It seems as though we say this every two years but here we are again with another critical election. It is vital that you vote. It is more vital that you cast an informed ballot.
Below are my personal recommendations. The most important ones are the initiatives. Politicians come and go but state constitutional amendments last a lifetime or more. Besides, with the current state of the Democrat Party in Colorado, a vote for any one of them is a vote for the socialist collective hive-mind.
Increasingly, moneyed left-wing interest groups pour money into Colorado not just to elect politicians but also to directly implement their socialist policies. What would take them tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to do in a large state like California they can do for mere millions in Colorado. Such was the massive healthcare proposal in 2016 (Amendment 69). This year brings more of it.
Only your Representative is on the ballot this year:
U.S. House, 5th District: Doug Lamborn. Some have said Lamborn isn't "conservative enough." Seriously? He rates at the top of the scale on most conservative indices. He's a member of the House Liberty Caucus.
Governor: Walker Stapleton (R) This is a must. WAY better than Jared Polis (D), nominated the most corrupt member of Congress for his insider trading.
Secretary of State: Wayne Williams (R)
Treasurer: Brian Watson (R)
Attorney General: George Brauchler (R) Great guy, veteran, rock solid! Truly a bright spot on this
Regent of CU at Large: Ken Montera (R)
Regent of CU District 5: Chance Hill (R)
State Senate District 9: Paul Lundeen (R) Rock solid. I’ve known Paul for many years and he’s a true conservative! If you’re not in Senate District 9, vote for whoever is running on the Republican side. We have a one-seat majority that we must maintain as a firewall against Democrat overreach. Remember 2013 and gun control?
State Representative District 19: Tim Geitner (R) Another solid conservative.
El Paso County Offices
El Paso County Commissioner District 1: Holly Williams (R)
County Clerk: Chuck Boerman (R)
County Treasurer: Mark Lowderman (R)
County Assessor: Stephen Schleiker (R)
County Sheriff: Bill Elder (R)
County Surveyor: Richard Mariotti (R)
County Coroner: Leon Kelly (R)
These may be the most important votes of the November ballot.
Amendment V: No. Reduce age of state legislators from 25 to 21. They’re WAY too immature with no life experience and fresh out of the university indoctrination system.
Amendment W: No. Changing the ballot format for listing state judges. Probably a waste of time, but relatively harmless. A weak No.
Amendment X: No. Delete state definition of industrial hemp and go with the federal definition. Hemp is not pot. It is used in making rope and some clothing. A weak No.
Amendments Y and Z: No. Not only No, but Hell, No! Redistricting Congressional and federal seats every 10 years would be decided by an unelected commission instead of going through the legislature and state courts. This is a gerrymandering issue.
"Independent commissions" are what the left and the political class generally love best. Transfers their accountability to unelected bureaucrats. Will these commissioners be unbiased technocrats? Heck, no. They will be highly partisan. The only difference is that now the people will have no visibility into the process and no recourse if we don't like the results.
Who's funding this? Progressive left-leaning groups, primarily “Fair Maps Colorado”. They sent out a mailer supposedly signed by over eighty conservatives. I counted only about eight real conservatives on the list, the rest a bunch of long-time establishment types.
Who’s contributed to Fair Maps Colorado? $500,000 from Michael Bloomberg. Remember him?
When the political class--Rs and Ds both--in Colorado agree on something, you know the citizens/voters/taxpayers are going to get screwed.
Ask Jack Phillips how well these appointed, unelected commissions work.
Amendment A: Qualified Yes. Repeal 1876 wording that says prisoners are slaves--sort of. What it really says is that prisoners (those in the Colorado prison system) can be subjected to involuntary labor. This seems harmless enough until you realize this is a first step. For the left, the issue is never the issue. Next step, you can't make prisoners do any work unless you pay them. (We the voters won't be voting on that one.) Agitating for minimum wage after that? Unionizing? Giving felons the right to vote? Ross Kaminsky thinks this is pretty harmless. I'm not so sure.
Amendment 73: No. The teacher’s unions are back at it again. $1.6 BILLION yearly income tax hike. This will cancel your 2019 property tax cut. No money goes to “the kids.” HUGE pay raise for 100,000+ bureaucrats (under half are teachers) with no results. Ends flat rate income tax. Complicates all income, property tax bills. Taxpayers already pay 22% of school salaries for pensions!
Amendment 74: No. Compensate owners if future land regulations (like Prop 112) lower property value. If your value goes down, you pay less taxes – so why this amendment? To additionally compensate land owners for the decrease in value. Land is speculation. You buy property, don’t ask the state to assume your risk.
