Colorado Working Families Party endorses ballot measures and candidates

Colorado Working Families Party has endorsed a slate of ballot measures to fund education, mandate safer setbacks for oil drilling, create fair legislative districts, remove slavery from our state constitution, and other policies that will move working families forward. COWFP State Committee members voted to support these measures at their first-ever Annual Meeting. The endorsed ballot questions include Amendment 73 (education), Proposition 112 (oil drilling setbacks), and a number of other measures (below) that will make it easier to vote and participate in the decisions that affect our communities.

The State Committee also approved a final round of candidate endorsements, including the re-election efforts of Reps. Mike Weissman and Jonathan Singer, the first-time candidacies of Lisa Culpepper for Adams County Treasurer, Guinn Unger for Senate District 6 (SW Colorado), and Sydney Ludwick for Douglas County Coroner, and a slate of progressive candidates for RTD Board: Shontel Lewis (District B), Julia Stewart (District C), and Paul Solano (District K).

“Colorado Working Families Party is becoming a standard bearer for progressive candidates and policies.  This set of ballot measure endorsements draws a clear line between the corporate interests of the wealthiest and working people,” said Carlos Valverde, state director of Colorado Working Families Party. “With all the issues put before voters in November, we want to be sure voters know how these ballot measures will affect students, families, and the state overall.”

Colorado Working Families Party has endorsed the YES position on the following measures:

Amendment 73 would generate $1.6 billion statewide for PreK-12 public education by increasing income taxes for people earning above $150,000 per year, moving Colorado close to the national average for per pupil spending. This funding is desperately needed to address teacher shortages and avoid continued moves to four-day school weeks.

Proposition 112 (Oil Drilling Setbacks) would mandate that new oil and gas development, including fracking, be a minimum distance of 2,500 feet from buildings and other areas designated as vulnerable, including schools, public outdoor spaces, and water sources.

Amendment V would lower the age to serve in the Colorado General Assembly from 25 to 21.

Amendment W is a common-sense measure which shortens and declutters ballot language about retaining judges. Shortening the ballot could reduce voter drop-off in down-ballot races.

Amendment X would remove the definition of industrial hemp from the Colorado Constitution and requires that industrial hemp have the same definition as in federal law. It  is a noncontroversial measure that could help Colorado farmers if and when anticipated federal changes to the definition of industrial hemp are enacted.

Amendments Y & Z are efforts to decrease gerrymandering and partisanship in the redistricting process by creating two independent bipartisan redistricting commissions for congressional and state legislative districts. The aim is move the work of redistricting from parties who will gain or lose in the process and put it instead in the hands of independent bodies to create fair districts that accurately reflect Colorado’s population.

Amendment A would amend the state constitution to repeal an exception to the ban of slavery which allows the inhumane practice if used for the punishment of a crime.

Proposition 111 (Payday Lending Reform) would close the loophole that allows payday lenders to charge more than 200% interest and requires payday lenders to abide by the same interest rate rules and fees as all other lenders and banks in Colorado.

Denver Referred Question 2E (Campaign Finance Reform) would lower campaign contribution limits in Denver elections to be in line with state limits, ban corporations from contributing directly to candidates, and create a 9-to-1 small donor matching fund (Fair Elections Fund).

Colorado Working Families Party has endorsed the NO position on the following measures:

Amendment 74 would require the government to use taxpayer funds to compensate private property owners for virtually any decrease whatsoever in the fair market value of their property traceable to any government law or regulation. Similar measures enacted in other places have had immense negative unintended consequences which undermine civil rights, environmental, and worker protection laws and regulations.

Amendment 75 is a deceptive measure which masquerades as campaign finance reform, but in actuality would increase the influence of those who have the ability to write large checks to candidates in Colorado elections.

Proposition 109 is a poorly written measure that would allow the state’s underfunded priorities, like education and healthcare, to be robbed to fund transportation. Further, this measure specifies that these funds cannot be used for mass transit, which is not in keeping with modern transportation needs or goals.

Proposition 110 would increase the state’s sales tax rate from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent to fund transportation projects like highways, roads, and transit. We agree that Colorado needs transportation funding and that this measure is better than Prop 109, but this sales tax increase is regressive, disproportionately affecting working class and low-income people.