In the 15 months since I launched my campaign, I've crisscrossed the region, speaking with thousands of people in every county. What I hear most is that folks are angry because they haven’t seen their representative in years. They feel hopeless about low wages, unaffordable housing and high-cost healthcare.
As a professor with expertise in diversity and inclusion, a pastor, and a community activist, I have demonstrated leadership, accountability and integrity. I have experience bringing people together to solve complex problems. I’ve listened to the voters and developed smart policy solutions to address the growing pains of a region that is undergoing a demographic, economic and cultural transformation.
It’s long past time for our region to realize its full potential and for our citizens to regain trust in their representative in Congress. I have a reputation for hard work, integrity and putting people before politics. I will be a champion for ALL of our people, not just the fortunate few.
I view the challenges of this region holistically—not as priority #1 or #2—because the problems and solutions tend to be interconnected. What these issues have in common is they’re contributing to a growing fear that our quality of life is slipping away.
Because our region is growing so rapidly—it’s estimated that Colorado Springs will become the state’s largest city in 30 years—we’re struggling with unaffordable housing, inequitable access to healthcare and quality education and, for too many, pay that hasn’t budged in years.
When I’m entrusted by the voters to represent them in Congress, I will build consensus for policy solutions like supporting programs that educates workers for 21st century jobs; incentivizing the development of affordable, quality housing; investing in public school excellence that’s not one- size-fits all; and strengthening our healthcare system so that no one need worry that they’re one illness away from a medical or financial crisis.
The budget priority that demands the most immediate attention of lawmakers is healthcare. The public tends to focus on coverage, but if we don’t fix our dysfunctional healthcare SYSTEM, nothing else matters.
I will build consensus for proposals that will significantly reduce healthcare costs by throwing out the broken, doctor-focused structure that rewards quantity over quality of care.
A patient-centered approach not only produces better health outcomes it’s more cost effective. The savings we will reap from strengthening our healthcare system will offset the cost of providing healthcare to Americans who aren’t covered by insurance and/or don’t have access to quality doctors and hospitals at all.
Education: Purdue University: Ph.D., American Studies; Master’s Degree, English Literature; Clark Atlanta University, Bachelor’s Degree, English
Occupation: Associate Professor (Tenured) Women’s and Ethnic Studies
Doug Lamborn chose not to participate.
Regent of the University of Colorado- Congressional District 5
28 years as a high school, community college and university teacher with a Ph.D. and Masters in Education, and a J.D., M.A., and B.S. I provided academic leadership counsel to the USAF Academy Superintendent as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. I have lived in Colorado for 22 years and spoken with citizens and educators in all 5 counties of CD-5 about their expectations and experiences with CU. My 28 years of military service has inspired me to public service. As Colorado State VFW officer, I know CU can better address their needs coming back from war. As former Judge Advocate General for the VFW of the United States, I have advised a multimillion dollar organization on achieving public policy goals. Finally, as a father of 4 daughters, I have a keen awareness of how the cost of CU education is a major barrier to working families.
CU tuition is why most Coloradans, especially those from rural, low income and working class families don’t apply. They face an average $21,000 in debt that takes 12 years to repay. In the 1970s, tuition was 24% of the cost and the state provided 76%, but now state support is 30% and families pay 70%. For 50 years, the GOP majority on the CU Regents have ignored this, raising costs again this coming year by 4.3%. They are more concerned with political issues such as removing the word “liberal” from liberal arts. I will focus the Regents on dropping tuition by adjusting priorities in a $4 Billion budget and aggressively calling the Legislature to account. I also want everyone, no matter what their background, to feel welcome at CU, be they urban, rural, veteran, conservative, LGBTQ or liberal. Exposure to new ideas is what a university education is all about.
Reducing student costs must be number one and we can slash other costs to compensate, such as not paying the CU Anshutz Vice Chancellor $950,000 a year or a football coach $16.5 Million. I will also leverage my experience in online education to not only reduce operating costs, but also use technological innovation, online learning and web-based outreach, to bring more citizens into UC who have been left behind (working people, returning veterans, rural students, those who left school to work, and single parents). What good is a quality education if no one can afford it but the rich?
Having recently graduated from law school, I know first-hand the opportunities and challenges of being a modern-day student. Consequently, when I discuss problems concerning the rising cost of education and the need to promote intellectual diversity on campuses, I am highlighting issues that affect all current students. My experience will enable me to add value and a unique perspective on the Board of Regents.
Moreover, as a military veteran, I understand that leadership and management matter significantly for any institution in creating a culture. I will bring that experience to bear as a CU Regent in crafting policy, selecting senior administrators, and shaping the long-term vision for all four CU campuses. Because of my work ethic and ability to collaborate with a wide variety of people, I have been fortunate to earn more than 70 endorsements from business, political, and community leaders from throughout Colorado.
The next CU Board of Regents will face two pressing issues: the impact of rising tuition and the lack of intellectual diversity on campuses. Skyrocketing tuition has caused many students to graduate with enormous debt. Rising costs and the prospect of such debt results in some students failing to complete their degrees. The Board of Regents must evaluate needless bureaucracy, appoint administrators who are willing to do the same, and promote public-private partnerships to reduce costs as much as possible.
In addition, universities should promote intellectual diversity and free speech so that graduates are prepared for the real world. The CU System should continue to improve in this respect. Regents can maintain this trajectory by appointing administrators who emphasize all forms of diversity. Regents also should set policy that enhances academic freedom and encourages a learning environment that exposes students to a broad array of perspectives.
The CU System should make the goal of reducing ever rising tuition its first budget priority. The Board of Regents should limit increases in annual tuition by removing bureaucratic bloat, which raises costs and results in increased tuition and student debt. The Board must appoint a CU President (the current President retires next year) who will continue to innovate, minimize bureaucracy, eliminate redundancies, and fundraise impressively. Furthermore, forging public-private partnerships—as UCCS did when constructing the Ent Center for the Arts—offers a path towards creating world-class facilities without raising costs for students.