Colorado State Senate Candidates
Candidates listed in order they appear on ballot. These responses were not edited for grammar, punctuation, or spelling and were truncated if they exceeded the specified word count.
State Senate District 10

Larry Liston (R)

Randi McCallian (D)

  • Candidate Information

    Candidate Name: Randi McCallian District: Senate District 10 E-Mail: RandiforColorado@gmail.com Website: www.RandiforColorado@gmail.com Phone: 719-257-3280 Education: BS, MPH (Master of Public Health) Occupation: Household CEO

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    My Master’s Degree in Public Health gives me a strong understanding of how systems and policy shape our health and choices, and ultimately, how I can shape those systems to benefit us regular people. Having more representation from fields outside of politics is important for better representation and to make our government work for more people. My professional experience includes: directing multi-state maternal and child health programs; state-level hospital quality improvement; and providing individualized support and therapy as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism, birth and postpartum doula, Early Head Start Home-Visitor, and an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

  • What are the two most pressing issues facing your district and how will you address them?

    Affordable housing and healthcare accessibility/cost are very important to voters in SD10. With housing costs rising at unsustainable rates, many residents and families are being pushed out of their homes and the community they grew up in. Additionally, healthcare costs continue to rise, and affordable options are often scarce. I will sponsor and support legislation which opens access to down-stream healthcare providers who deliver excellent, supportive care, for less cost; including mental health providers and prevention-focused services – this also adds jobs in my district for healthcare providers of all kinds. Additionally, I will support and sponsor legislation which protects and includes access to affordable housing and prioritizes keeping families in homes and preventing homelessness.

  • What should the state's budget priorities be and how will you fund those priorities?

    We must protect those who are most vulnerable, including families and children, our elderly neighbors, essential workers and essential resources. However, Colorado is in a very unfortunate position because of TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment, which have led to huge budget deficits across critical areas of Colorado. TABOR has kept us from being able to grow the State’s budget, and the Gallagher Amendment has led to a situation where residential property taxes fell so low that our schools are now the lowest funded system in the Country. Fixing these tax mistakes must be budget priorities.

  • What is the role of the state in the provision of affordable and universally designed housing?

    Having a safe place to live is critical to our health and safety; without a home, we face declining physical and mental well-being. One role of our government is to make sure our people are safe and protected from exploitation or harm. Housing has become a for-profit business and it’s leaving our elderly, injured, disabled, veterans, and families struggling to stay in their homes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, meaning that we need to make sure we place a greater focus on keeping people in homes, not only rehabilitation after someone has reached the point of losing a home.

  • Are you in favor of the Colorado legislature adopting legislation that gives businesses the right to refuse service of customers when such service conflicts with the business owner’s religious beliefs?

    No. As a supporter of the First Amendment, I value the separation of church and state. This also means that no private business can discriminate upon their clientele based on their personal religious beliefs. I only support not serving a customer if it risks health or safety.

  • What will you do to bolster systems and increase access to essential services for traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to ignore that our economy runs on the hard work of our underserved communities. By investing locally, we support the people who make the economy actually run. I will defend our right to paid family and sick leave policies, invest in down-stream healthcare providers that can be trained within their own communities, and make sure that those who are impacted by the policy, are at the table to craft it. Change happens from the bottom up, from local to national, and we need to make sure our resources are reaching the appropriate people.

  • What changes should the state make to law enforcement funding or law?

    Too many mental health crisis moments are leading to interventions with law enforcement that aren’t safe for anyone involved. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach when responding to community concerns, and we need more options when the situation doesn’t need Police force, but attentive crisis intervention – such as Denver’s STAR program (Support Team Assistance Response). As the responsibility of Law Enforcement has grown, so has the budget for their time and resources – moving responsibility from their shoulders will also allow some of that budget to be directed toward more appropriate crisis-response jobs.

