State House District 17

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Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

Thomas “Tony” Exum Sr. (D)

  • Contact Information

    E-Mail: tony@tonyexum.com Website: tonyexum.com Phone:719-661-4910

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    I have lived and worked in my district for many years, and served the area as a firefighter for decades. I grew up going to Colorado Springs public schools, and I raised my sons in the area. As a resident, a civil servant, and a legislator, I share the daily experiences of my friends and neighbors in District 17. During the two years I spent in the legislator, I was able to take my own experiences—and the concerns of my friends, family, and constituents—and translate them into practical legislation that made a meaningful difference in the district. If elected again, I will continue listening, and I will continue fighting for my district.

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

    From talking to my friends and neighbors at doors in the district, it seems that most people agree that jobs and education are the two main issues facing the neighborhood. Over the last few decades, many major employers—along with the majority of city services—have moved out of the south end of town, often relocating as far as twenty miles north. Additionally, the school district that comprises most of the district falls below state averages in almost every category, despite the efforts of the caring and talented staff. The hardworking people of District 17 deserve access to better employment opportunities, and better schools for their children. By working together, I know the legislature can achieve these goals.

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

    Budget issues in Colorado are more complicated than in most states because of TABOR. Despite the difficulties that it presents, TABOR is the will of the voters, and the legislature needs to work within those constraints until the law is amended. Education should be the state’s main funding priority, because it’s the key to growing a vibrant workforce and ensuring that our kids have the tools necessary for a bright future. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to funding, but previous legislatures have been able to fund initiatives through a combination of general fund money and fee rescheduling.

  • 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. The Civil Rights Act made it clear that when a business is open to the public, it is open to the entire public. Cultural and social norms are changing—which is a constant process—but one thing that should never change is our belief in inclusion. Ministries already have the important protections that they need, and I don’t think that it would be fair to the majority of the population to extend those protections to a small group of businesses in such a way as to allow them to discriminate against patrons.

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

    There is a natural instinct in politics to focus solely on economic and social issues. However, I believe that it is important to focus on the hearts and minds of the people of Colorado as well. Art has been shown to have a beneficial impact on community adhesiveness, crime reduction, and the ability of children to learn new things. In a state with as much natural beauty as Colorado, I believe that we should cultivate as much artistic and cultural beauty as possible, to ensure that Colorado remains, in every way, the most beautiful state in America.

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

    I’m incredibly proud of having worked on the legislation that created Colorado’s mail-in ballot system during my first term. I believe that voting, our sacred franchise, should be made as easy as possible for all eligible voters, and mail-in ballots were a big step in making that a reality. Going forward, I think that we should explore options for making voter registration easier and more accessible. When more voices are heard, we are stronger as a community.

  • Do you think it should be more difficult to amend the Colorado Constitution? Why or why not?

    The power that Colorado voters have to amend our own state Constitution is an incredibly important part of the state’s political process. However, I think we could see positive results to raising the threshold that these initiatives must reach in order to be included on the ballot. When ballots feature 10-15 initiatives, it’s difficult for any single measure to receive the attention and consideration that it deserves, regardless of how important it is.

  • Do you support allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary process? Why or why not?

    I am undecided on the issue of open primaries. Since this is, fundamentally, an issue of great importance to our political process, I believe that we should abide by whatever the voters decide at the polls this November. I can understand both sides of the issue. On one hand, primaries are private Party functions and opening them to everyone could make them susceptible to untoward influences. On the other hand, I believe that everyone should have a say in the nominating process. Ultimately, this is a question for the voters of Colorado, and we must respect their choice.

  • How will you work to bolster systems that serve traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    Living in and serving a traditionally underrepresented community, I understand the importance of bolstering these systems. At a basic level, I believe that the legislature can take great strides towards creating or strengthening these programs through a series of subsidies and tax incentives. When businesses only go where the money is, the areas with less money end up deprived of essential services. In a state as prosperous as Colorado, we should not allow that to remain the status quo.

