosecuted for the loss of the fetus. Though the bill may have only intended to provide justice in situations like this, its vague language could also result in the criminalization of abortions and birth control. Abortions have been legal in this country since 1973, and voters have upheld this decision every time a piece of legislation has tried to change it. Despite the good-willed intentions behind this legislation, the results of its passage could criminalize women for taking control of their own bodies, and for this reason this board does not support Amendment 67.
This board supports the passage of Amendment 68. The bill would allow for the addition of casinos to existing racetracks in Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo counties, with the condition that a fixed portion of casino revenue would be allocated to K-12 education in Colorado. Adding over $100 million in funds to the Colorado education system in exchange for allowing increased competition among casinos makes sense for Colorado. While concerns that existing casino’s business may be negatively affected have merit, a state in dire need of education funding supercedes maintaining the status quo. For these reasons, this board supports Amendment 68.
This board supports the passage of Proposition 104. The proposition would require any meeting of the Colorado board of education, or any meeting between a school district representative and any representative of employees at which a collective bargaining agreement is discussed, to be open to the public. Collective bargaining includes negotiations of employee wages and other conditions of employment by an organized body of employees. Though these meetings are only a fraction of the board of education’s meetings, we believe that any step toward more public involvement is positive. Allowing people to attend these meetings will encourage public input, which will either be a positive thing or will not have much of an effect on the board’s proceedings. By increasing transparency, this measure makes sense for Colorado. For these reasons, this board supports Proposition 104.
This board does not support the passage of Proposition 105. GMO labeling has many concerns that the bill seems to ignore. The bill would not require meat products that come from animals who are fed GMO enhanced food to have a GMO label. Furthermore, GMO labeling stands as an immense burden on the food industry here in Colorado, while imposing no such restrictions for industries in other states. The negative economic fallout from such a proposal would cause more harm than the measure would enhance consumer understanding of what they are eating. A better written bill could avoid these pitfalls, but as it is currently constructed, Prop. 105 fails to stand up to the most basic of criticisms. For these reasons, this board does not support Proposition 105.
State House District 53
This board endorses Republican candidate Tim Bessler to represent State House District 53. Tim Bessler has impressed with his diverse knowledge of government. His background as a data analyst gives him a unique viewpoint on government affairs, one that this board sees as an important perspective necessary for government in the modern age. Several of his positions, which can be examined in full at besslerforhouse.com, include a ban on red light cameras, a revamp of transportation infrastructure, and expansion of affordable IUDs for women in poverty. His pragmatic approach is a breath of fresh air from the partisan bickering of today’s political climate, a quality we must commend his opponent Democrat Jeni Arndt for as well. However, the sheer volume and depth of solutions Bessler presents show a more refined campaign and candidate, and this board endorses Tim Bessler for the State House.
State House District 52
This board endorses Democrat Rep. Joann Ginal to continue to represent State House District 52 for two more years. Rep. Ginal has demonstrated over the past two years she is a capable and dynamic representative and legislator. With major legislation on health care reform, she has improved Colorado’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We view her “Right to Try Act,” a bill that allowed terminally-ill patients the opportunity to try non-approved medications, as a microcosm of her political philosophy of health and well-being before all else. In addition, her votes supporting increased funding for CSU helped allocate an additional $12 million to the institution. The Colorado Careers Act of 2013 was an important part of the economic gains Colorado has made the past two years. Her opponent, Republican Donna Walter, has run a mostly invisible campaign, which makes us question her commitment to working the tough job legislators face. For these reasons, we endorse another productive two years from Rep. Joann Ginal.
Colorado Governor Race
This board endorses Democratic candidate Gov. John Hickenlooper for a second term as Governor of Colorado. During his past four years, Hickenlooper has proved his ability to govern by bringing parties together to get things done. He signed the legalization of marijuana, he prevented a potentially devastating fracking debacle, and most importantly, managed 13 federally-recognized disasters as well as one could expect. His opponent, Republican and former representative Bob Beauprez, seems more concerned about campaigning on leadership than showing what leadership looks like. With few significant revamps from his failed 2006 campaign against Democrat Bill Ritter, and not many legislative accomplishments to point to, Beauprez is behind the times on what is best for Colorado. The improvements in the economy and the deftness of negotiation give Hickenlooper’s record the pedigree and weight that Beauprez’s promises lack. This board hopes for another successful four years from John Hickenlooper.
U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District Race
This board endorses Republican candidate George Leing to represent Colorado’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Leing has extensive experience in energy law and a responsible fiscal policy that our federal government sorely needs. While incumbent Democrat Jared Polis has done a decent job over the past six years, he seems out of touch with his constituency. His misguided fracking initiative(banning fracking operations within 2,000 feet of schools, hospitals, etc) would be bad for a booming fracking industry, and was seemingly conceived without the consideration of industry input. Leing’s energy policy is more pragmatic, accepting the eventual goal of renewables, but over a gradual transition rather than an outright reversal. Furthermore, his views on health care and immigration reform are well developed and contrast with much of the national Republican rhetoric on these issues. In what will almost certainly be a Republican majority House, a moderate Republican voice like George Leing would carry more weight than Polis’. For these reasons, this board endorses George Leing.
U.S. Senate Race
This board endorses Democratic candidate Mark Udall to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate. Udall has focused much of his campaign on higher education reform and lessening the burden of college debt, which this board has a vested interest in. Additionally, though Udall and his opponent Republican Representative Cory Gardner appear to agree on many major issues, Gardner has changed his stance on many of these recently and seems to be a step behind Udall. For instance, Udall and Gardner both say they support access to abortions and birth control, but Gardner had originally supported an early version of Amendment 67, which could outlaw abortions and various forms of birth control. Udall has always been completely pro-choice. Furthermore, Gardner did not support the legalization of marijuana when it passed, but since has changed his stance. Udall has always supported the legalization of marijuana, and specifically supports greater access to the banking system for the cannabis industry. Though Gardner may end up on the right side of an issue, Udall will have been there since the beginning, and for this reason, this board endorses Mark Udall for U.S. Senate.