State House District 18


Responses were not edited for grammar, punctuation, or spelling and were truncated if they exceeded the specified word count.

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

Cameron Forth (R)

Pete Lee (D)

  • Contact Information

    E-Mail: Website: Phone: 719-460-2834

  • What are your qualifications for this position?

    As a bipartisan representative in this district for 6 years, I have successfully worked across the aisle to pass over 40 bills. My bills focus on growing our economy, enabling businesses to create good jobs, helping our veterans, and reforming our criminal justice system by promoting restorative justice. Before being elected to the State Legislature, I was a businessman, working for a Fortune 500 size corporation, Holly Sugar, a practicing lawyer helping small businesses to grow and practicing criminal defense. I have been committed to this community by serving on a dozen local non-profit boards.

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

    Economic growth and job creation are foundational to a thriving and sustainable community so my focus will continue to be on the economy, particularly its intersection with public education and job training. The two systems must be sufficiently connected so there is a bridge to both higher education and the high tech jobs, which are increasingly the norm. I will work to ensure that our focus on economic growth is committed to environmental protection and conservation and that we are pro-active in both respects. Reforming our criminal justice system to make it more restorative and less punitive and retributive will continue to be a priority. Restorative justice has proven effective in reducing recidivism, promoting individual responsibility, lowering costs and creating safer communities. In the criminal justice arena, I will be working on juvenile records expungement so our kids can fully participate in their communities.

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

    We need to fully support our public schools, expand funding to rebuild our roads and bridges, and improve access to health services, both physical and mental. Funding these services will be challenging but we must think creatively. Last year’s proposal to reclassify the Hospital Fee would direct hundreds of millions of dollars towards these priorities without raising taxes. I have supported these efforts in the past and will continue to support them in the future. Similarly, I support justice reinvestment initiatives in which money saved from data driven best practices is reinvested in strategies that decrease crime and strengthen neighborhoods.

  • 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 would vigorously oppose such legislation as a violation of the Colorado and US Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and non-discrimination. Such legislation would sanction private discrimination in a public accommodation in violation of a long line of constitutional decisions based on the Constitutions commence clause. It could justify segregated lunch counters and presage a return to the discredited Jim Crow laws.

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

    In his studies about economic vitality and urban dynamics, Richard Florida describes the importance of a vibrant arts community to attracting young professionals and the “creative class” who are critical to long-term economic development. According to a study by Americans for the Arts, the local nonprofit arts industry generates $72 million in economic activity annually, including 2,168 full-time equivalent jobs, $4.3 million in local government tax revenues and $2.2 million in state government tax revenues. The arts are an essential element of revitalization.

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

    I supported the 2013 Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act to make voting more accessible to all Coloradans. It authorizes same-day registration, mail in ballots be sent to all eligible voters, establishes local vote centers open ten days before elections so electors can vote at their convenience, and creates a real-time database and a paper record of every ballot to prevent fraud. To increase voter participation, the present option to register at the Motor Vehicle Division should be offered at the Division of Human Services and other government agencies. The registration should be automatic unless the voter affirmatively opts out.

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

    Our Constitution should be a sacred document of enduring principles and fundamental freedoms and setting forth the framework of government. However, because it is one of the easiest constitutions in the country to amend, Colorado’s Constitution has become a laboratory for special interests pursuing their own agendas. We have over 150 amendments while the national constitution has 27. Citizens should retain an absolute right to enact changes to governance. There is a statutory initiative process to do so. But the processes are the same. I believe it should be more difficult to amend the Constitution than to initiate a statute.

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

    Unaffiliated voters make up a third of Colorado’s electorate, and they are increasing. We should encourage their active civic participation in electoral politics. Therefore, I support a primary system that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the process, but I believe they should affiliate with a party in order to do so. If voters wish to help select a party’s candidate, they should join the party. Colorado has simplified the voter and party registration process so voters can affiliate or un-affiliate very easily.

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

    I recognize the need to expand access to public transportation, health care and job training for underrepresented communities in order for the state and our community to thrive and prosper. I have, and will continue to supported legislation to do so, including Medicaid expansion which reduced Colorado’s uninsured population from 14% to 8%, ensuring our transportation spending includes transit money and sponsoring bills to create paid apprentice and internships. Through my work with community non- profits such as the NAACP, Community Prep School and Pikes Peak Behavioral Health, I have stayed in touch the needs of the underserved communities.

  • Personal Information

    Education: Ohio Wesleyan University; Wharton School of Business; University of Akron School of Law Occupation: Retired Lawyer, small business owner, and corporate executive

Norman “Paotie” Dawson (L)

This year, all candidates were invited to submit a short video answering the question:

"What should voters know about you and your aspirations for office?"