  • What role does a vibrant and well-funded arts and cultural sector play in the overall vitality of our local/regional economy?

    The arts are as valuable as sports, clubs, and organizations. Not only do they give us the opportunity to express ourselves in a way that’s meaningful, but most significantly, they connect us with others. A strong and resilient economy is built by people who feel connected, and therefore, supported. The arts, and celebrating culture, are vital components of our well-being.

  • What, if anything, should be done to increase access to voting for all eligible voters?

    Colorado has done a great job making the voting process more accessible and secure and I’m proud we lead the way in areas including: ease of registration when you receive a Colorado License or ID, ballot tracking, voting access for all eligible residents, and multiple options of how to cast a ballot. I applaud our Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, in expanding the number of drop-off ballot locations in this time where voting access is being threatened in other states. Colorado’s mail-in and DMV registration is the envy of the country and I will fight to make sure it continues!

Heather Johnson (L)

State Senate District 12

Bob Gardner (R)

  • Candidate Information

    Candidate Name: Bob Gardner District: Senate District 12 E-Mail: senbobgardner@comcast.net Website: votebobgardner.com Phone: 719-491-5705 Education: B.S. US Air Force Academy; J.D., University of Texas; LL.M. George Washington University Occupation: Attorney

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    I have been a citizen legislator for 12 years, serving in the State House for 8 years and the State Senate for 4 and recognized as one of the most effective legislators in the General Assembly. In my law practice, I represent small businesses which face the daily challenges of excessive regulatory mandates and taxation. My legislative work has focused on these issues, and public safety, rights of crime victims, and services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues. Citizens expect us on the one hand to serve consistently with the principles we espouse and on the other, to work with others who agree with us on little, if anything. My education and experience enable both principled leadership and an ability to work with others who may not agree completely or even at all with my own views or those of the majority of my constituents.

  • What are the two most pressing issues facing your district and how will you address them?

    1. Economic Recovery—This needs to be addressed by putting everyone back to work quickly, with due regard for safety. The underlying fundamentals of the economy remain strong. I will propose and support all efforts to limit regulation and excessive taxation on business, particularly small business, as we recover. 2. K-12 Education during the pandemic—I have already proposed legislation to assist parents in educating their children in the best and safest way they think appropriate during the pandemic. The State needs to make resources available to parents to assist them with the right education choices for their children during the pandemic, whether it is for broadband, curriculum, a cooperative learning pod teacher, or any other assistance to assure that their children do not fall behind.

  • What should the state's budget priorities be and how will you fund those priorities?

    After the immediate priorities of the pandemic, we continue to need funding for highways, roads, and bridges. I have consistently advocated for making this a top budget priority, for bonding of the projects, and first and foremost using existing funding before asking citizens for a separate funding stream (new taxes). Citizens have made clear until the legislature makes transportation a priority and first uses existing funding, they will not entrust us with new tax revenues.

  • What is the role of the state in the provision of affordable and universally designed housing?

    We absolutely need more affordable housing. The most effective way to create affordable housing is to allow the market to work as freely as possible, with necessary regulation for safety and services. Many of the government mandates for land use and design actually make housing much less affordable. Those who invest in housing development are discouraged from building lower priced housing and actually are incentivized to build fewer and much higher priced units. Every mandate and every new potential liability imposed by state and local government drives the cost of housing up, not down. This has made the building of townhomes and condominiums for ownership almost impossible without substantial government subsidy. Universal designed housing (that is, barrier free) is much the same. The goal is laudable, but the impact of a mandate is to raise the cost of housing for everyone. Very counterproductive.

  • Are you in favor of the Colorado legislature adopting legislation that gives businesses the right to refuse service of customers when such service conflicts with the business owner’s religious beliefs?

    Yes. The federal government has already done this in legislation introduced in 1993 by then Cong. Chuck Schumer and signed by Pres. Clinton—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). I would support a state version of RFRA and challenge those who oppose it to tell me why if it was acceptable to Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, and a nearly unanimous US Congress, why is it not good policy for Colorado? Why should our citizens not receive the same protection of their religious freedom from the State government that they receive from the federal government?

