Spotlight on Colorado Senate District 19
Democrat incumbent Senator Evie Hudak, a former educator, faces Republican challenger Lieutenant Colonel Lang Sias, a decorated veteran and pilot for FedEx. Hudak won by a small margin in the 2008 election, claiming 51% of the vote.
Senate District 19 includes northern Jefferson County including Westminster and Arvada. The voter demographics favor the Republicans slightly at 35.9% versus 31.9% Democrat and 31.5% Unaffiliated.
This race has garnered some extra attention as both candidates are portrayed as the most extreme versions of the parties they represent. Several ads and flyers have become points of contention on both sides.
That said, here is some information about both candidates.
Sias is a Navy veteran and former TOPGUN instructor as well as a former attorney. He was first in his class at Aviation Officer Training School. He flew the FA-18 in 23 combat missions off the USS Saratoga during Operation Desert Storm. He also flown F-16 for the Air National Guard and commanded a unit of forward air controllers in Iraq.
His law degree is from Michigan Law School. He also holds a Master’s of Science degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College. At times, he guest lectures at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
His family’s roots in Colorado span back to the early 1900s and his grandfather had the consummate Colorado job as a miner. He and his wife Rene have 3 young kids and live in Arvada. His older kids attend JeffCo Schools.
His website says he wants to create jobs for Coloradoan by lowering taxes and by loosening regulations. He wants to grow our economy by utilizing our natural resources for job creation. He also supports education reform that gives more support to outstanding teachers, involved parents and great schools.
His stance on government rewards financial responsibility, something all Colorado families commit to as well: “Government should budget just like families do - weighing priorities, making sacrifices, being careful not to load up the credit card, and every step of the way acknowledging it can’t always afford everything it wants.”
This is a quote on education from his website: “A quality education is central to our children’s future and Colorado’s economic success. In the State Senate I will work with colleagues from both parties for reforms that reward excellence and put our kids first, including increased parental choice and accountability.”
Find out more about Sias at www.langsias.com
Hudak was on the Colorado State Board of Education for 8 years. She has taught school at the K-12 level as well as college level, according to her website. She served on the Transportation, Education, Finance and Judiciary Committees within the Senate.
She has also served on the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission, Education Commission of the States, Educational Success Task Force and the Economic Opportunity/Poverty Reduction Task Force. She has also been involved with the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, and Business and Professional Women.
According to her LinkedIn profile, she also served as the School Readiness Program Coordinator for the State Department of Human Services from 2003-2006. She attended State University of New York at Stony Brook where she majored in English and Education. Her profile doesn’t list her teaching experience. I was unable to find any record of her experience as a teacher.
She and her husband Ed have lived in their district for 40 years. They have an adult daughter who lives in Highlands Ranch, according to her website.
She supports job growth, education improvement, veterans and seniors, although she did vote to suspend the Senior Homestead Property Tax exemption which raised taxes on fixed-income senior citizens. The left-leaning JeffCoPols.com calls her “brash” and comments that this will be a tough race for an outspoken Democrat in the Republican-leaning district.
On October 2, 2012, Hudak will receive the “Legislator of the Year” from the Colorado Community College System for her support of education initiatives. Hudak was part of a dust up in April surrounding the state board of education voting to develop Colorado state testing standards instead of joining one of two national tests. Hudak believed it was the Colorado Assembly’s jurisdiction to make this decision, not her former colleagues on the board and took 5 minutes at the microphone to say so, according to www.ednewscolorado.org.
Find out more about Hudak at www.eviehudak.com.
According to her website, Hudak is supported by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Planned Parenthood, NARAL, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the AFL-CIO, among others.
Sias has garnered the support of the coveted Stand for Children organization a non-partisan education advocacy group. Their endorsements are based on candidate interviews by parents and educators. This particular endorsement is significant in this race since Hudak is a former teacher and State Board of Education member. Two Republican candidates were supported by Stand for Children, Ken Summers and Sias; the rest are Democrats. Hudak was an outspoken opponent of education reforms in 2010 that required teachers be evaluated by performance. It may have affected this endorsement.
“Lang is an articulate and knowledgeable community member who understands the critical relationship between strong public schools and the growth of our economy,” said Stand for Children Endorsement Committee member Dan Clayton.
He is also supported by Colorado Women’s Alliance, a powerful women’s group. Director Debbie Brown has this to say about Sias:
“The Colorado Women’s Alliance is impressed by Lang Sias, an American war hero and family man. His devotion to his wife and children tell us he’s the kind of man we can trust to represent our families’ interests. He has stood in our shoes as we watch our groceries, gas, energy bills and taxes go higher and higher, and we know he’s just as concerned about the sinking economy as we are. Lang Sias will be our voice for much-needed fiscal sanity in the Statehouse.”