Spotlight On Colorado Senate District 26

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This is another installment in a series of articles spotlighting several key races across the Denver metro area. Senate District 26 is a race between Democratic incumbent Senator Linda Newell and her challenger, small business owner Dave Kerber.

Senate District 26 includes Arapahoe County including the cities of Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Columbine Valley, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village along with parts of Foxfield, Bow Mar and Aurora..  The district leans slight Republican by about 2,100 registered voters. The break down, according to the Colorado Statesman, is 36.5% GOP to 33.4% Democrat.

Newell won a narrow victory four years ago (50.16% of the vote) and that same year, Kerber lost a very close House race so he knows what to change to win this year’s race.

Because My Colorado View is focused on Colorado women and the issues that affect them, the candidates are being asked 6 standard questions, with follow up that focus on their big ideas surrounding women’s issues and any other special areas of focus they want voters to know about.

Mr. Kerber responded to our interview request and the following are his answers. Senator Newell did not respond to requests for an interview. Here are Kerber’s answers:

1)      What do you think is the most important issue families and women are facing in your district?

DK: “The economy and jobs. As I go door to door, most people are concerned about their future. I often ask, ‘Is everyone working here who wants to work?’ And the answer is either ‘No’ or ‘Yes, thank God.’ There isn’t anybody who’s relaxing. No one is secure or comfortable where they’re at. That’s the biggest issue we’re facing in the state, district and as a country.

We’ve gotta get the economy back on track and get the people where they have a sense of security in their employment so they can plan, so they can get by. They just don’t know if they’re going to have a job next year.”

2) What are your favorite public policy issues you feel you can speak about best?

DK: “I did a lot of civil rights litigation (when he was practicing law). I was around when sexual harassment first came around. So I can understand what happens in the workplace with men and women. You have to be respectful.

I have a business now, a warehouse and logistic business. We understand that women are the primary caregivers of their kids. If they’re sick and need to take off, it affects them and we adjust their schedule so they can pick up their kids and drop off at the school bus, and we are understanding when school closes.”

3) What is the most important piece of information you want women to know about you and why should a woman vote for you?

DK: “Women should vote for me because I do understand how to create jobs. Jobs are the most important issue in this election.

I have a small business. I hire people. I make determinations when we can expand and when we can’t. I will be someone who will go to the legislature to get the burdens off of businesses so that they can grow.

4) What motivates you to serve in public office?

DK:  “My dad was a World War II veteran.  He was one of 5 people in his company of 250 who wasn’t killed or wounded. He was in north Africa, Sicily, D-Day, Omaha Beach, Battle of the Bulge. He was in all these battles. He‘d say to my sister and me, ‘You’ve been given certain talents and gifts but you must use those talents to the betterment of the community.’

He would come home and say, ‘What have you done for the red, white and blue today?’ Like, ‘What have you done other than for yourself?’

As time went on, I worked in the HOA (Home Owners Association), worked with the neighborhood, and I was on Planning and Zoning for my city, and on the city council for 8 years. As a follow up, I do have legal skills and business skills.  I have a lot of experience with environmental issues.

5) What’s your stance on taxes?

DK: “I agree with Governor Hickenlooper; the people are taxed enough. They’re not amenable to more taxes.  I do think TABOR (the law requiring a balanced state budget) is appropriate.  The people should make a determination about their own taxes.

It’s too easy for the legislators, when they’re a little short, just to kick it off to some anonymous people that they don’t see. It’s just too easy.

Sometimes the public does not think the government has made their case and they vote it down. Right now in these economic times, I can’t imagine adding more burdens on the people. We’re just going to have to do with what we’ve got.

Just like in business. If you’ve got a business to run, you have to work with what you have.  You can’t just add more money or people.

I believe in zero-balance budgeting. Everyone starts out at zero. Give us plan about the money you’re going to spend. Things really happen when you practice zero-balance budgeting. You have to justify your existence.”

6) In what ways have you/do you support K-12 education?

DK: “My eldest daughter, Rachel, is 29. She teaches 8th grade Social Studies in Windsor. I’ve talked to her about education; she’s my education advisor.

Times are tough, and simply is no extra money out there. Knowing that there is no more money, how are we going to help schools out?

One of the ways I think is really important is relieving the burdens and unfunded mandates that the Legislature is laying on schools.  One example is the discipline bill that Senator Newell sponsored. The first part of the bill was great which relieves school districts from the requirement to call the police under certain circumstances such as if your kid shows up with a butter knife.  These are not the “weapons” that we want the Districts to have to involve the police.

But the bill is 44 pages long.   It requires the School Districts to develop a very detailed and burdensome one size fits all discipline policy.  It’s an example of the State Legislature micromanaging how school districts should be run, but not giving them any resources to do what the Legislature requires.  One-size-fits-all micromanaging by the State Legislature increases the costs for education. That’s where we need to fight for education.

I’ll switch gears here because I can see spending money on early child literacy. My wife is a librarian in Highlands Ranch and the statistics show you can test children in the 3rd Grade and determine how many prisons you’ll have to build in 20 years.

If the children aren’t reading and writing by third grade, we need to bring them up to that level.  Sometimes it’s done not only by teachers but supplemented by volunteers and parents. For example, my wife was part of an ‘I Can Read’ group for 1st grade students at our local school. She and 20 other volunteers spent a certain amount of time working with small groups to read to each other.   Early child literacy is one of my passions.”

Please read more about Dave Kerber at www.kerberforcolorado.com.

Although Senator Newell did not respond to our requests, we wanted to profile her for readers.

She is a Littleton resident who is a single mother of two daughters. She has worked in human resources, telecommunications and as a self-employed consultant.  She attended University of California at Irvine. To read more about her, please check out her website at www.senlindanewell.com.

Endorsements:

Senator Newell has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police of Colorado.

Kerber has been endorsed by Colorado Women’s Alliance. The statement from Debbie Brown, the group’s director states:

“In the challenging times we face, we need a trustworthy, dependable leader who understands the stakes. Dave Kerber 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. 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 Dave Kerber decisions in the State Senate.”

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