  • What will you do to bolster systems and increase access to essential services for traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    The first thing we can do is to implement comprehensive Medicaid reform. Everyone knows that as a program, Medicaid is beset by excessive regulation, inefficiencies, and excess cost. One of the lost opportunities of the past four years has been the chance for states to propose comprehensive Medicaid waivers to improve care. This administration would have been open to that, but state health care bureaucracies were unwilling or unable to propose plans. I have advocated for and supported these kind of reforms and will continue to do so both in health care, as well as transportation and job training.

  • What changes should the state make to law enforcement funding or law?

    I do not support the defunding of law enforcement. The idea is wrongheaded. We do need more resources for response and treatment for those with mental health issues, as well as social services support. Ironically, many in law enforcement would agree with this. Last session, the General Assembly passed a police accountability bill, which had some needed reforms, but also has provisions which discourage good people from seeking a career in law enforcement. Already, CSPD and other departments are having difficulty in recruiting. We need to reach a balance between accountability and safety for our law enforcement officers, and do everything we can to restore the relationship of trust and confidence between law enforcement and the community. This is not an easy task and not one that can be accomplished by rhetoric from either side. Law enforcement wants to do its part. The community needs to support this effort.

  • What role does a vibrant and well-funded arts and cultural sector play in the overall vitality of our local/regional economy?

    This is a critical component of a thriving, high end economy. Interestingly enough, this is something of a “chicken and egg” situation. That is, a strong economy allows for investment in the arts and investment in the arts encourages growth and quality of life, which strengthens the local/regional economy. This investment should come largely from a strong private sector economy, both because the government should not be allowed to interfere in artistic content and because government is best when it limits its role to essential services. Government can, however, provide incentives for artistic and cultural investment by the private sector.

  • What, if anything, should be done to increase access to voting for all eligible voters?

    The reality is that both the State of Colorado and our own El Paso County Clerk and Recorder have done an excellent job of increasing access. The mail ballot system, along with optional in person voting service centers, has made access to voting for eligible voters quite open. Motor voter, online registration, registration by mail, and same day registration for in person voting, have made access as open as possible. In fact, with access as open as it is, the challenges are ballot security and integrity. With current technology and processes, these are reasonably protected, but without vigilance, ballot security

Electra Johnson (D)

  • Candidate Information

    Candidate Name: Electra Johnson District: Senate District 12 E-Mail: electra@saltworkshop.com Website: www.electelectra.com Phone NA Education: University of Colorado College of Architecture and Planning Masters in Architecture Masters in Urban Design. Colorado State University, College of Applied Human Sciences, Cum Laude Bachelor of Science Interior Design / Construction Management.  University Of Colorado- Boulder, Studio Arts Major

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    From bucking bales and irrigating fields as a kid, to years of work as a project manager, architectural, urban designer and party chair I am a team player, a bridge builder, a solution architect and a visionary. My experience ranges from large scale regional infrastructure planning, transportation planning, to working with teams of people to transform cities, communities and solve problems with extremely limited budgets as well as multi-million dollar long-term projects. My particular focus in planning has been resilience building for infrastructure, community building and advocating. My community design work focuses on the overlapping process and systems of community based regenerative infrastructure including; transit, sustainable building form, local sustainable agriculture, cogeneration, solar and wind energy, natural water treatment, civic infrastructure, local economic infrastructure, habitat and waterway restoration as well community restoration.  As a Colorado Senator, I would like to lead the state in planning and transitioning to a green

  • What are the two most pressing issues facing your district and how will you address them?