  • Personal Information

    Education: Bachelor’s Degree Occupation: Retired Firefighter

Kit Roupe (R)

  • Contact Information

    E-Mail: kitroupeforhd17@gmail.com Website: www.catherineroupe.com Phone: 719-238-4656

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    I’ve served these past two years as the current state representative, voting as the District wants me to vote. I serve on the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee and the House Finance Committee. I’m a veteran, a single mom, and a small business owner. I’ve focused on jobs, education, public safety, and transportation. I’ve a Masters in Public Administration and many years serving on local boards and commissions, which help me understand our community issues and demonstrate my leadership capabilities. These boards included School District 11 DAAC, CSPD Citizens Advisory Committee, Global Village Charter School Board, PPACG Citizens Advisory Committee, PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee, and the 4th Judicial Dist. Judicial Performance Review Commission.

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

    Affordable child care and education. We have new jobs already here or that are coming to our district, some with second and third shifts. Families may need options for child care and Colorado is among the most expensive states in the nation. I’ve already begun to reach out to stakeholders to sort through why it is so expensive and to start looking for solutions. It’s a sad society that makes parents choose between losing their job or leaving their children at risk at home. Education is also important, making certain our work force has the skills employers need. I already voted for several bills that address this very issue. I will continue to work with employers, educators The contact information below will be included in the voter guide publication. Candidate Name: ______Kit Roupé_________________ Office/District: ____District 17____________________________ E-Mail: ___kitroupeforhd17@gmail.com____________________ Website: ___www.catherineroupe.com_____________________ Phone: ____719-238-4656_______________________________ Education: __MPA, 2013, UCCS; BSBA, 1988, UCCS____________ Occupation: ___Legislator and small business owner__________ Preferred method of contact for questions regarding your survey responses and, if applicable, additional contact information not to be published in the voter guide: ______________________________________________________ __ and our citizens to make it easier for our citizens to find good paying jobs and take care of their families. This is a top priority for me and our community.

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

    It’s an imperative - focusing on Medicaid expansion. The past two years our Medicaid match has outgrown what we have budgeted and directly impacted our budget for roadway infrastructure and education funding. A small bi-partisan group of legislators agree to work on this issue right after the election, including me. I’ve also agreed to reintroduce HB16-1212, which suggested a different way to handle this problem. The goal is to reduce the Medicaid pressure on the budget items, allowing us to fund education and infrastructure. Additionally, I did vote for the Hospital Provider Fee and I may do it again.

  • 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. They already have this right under the Constitution. I don’t think it is a smart business practice to refuse customers, but then that too is their right to make their own business decisions.

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

    Huge importance. Expression has so many positive attributes through the arts, and these, together, show our community’s character, creativity, and sense of innovation. Showing off in our arts and culture sector makes our town a place people want to live. I voted for the UCCS Performing Arts Center project that is underway, that’s how important it is. We have an unexplored future and I’m excited to see it unfold. Respect for our history and our past is also important, showing where we’ve come from and how we connect to this beautiful region.

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

    One group I’m aware of with such difficulty is our military citizens overseas. We’ve discussed changing the last date for items to be finalized on the ballot to allow more time for mailing the ballot. Create an ombudsman for citizens with disabilities. Citizens with disabilities often face challenges voting, including transportation to the post office, or the ability to review the ballot, like the visually impaired or a reading disability. Expand non-partisan, education groups’ access to low income folks working a number of jobs. They may not have access to a computer so they can research information only available on-line.

  • Do you think it should be more difficult to amend the Colorado Constitution? Why or why not?

    Yes, I do for the reasons we have Amendment 71 on the ballot. The process should be fairer to all Coloradans, not just a few to decide what is on the ballot.

  • Do you support allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary process? Why or why not?

    Yes, if they affiliate with a party at the time of their vote. Those with a party affiliation have vested a great deal of energy in the party’s voice, platform, core issues, and candidate selection. Unaffiliated citizens are not vested in this process. I’d like the unaffiliated voter to pick the party they wish to cast their vote for. They can pick a general election candidate selection just as the parties do now. To have it open to both parties defeats the core purpose to a primary and undermines the parties’ processes taken to get to the primary ballot.

