Incumbent Democrat Jared Polis has visited CSU twice this week — once for a debate against opponent George Leing on Wednesday, and again as an opening speaker for First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the LSC on Thursday. Polis is campaigning for another term as our 2nd Congressional District representative.
Personally, I enjoyed the intimate debate setting in a small room on the second floor of Clark more than the location for Michelle Obama’s speech. For the latter I felt herded through airport security and inundated with political promises, and felt insignificant among the thousands that came to hear Obama speak. Polis shook my hand as I walked in, but his eyes were glazed over and he looked bored repeating his name over and over in different ways and phrases — vote for me I’m Jared Polis — Jared Polis, vote for me.
The night before, his hands shook slightly as he arranged his speaking points on the desk. This audience was waiting for more than a name and a smile. I liked the debate because it was centered on the issues. Each of the candidates were given the same amount of time to speak and the audience was given a fair showcase of the candidates.
From Michelle Obama’s appearance at the LSC I felt there was little content, only perfect promises and propaganda from politicians, much like the ads you see on TV — there were a few of those there, too. The one nugget of value was the politicians’ adamancy on getting college-age students registered and voting. Go vote.
In the debate between Polis and Leing, however, the two gentlemen speaking were recognizable as regular citizens with more career titles than just ‘politician.’ It made me care when I saw how they are just regular citizens — maybe more politically concerned than most — but citizens of Colorado all the same.
Polis has a background in internet commerce and he served on the Board of Education for six years. I found Polis was well informed over issues that affect CSU, Colorado and the federal government, even though federal decisions do not run through his office.
For colleges, Polis said he wants to lower costs by reforming student loans, having professors write open source textbooks, and having a cheaper price for credit hours, doing preliminary tests on the knowledge students already have.
Supporting medical marijuana is a way to quickly get into the hearts of Coloradans. So for a man who has never smoked a day in his life, Polis has accepted a pro-pot stance to increase his popularity, currently trying to legalize medical marijuana nationwide.
Leing has a 30 year background in business law and energy, and it was clear he knew the science behind issues like sustainable energy and fracking. Although both the candidates support green sustainable energy, Leing said renewable energy isn’t ready to take over just yet; more regulation is necessary.
One of the reasons for Polis’ popularity is his strong message of local voices and control, which would empower communities to decide if and how hydraulic fracturing takes place near their businesses and lands. Leing said little about listening to the community voice, having a clear idea that the science behind green energy isn’t cost-efficient enough yet to transition.
No matter the science behind the issues, Polis has a strong platform and funding support to value his face this year. I wish all of the people at the Michelle Obama speech could have seen the shaking-hands Polis versus the hand-shaking Polis. But unfortunately in elections nowadays, it’s more about the propaganda and promises than the whole picture. And for this reason, I predict Polis will have another two years in congress after Nov. 4.
Collegian Columnist Sierra Cymes can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @sierra_cymes.