    Senate District 12 is the most varied and gerrymandered districts in El Paso County. It spans the west side of Colorado Springs from Upper Skyway down through Broadmoor Bluffs, where there is significant threat from wildfire, hail and from major climate change weather events across the wildland urban interface. The District continues through Fort Carson, along Academy and into Fountain and the Fountain Valley to Fontaine Boulevard and out past Big Johnson Reservoir and past Highway 21, (or Powers to the South end of Marksheffel Rd.- The issues in this part of the county are varied, from the poisoning of the aquifer and water supply in Fountain by PFAS, to the need for local economic growth to support for local troops and families. The District goes North along Powers up to Stetson Hills. This area is growing at a huge rate, while the housing stock is increasing. Growth is an

  • What should the state's budget priorities be and how will you fund those priorities?

    Education , Infrastructure and Climate change resilience need to be at the top of the budget. Education right now during covid is putting our country and our state further and further behind. Our infrastructure needs to include local foods, local jobs and our forests and watersheds as well as our transportation corridors and water supplies. We need to invest in local business. We have no build in resilience in our system. We need to repeal both Gallagher and Tabor and use that money to fund education and infrastructure. We also need to use the tax from marijuana money to fund those

  • What is the role of the state in the provision of affordable and universally designed housing?

    We pay less in the long run when we provide affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations. Instead of using emergency medicine and dumping our most vulnerable on the streets. When we provide a continuum of care including affordable housing we pay less in the long run. The issues of affordable housing, public housing and homelessness are inextricably linked.  We clearly have a housing crisis right now in El Paso County.  The development of at least 2 integrated, dignified, micro industry and permaculture based tiny home villages or legalized but developed campgrounds with low barrier beds would begin to alleviate some of the issues around homelessness.  We must increase the quantity of well-designed, high quality, mixed income, mixed use developments that are built.  This could be done by with incentive zoning, adaptive reuse, brownfield redevelopment, infil development, live work units, public private partnerships, transit supportive development and urban infil.  The

  • Are you in favor of the Colorado legislature adopting legislation that gives businesses the right to refuse service of customers when such service conflicts with the business owner’s religious beliefs?

    In a word. No.

  • What will you do to bolster systems and increase access to essential services for traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    Our 2 most pressing issues are 1) Diversifying our Economy and 2) Protecting our Natural Resources.  By enhancing our economy with 21st Century sustainable, regenerative clean energy solutions, transit options, a development climate that prioritizes local business including decisions encouraging smart growth and infill development we solve both issues. By capitalizing on our investments in our local economy we can transform El Paso County into a center of innovation & engineering focusing on primary jobs development for graduates from UCCS, CC, PPCC, AFA & our veterans allowing them to stay in our community because they can support a family, a

  • What changes should the state make to law enforcement funding or law?

    The state should focus police less on traffic and misdemeanor cases. It need to focus on restorative justice and working with repeat offenders. Police need to patrol the areas that they live. We have too many police, too many police agencies, from the sheriffs office to local police departments. Get rid of local police in smaller counties and rely on the Sheriff to do the job, like they have done in many counties in Colorado including Huerfano county, where I am from.

  • What role does a vibrant and well-funded arts and cultural sector play in the overall vitality of our local/regional economy?

    My husband is an artist and as an active member of the local cultural arts scene, the impact is enormous, from providing something for teenagers to do with afterschool programs to building and creating community, the arts are what make our cities worth living in. By making the arts available to the entire community, connections are made and we find our humanity in the arts. The arts can be used to heal painful divides and bring people and groups together, which we need now more than ever. They also bolster and build our local economy, because people participate in the

  • What, if anything, should be done to increase access to voting for all eligible voters?

    Election day should be a national holiday. It should be a requirement that you vote, which would eliminate the two party system and enable more engagement. All voting should be done by mail and there should be work arounds for people who are homebound to vote as well. The voting age should be lowered. Attacks on voting and on the US postal Service to guarantee the receipt of ballots should be illegal.

Zechariah Harris (L)

  • Candidate chose not to participate in survey.