McLean column: A few thoughts about candidates
I want to offer a few thoughts about candidates on this fall’s ballot whom I support.
Unfortunately as the valley grows in population, crime also increases. The current DA seems unable or unwilling to prosecute criminals, often agreeing to plea bargains that are no more than a slap on the wrist for offenders or simply refusing to prosecute crimes. The result is a poor working relationship between the DA’s office and local officers of the law.
While she accuses her opponent, Jeff Cheney, in the DA election of having a “cozy” relationship with law enforcement, she does not seem to understand that the DA office is part of law enforcement. Her relationships are with defense attorneys. Her support tends to come from the defense attorneys.
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We need a change. We need Jeff Cheney. He has integrity, honesty, a strong work ethic and years of experience as a prosecutor with countless trial experience. I would much rather have a DA with a good working relationship with law officers than one whose preference seems to be the defense of criminals.
We need robust prosecution of crimes. We need to stop drug gangs from preying on our high school and middle school students. We need a reputation for tough prosecution of the drive-by criminals who use I-70 to transit our district. We need offenders to know that if they commit sexual assault, domestic violence or miscellaneous vandalism that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We need Jeff Cheney.
Jeff is hardworking, a good family man, an Army combat veteran of Iraq and a capable and experienced trial lawyer. He is tough but compassionate.
Last June, Joyce Rankin received a frantic call from the school superintendent from South Routt County. She told Joyce that Peabody Coal had declared bankruptcy and, as a result, were not able to pay their school taxes. The district could not make payroll. As the state school board member from the largest geographical district in Colorado, Joyce went into action. She worked to help the district obtain a grant of $1 million to carry them over until bankruptcy court would allow Peabody to pay their past due taxes.
This is typical for Joyce. She works tirelessly in an area that runs from Pueblo to northwestern Colorado covering 54,000 square miles, including 29 counties, 58 school districts and 116,000 students. As a skilled educator, providing a quality education for the students is her priority. Joyce emphasizes the need for local control of the schools, limiting federal intervention, support of rural schools and protecting school choice.
Fortunately for those of us on the Western Slope, she knows how to work with the system, which is largely skewed to support the population centers in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. Joyce is able to convince her counterparts that the Western Slope has different needs and different solutions than either the metropolitan area or the eastern rural plains. Joyce is a voice for students on the Western Slope and we need her representing us on the State Board of Education in the Third Congressional District.
Colorado voters have a unique opportunity provided by the state Constitution to determine the future of the University of Colorado. By voting for the CU regents, essentially a board of directors for the CU University system, voters can determine the future direction of the university. Why should that matter to voters on the Western Slope with little interest in CU?
Only about 5 percent of CU funding comes from taxpayers due to the fiscally responsible policies and strong fundraising of the current administration. Any change could result in a significantly higher cost to all of us.
CU is the third-largest employer in Colorado. With funding from grants, tuition, endowments and contributions supporting the budget, CU is a net income producer in taxes for the state as those employees pay state income tax. Finally, CU represents Colorado nationally either as an institution producing Nobel Prize winners and noted for fine academic programs or as an embarrassment as in the debacle of the Ward Churchill days.
Heidi Ganhl as a regent will support the administration of President Bruce Benson. He has been an outstanding fundraiser for CU, has worked tirelessly to keep costs under control, reduce tuition and bring some diversity of thought to the campus. Heidi, a CU alumna, developed her own very successful business. She is a member of the CU Foundation. She brings business and common sense to the position of regent.
Her opponent has a far left-wing agenda and is supported by the radical California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Her intention is to replace President Benson, divest CU of any investments in fossil fuel and to push a left-wing agenda on the students. Do not let a California billionaire determine the future of CU; vote for Heidi Ganhl for regent at large.
Roland McLean, an Aspen Glen resident, is a University of Colorado graduate, Navy veteran and retiree after more than 30 years in international construction. His column appears on the fourth Thursday of each month. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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