  • How will you work to bolster systems that serve traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    Widen I-25 and alternate modes of transportation between Colorado Springs and Denver. Ideally rail but more likely expand the Bustang system. Within Colorado Springs, we’ve advocated for better service in HD 17 and we’ve seen some service expanded. It’s a good start. In health care, addressing provider reimbursement is critical and I will reintroduce HB16-1212. New health care organizations allow for more direct patient-doctor care, making them also more affordable and accessible. I encourage innovation. I’d like to incentivize school districts to make vocational training more mainstream. Many children flourish in vocational training after having failed at traditional school models.

  • Personal Information

    Education: MPA, 2013, UCCS; BSBA, 1988, UCCS Occupation: Legislator and small business owner

Susan Quilleash (L)

  • Contact Information

    E-Mail: susanquilleash@gmail.com Website: none Phone: 719-271-5822

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    I have been voting in Colorado for 44 years, in District 17 for 43 of them. I have been serving the people of Colorado for most of that time first as a soldier, then as a teacher. I have been on many charitable organization’s boards, and this is my third run for the house.

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

    Jobs and cost of living. Reducing the regulations that are hamstringing local businesses will help considerably with both these areas. Offering incentives to foreign (based outside of Colorado) businesses to hire local personnel will help with jobs. Letting the business determine the pay will open jobs and reduce prices, this is a way of asking a repudiation of minimum wage regulations (although the foreigners should pay a living wage for Colorado, not for wherever they are from).

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

    Open space and fire prevention and control should be a first priority. Clean water is just as important. Fining polluters and despoilers will go a long way towards paying for these services. Property taxes should pay only for roads, police, and property protection. Sales taxes are the way to pay for education, although charitable donations to the schools and libraries should also be encouraged. The government should only be concerned with protection of the citizens, anything else is coercion.

  • 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?

    I am a firm believer in individual choice. The government dictating how a business will conduct its business is extortion. That said I would not like to be refused service because of who I am. But any business that does refuse service to a portion of the consumer population will most likely not profit, and subsequently go out of business. Let the economy correct those who are ignorant.

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

    I can’t point to any kind of evidence, other than my gut feeling, which a strong cultural sector plays in the increase of the economics of any one community, but it does. I personally support, or have when I had more money, The PPLD, The Colorado Springs Symphony, Theaterworks, Smokebrush Theater, the Fine Arts Center of CC and some individual artists, and would encourage everyone to support these and other art venues. When I was growing up here we seemed to have a more vibrant art community and it added to the City itself growing.

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

    The current systems of voter registration online, at the DMV, and with public registrars on the street corner appears to be working well, and I can’t think of anything more than can be done in that direction. The mail-in ballots have gone a long way towards accommodating the differently-abled but I would prefer that the ballot locations go back to the schools and leave the churches alone, not everyone is Lutheran, or even Christian, and don’t really want to go into such buildings, even when the proselytizing posters are covered or remove. With that exception let’s stay with what works.

  • Do you think it should be more difficult to amend the Colorado Constitution? Why or why not?

    Yes, it should be more difficult. Having seventy plus amendments to an already over-large document is ridiculous. Many of these easily amended articles are contradictory. Many more should have been straight legislation, having them as an amendment makes their provisions permanent even as we get older and they become outdated.

  • Do you support allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary process? Why or why not?

    The party system has become a personality contest. We appear to be voting for the prom king rather than the best person to govern. The primary system just feeds this contest. Many voters have become unaffiliated because of their disgust with the party system. Opening party primaries to the unaffiliated might allow the seemingly disenfranchised a stronger vote.

  • How will you work to bolster systems that serve traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, including public transportation, health care, and job training programs?

    Here in Colorado Springs, the sale of the bus system to an outside business has taken the concerns concern for its community away, reducing the service of those who really need it. The move of county offices northwest out of the downtown areas has reduced the help that can be given. There are those that talk of the bus stopping at the new offices, but the people who need the most help can’t afford the bus, they used to be able to walk to the office. I will work on getting these services more centrally, and locally situated.

  • Personal Information

    Education: BA from UCCS, just short of a MEd from USouthWest Occupation: retired Soldier 22 years US Army, retired Teacher 19 years Colorado Secondary Schools, Writer