Chris Kolker is a former teacher and a current financial planner and small-business owner. He previously ran in 2018 for state representative in District 38 and came very close — under 400 votes — to flipping the seat. Kolker has called Arapahoe County home since 1999 and appears to be the kind of person who knows the struggles of everyday life for working families and how the increasing cost of living is making it worse.
Among Kolker’s top priorities: funding for Colorado schools, instituting more gun-safety laws, improving transportation quality, and taking action on human-caused climate change. He also is a strong proponent of social justice reform, particularly as to the legislature’s recent sweeping changes to law enforcement accountability, and said it’s “long past time for us to … dismantle systemic racism.” His platform and actions already have endorsers like the Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and several unions excited to see him in office, and quite frankly, we are too.
Kolker is the one progressives should give their support to in this race.
Vying for the seat on the Republican side is Suzanne Staiert. Staiert has some impressive experience: She is a former city prosecutor for Aurora, the former city attorney for Littleton, and a former deputy Secretary of State. And on issues like education and political integrity, she seems straightforward, if not practically moderate. Staiert wants to say she’s “practical, not political,” but scratch the surface a little, and you’ll find her partisanship coming through. She’s outspoken against reforming our national electoral system, which is clearly broken. She also is a strong supporter of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which is the primary cause for a number of our budget shortfalls and one of the reasons Colorado is falling behind on education. She definitely doesn’t hit the singingly progressive notes that Kolker does, and he could do more in the office.