Spotlight on Colorado Senate District 22
This is part of a series of articles highlighting key races across Colorado. Colorado Senate District 22 is a race against two sitting Representatives for a term-limited Senate seat with new boundaries. Both contenders, Representative Ken Summers and Representative Andy Kerr have served in the House since 2006.
Voters in this Senate district are very familiar with both candidates and while it leans Republican in voter registration, according to the Colorado Statesman, the independents tend to vote Democrat.
The long north/south stretched district includes Jefferson County, Lakewood, Edgewater and Ken Caryl.
Summers is a Colorado native who directs a teen drug and alcohol recovery program called Teen Challenge. He also served as a pastor in Jefferson County for 19 years. He and his wife Debbie have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren.
According to his website, Summers has been honored as “Legislator of the Year” for several groups including Colorado Nonprofit Association, Jefferson County Developmental Disability Resource Center, and Mental Health America.
Summers supports limited government, low taxes, free enterprise, quality education and fiscal responsibility. “Keeping more money in taxpayers’ pockets provides greater control over their financial well being,” it says on his website.
He helped sponsor several bills during the 2012 Spring session that were signed by Governor Hickenlooper, having to do with healthcare, charitable solicitation regulations and one that protects pregnant women with drug problems from having their drug tests admissible in court.
In August, Summers achieved a place in the GOP’s Trailblazer Program which designates candidates who are running strong campaigns and provides additional assistance in their election. GOP Colorado State Chair Ryan Call is quoted as saying about Summers, ““As a Trailblazer candidate, he continues to demonstrate the depth of his commitment and the extent of his service to the people of Jefferson County.”
Learn more about Summers on his website at http://summersforsenate.org/.
Kerr spent 10 years in the Jefferson County Public Schools where he taught history and served as a curriculum specialist. He is currently paid by the district as a teacher on special assignment although he does not currently teach classes.
He recently inched ahead of Summers in fundraising for this race, although he may remain vulnerable from his plaintiff status in a lawsuit that is challenging the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amendment (aka TABOR) and that a judge ruled in July to allow to move forward to court.
Clear the Bench Colorado says the suit almost has to proceed to the United States Supreme Court because it involves a state constitution. A quote from their site: “If ‘We The People’ cannot set constitutional limits on government power, then the very founding principles of this nation – indeed, the foundations of Liberty itself – are at risk.”
Kerr currently serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Education Committee in the Colorado State House. According to Votesmart.org he is a board member of the Colorado Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education, a board member of the Green Mountain Civic Association and the President of the Dunstan Foundation, although there is no mention of these on his own website.
He has championed green energy initiatives for rooftop wind turbines and solar panels, reforms protecting craft beer brewers in bars and restaurants and increased regional tourism projects. As an educator, his education legislation has supported stretching tight budgets to support energy efficiency in schools, allowed for more time off to attend parent/teacher conferences and requiring background checks for contract employees at schools (a little surprising that wasn’t already in place). He has also sponsored legislation to support bike riding.
Read more about Kerr on his website at www.andykerr.org
Both candidates rank high in the ratings from Women’s Lobby of Colorado which supports women’s issues, according to VoteSmart.org.
Kerr is one of a handful of Colorado candidates endorsed by the far-left organization Progressive Majority from Washington, D.C. Their website encourages people to run for office who wonder “how in the heck we’ll get rid of extreme conservatives.” Progressive Majority is a large 527 which Open Secrets.org lists as having raised $1.65 million for 2012 and having spent $1.8 million so far this year. Their biggest contributor is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an alleged organizer of Occupy Wall Street. Other contributors include the Teamsters Local 117 and the AFL-CIO.
Summers won over Kerr for the endorsement of the education reform group Stand for Children, which picked a mixture of parties based on candidate interviews with educators and parents.
Debbie Brown, Director of Colorado Women’s Alliance endorses Summers. This is her statement:
“In the challenging times we face, we need a trustworthy, dependable leader who understands the stakes. Ken Summers brings to the job the moral foundation and the practical knowledge of how citizens and government can work together to solve the great problems of the day. Ken is committed to bringing more jobs to Colorado, and he is firmly grounded in the values we hold dear. We can be sure that the constants of family, faith and patriotism that keep us centered in a troubled world will also drive Ken Summers decisions in the State Senate.”