Spotlight on Colorado House District 03
Colorado House District 3’s race is between Democrat incumbent Dan Kagan and Republican challenger businessman Brian Watson. This is a real horse race and one that many are saying could indicate which way Colorado goes this election year. Both candidates are known for their fund-raising and organization abilities.
House District 3 includes Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Greenwood Village, parts of Littleton, and parts of unincorporated Arapahoe County.
Due to reapportionment, the lines have become a little more favorable to Republicans. According to The Colorado Statesman, Republicans represent 36.6% of the population while Democrats make up 32.7%.
Representative Kagan did not respond to requests for an interview and Mr. Watson’s campaign declined to respond, saying he was concentrating on speaking to constituents for the final weeks of the race. His campaign did note that there is a group focused solely on women called Women for Watson meant to speak specifically to women’s issues. Therefore, this spotlight article will focus on what I could find about the two candidates from other sources.
Kagan came into office in 2009 as a result of the resignation of Rep. Anne McGihon. His focus is on healthcare reform and a balanced budget.
He was raised in England, the son of parents who met while imprisoned in a concentration camp. He moved to the United States in 1975 and became a US citizen in 1984.
He went to George Washington University and also attended Yale University’s law school. He and his wife of 21 years, Faye managed a law practice together which focused on fighting against insurance companies and other large companies for his clients.
He was the managing director of his family’s textile business and worked as an attorney on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign in Colorado. His website is www.dankagan.com
Kagan has authored legislation that has cracked down on speculators who try to price families out of affordable housing and worked to require health care providers to disclose their rates, enabling families to find affordable care. He also proposed the Skills for Jobs act that would help match recent college graduates with companies looking for people with their skills.
Last session, he also sponsored an unsuccessful bill that would have outlawed all bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers that contained Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is suspected (but not proven) to have a link to brain, behavior and prostate problems in children.
His challenger is Brian Watson, a successful business man known for his orange shoes that he wears while speaking to the people in his district. Watson grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado where he was a member of the Future Farmers of America. He attended University of Colorado and began working in real estate upon his graduation.
He currently owns his own commercial real estate investment company called Northstar Commercial Partners as well as a majority interest in two locally-based manufacturing companies and an event rental company which helps employ 75 people.
Watson sits on the board of two non-profit organizations. Opportunity International provides training and financial assistance for people in developing countries (microenterprise?) and Mercy Ships provides desperately-needed medical assistance and surgery to Africans via a floating hospital.
Watson has been married to his wife for 15 years and they have 3 children.
He is specifically focused on the economy, education and the environment. He wants to remove burdensome regulations from Colorado businesses and employers to allow for job growth.
He supports school choice, allowing parents to choose the best place for their child to attend school. He also wants to better utilize the state’s natural resources to help lower energy costs for Colorado consumers.
Frances Owens, former First Lady of Colorado and co-chair of Women for Watson had this to say about Watson:
“I am supporting Brian Watson because of the integrity he brings to everything he does – business – personal life - community – politics!
I met Brian a year or so ago, and I can honestly say, that he is truly an anomaly when it comes to politicians! Being involved in politics for 30+ years, and witnessing politicians who say and do whatever seems to be convenient at the time – a young man like Brian is definitely someone we want representing us at the State House. I see qualities in him that will make him a great legislator.
He is honest. He is raising his children with discipline and values. He works very hard as an independent businessman. He is principled. He listens, assesses, and then makes his decisions.”
Mary K Lowe, Co-Chair of Women for Watson had this to say about Watson:
“Working on a campaign, you really get to know a person well. I thought highly of Brian going in, and can say without a doubt, that he has the integrity and compassion to do what is right. As he says, he has never desired to be a politician. What I see is that he does have a desire to ‘give back’ and, as a caring father and businessman, will work hard for us in the legislature.
He has proven that he sincerely wants to know what is important to us by going door to door in this precinct. I know others do the ‘door knocking’, however I have never seen any do it as untiringly as Brian – Every day, 7 days a week (except when Broncos play), he is out, often by himself.”
For more information about Watson, please check out his website at www.watsonforcolorado.com.
Stand For Children, an education advocacy group, has endorsed Watson. According to www.denverpols.com as of August 31, 2012 reported this group has endorsed 6 Democrats and 5 Republicans. The Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Dan Kagan, according to their website.
Watson also has the endorsement of Debbie Brown, director of Colorado Women’s Alliance. Her statement:
“We’ve all heard the alarming news that companies are closing or hanging on to their capital, reluctant to invest in new jobs or equipment because the economy is so uncertain. As a successful small businessman himself, Brian Watson has the first-hand experience to know how government can encourage business job creation. He understands that for our economy to grow, our businesses need to grow free of the heavy hand of government that can smother the entrepreneurial spirit. Brian Watson will use his business know-how to stand up for private enterprise, the engine of a thriving economy.”