From the state perspective, the headline issue is the education funding Amendment 66 and how the failure of Amendment 66 — 64.9% NO to 35.0% YES — will frame the next legislative session? Will the message be that Colorado is a more conservative state (at least on tax issues) than reflected by the legislature? Was it the campaign message or the details of the legislation, a flawed campaign, the spokespeople, or the general attitude of the voting public? Each of these theories will certainly find their legislative adherents during the next session and there will be efforts to tie the defeat to referendums on the Governor’s performance, and other issues such as taxes and economic development – as well as the public appetite for education reform itself. The YES campaign used education programs, classroom sizes, and other issues to sell the benefits of the campaign, but there was little effort to explain the additional education reforms that would be attached to these tax increases. The opponents also were effective in their questioning of the initiative as a backfill for PERA and as a $950 million dollar a year fund that had few controls on how the funds could be spent, as well as raising questions about how the tax increases on wealthier Coloradans would affect economic development. How will this issue reverberate into the next legislative session? That will remain to be seen. However, as previous legislatures and Governors recovered from policy failures at the ballot (such as the largely grassroots effort that derailed Referendum A, a statewide water bonding initiative in 2003 under Governor Bill Owens) the massive vote against Amendment 66, and the opposition of business organizations such as Colorado Concern and the Regional Business Alliance, certainly carries a message that grassroots campaigns can be effective — even when organized against well fielded campaigns headed by the state’s elected leaders. As in the past water policy debate that failed to gain state voter support, we might expect to see the Governor appoint a task force on education reform or to find areas where there was bipartisan support for certain education concepts included in the legislation and urge their passage in his State-of-the-State address. In the meantime, separate reform pieces from the amendment are already being discussed for the session by legislators in both parties. As was mentioned back in 2003, this week’s education message could be as simple as the voters rejecting an education “blank check.”
Here are the results of our HBA supported candidates in Tuesday’s election:
City of Fountain Endorsements:
Gabriel Ortega will be the new Mayor of Fountain, defeating HBA supported Sharon Brown for the City’s top office. Two new City Council members, endorsed by HBA, will be joining the new Mayor (Sharon Thompson from Ward 1 and Sam Gieck from Ward 3) with incumbent at-large Councilman Sam Heckman’s race still undecided. Greg Lauer currently leads Heckman by 7 votes, but provisional and military ballots are yet to be counted and could affect the outcome of the race. As a result, Heckman has not yet conceded the election and a recount remains a possibility under discussion. The previous Council approved a series of development fee increases by a vote of 4 – 3, and the outcome of this election could set the tone of the new Council concerning growth and development. Councilman Heckman also received the HBA endorsement.
School District 49
In School District 49, all three of the HBA endorsed candidates were elected to the School Board including: President Tammy Harold, Kevin Butcher, and David Moore. Each of these candidates ran at-large.
School District 11
In District 11, two HBA endorsed candidates (Al Loma and Charlie Bobbitt) were defeated, while a third HBA endorsed candidate, Luann Long, was returned to office. Luann Long will be joined on the Board by Jim Mason and Linda Mojer.
School District 2
In District 2, each of the HBA endorsed candidates were elected to the School Board. Eileen Gonzalez, who also serves as the Administrator to the Colorado Springs City Council, was reelected to a 2-year term, while Joyce Leigh, Doriena Longmire, and Steve Seibert, were each elected to 4-year terms. Steve Seibert prevailed over Ryan Thompson by just 6 votes, so that race could also receive additional scrutiny before the final outcome is decided.
School District 20
School District 20 reelected two HBA endorsed candidates, returning President Linda Van Matre and Secretary Catherine Bullock to the Board, along with newly elected Larry Borland. Mr. Borland also received the HBA endorsement.
School District 38 – One Seat Open
In the final district where HBA made an endorsement, John Magerko was reelected without opposition.
For questions, please contact:
William D. Mutch
Director, Government Affairs/Public Policy
Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs
4585 Hilton Parkway, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
phone: 719-592-1800, ext 16