Amendment 75: No. This is based on the theory that money buys races. This is to put politicians who aren’t self-funding on the same footing as those who are. Ross Kaminsky supports it because his friend former State Senator Greg Brophy is behind it. This spring we had two Republican candidates for governor who were wealthy businessmen and funded their own campaigns. They lost. Jared Polis has always done the same for his campaigns. It’s their money. It’s time for fewer restrictions on campaign financing, not more.
Proposition 109: Yes. This is the “Fix Our Damn Roads” initiative backed by the Independence Institute. It would borrow $3.5B for roads. The legislature has shunted roads money into social welfare programs, so now we’re short of money for roads despite the state budget doubling. And now CDOT won’t build a new road or even a lane without a toll.
Proposition 110: No. This one is a $767M yearly sales tax hike for 20 years to repay $6 BILLION debt plus $3.4B interest for “transportation projects” like local “needs,” bike paths, buses, etc. A worse alternative to 109.
Proposition 111: No. Reduce payday loan interest rate ceiling to 36%. You can’t protect the stupid who have graduated from our overpriced schools. This is market manipulation pure and simple.
Proposition 112: No. This is the other not only No, but Hell, No! New oil-gas drilling banned within 2500 feet of buildings. Takes property rights and effectively bans drilling in Colorado. Huge drop in state and local tax revenue. Loss of jobs. It’s especially telling that both Polis and Stapleton are against it, given that Polis funded the last state-wide fracking ban.
1A: No. Raise taxes to cover police, EMS, etc. They have enough money now. Politicians need to allocate the existing funds correctly. It’s interesting that they come for more taxes to support police and teachers every election! Where does all the rest of the money go?
4A and 4B: No on both. Increase District 38 taxes for the schools. The district keeps saying that they are short of space. When do you know a school building is truly overcrowded? When you see a modular building on the school grounds. D38 has no modulars on any of their school properties and they’re spending $50,000 per year to recruit 231 students from outside D38 to attend our schools.
The money never goes for teachers. The Lewis-Palmer Superintendent makes around $300,000 a year. She was hired specifically because she was seen as someone who could raise a mill levy override.
4B is a bond. If passed the bond will be underwritten by RBC Capital Markets LLC. It just so happens that RBC has contributed $1500 to the committee trying to get 4B passed. A little self-serving, no?
You can find a comprehensive list of reasons to vote No on 4A and 4B here.
Colorado Supreme Court
Justice Richard L. Gabriel – Yes
Colorado Court of Appeals Judge
Judge John Daniel Dailey – No
Judge Rebecca Rankin Freyre – No
Judge Elizabeth L. Harris – Strong No
Judge David J. Richman – Yes
District Court Judge- 4th Judicial District
Judge Eric Bentley – No
Judge Linda Margaret Billings-Vela – Yes
Judge Jill M. Brady – No
Judge Robert L. Lowrey – Yes (Only strong Yes in the bunch)
Judge Timothy Schutz – No
Judge Larry Edward Schwartz – Yes
Judge Scott A. Sells – No
Judge David L. Shakes – No
El Paso County Court Judges
Judge Christopher Edward Acker – Yes
Judge Lawrence D. Martin – Yes
Judge Douglas J. Miles – Yes
Judge Ann M. Rotolo – Yes
A Note on sources:
For the elected officials, I attended the County and state Assemblies and personally know many of these people over ten years of following Colorado politics closely. As mentioned above, there is really no Democrat in Colorado worth voting for anyway, so the real trick is to get the best conservative on the Republican ticket.
You can also refer to the Colorado Family Foundation’s Voter Guide.
For ballot initiatives, like you I read the propaganda packets put out by the State and El Paso County. It is more important to see who’s behind the proposal and who’s funding it. Over $31 million dollars have gone into promoting these ballot initiatives!
I’ve read the recommendations of Ross Kaminsky (who I know but haven’t agreed with on all the recommendations) and fellow conservative Dave Vallado. When in doubt, it’s never a bad thing to vote No.
You can see summary information on Ballotpedia.
For judges it really takes someone “on the inside” to make knowledgeable recommendations. The judiciary in Colorado is generally left-leaning, so a default of No is always a good choice. Clear the Bench Colorado doesn’t have recommendations this year (as of this writing), so I’ve looked at the recommendations of Jeff Crank and the comprehensive recommendations of Dr. Charles Corry of the Equal Justice Foundation.