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|July 17-23, 2008
Back to Letters
Vote Polis, Carlisle
by Pamela White
Without a doubt, Boulder is the most progressive city in the state of Colorado and one of the most progressive in the nation. It’s not surprising, then, that the people we elect tend to be not just Democrats, but progressive Democrats. And, yes, there is a difference.
Given this irrefutable fact, it’s also not surprising that, when two (or more) Democrats run for political office in districts that include Boulder, we see candidates trying to lay claim to the descriptor “progressive” for themselves.
This week, voting started for the primary. Voters will decide who runs on the Democratic ticket for both the 2nd Congressional District and for State Senate District 18, Ron Tupa’s former seat. Because hell will freeze over long before a Republican wins either of these races — no Republican has stepped forward in the District 18 race — the candidate who wins the primary wins the election.
In other words, it’s important to vote in the primary, and it’s important to make the right choice if you want things to change in Washington, D.C.
To help you cut through the campaign blather, I offer the following considerations:
In what is arguably the most contentious race in the state, Jared Polis comes out far ahead of his opponents, Joan Fitz-Gerald, an establishment Democrat, and Will Shafroth, a well-known environmentalist.
The three candidates hold similar positions on a range of issues. All three want the war in Iraq brought to a quick end (contrary to what Fitz-Gerald’s campaign wants you to believe). All three want Congress to do more to protect the environment and address global warming. All three would fight to protect gay rights and women’s rights and our civil rights.
So what’s different about Polis?
He will do these things effectively.
Polis is a man who makes things happen, not a man who talks a mean streak but can’t deliver. From the time he was a teenager trading in scrap iron and taking classes at Princeton, he’s demonstrated a singular ability to analyze a situation, spy a problem or an opportunity — and then do something meaningful about it.
Perhaps the best example of this is the advance planning he’s already done to end the war in Iraq and bring U.S. troops home as quickly and safely as possible. After visiting Iraq and assessing the situation himself, he helped create a proposal that ought to be required reading for every American. Titled “The Responsible Plan,” the 32-page document outlines exactly what needs to happen to end the war without risking more American or Iraqi lives and provides not only for an end to the conflict, but also addresses the needs of returning soldiers and the thorny problem of corporations that either overcharged the U.S. government or failed to fulfill their contracts. (That’s called war profiteering, and it used to be a crime.)
“The Responsible Plan” is the result of his involvement with other Congressional candidates who know they’ll have to work as a bloc in order to get attention for this agenda as incoming freshmen lawmakers.
So not only does Polis support an end to the war, he has the entire process outlined, focusing not only on the war itself but the consequences of our actions in Iraq. And he’s already networking with other candidates in order to have the numbers necessary to push this plan into action the moment he reaches Washington.
This is typical of his approach to complicated issues. He doesn’t just wave the progressive banner; he figures out how to carry it forward.
“It’s not enough to believe in doing what’s right,” he told Boulder Weekly in a recent interview. “You have to do something about it.”
If you want to replace the sense of gloom that seems to be a part of America’s post-Bush landscape with a sense of hope, read his position papers on his website. They outline bold plans of action on a range of issues. In those documents, Polis describes how Congress could lower gas prices; promote green energy; make quality child care affordable for working families; end abusive credit card and lending practices; make college tuition affordable for all Americans; replace our current failing health-care system with a universal single-payer system; and get the money out of politics by shifting to public financing of campaigns.
These are all change I’ve been waiting — it seems like forever — for the United States government to enact, and I feel confident that Congress will be forced to address them if Polis takes Rep. Mark Udall’s seat.
Polis is quite clearly the true progressive choice and the candidate best able to instigate real change in Congress. Go to www.polisforcongress.com.
The Board of Regents, perhaps more than any political body in the state, is an old boys’ club. Rather than acting as the taxpayers’ eyes and ears and helping to guide the University of Colorado’s four-campus system, the Regents too often act as CU’s public-relations arm.
Jim Martin discovered how tough it was to go against Board Think when he served as Regent-at-Large for the state. His efforts to increase accountability in CU’s central administration were met with hostility and ostracism — as if trying to make the university a better place were somehow a bad thing.
Cindy Carlisle followed in Martin’s footsteps, unafraid to be the voice of dissent when all the other bobble-heads were nodding. Her principled stands on controversial issues — such as former head football coach Gary Barnett’s buy-out agreement and the strange fashion in which university President Bruce Benson was hired — earned her the respect of the university’s faculty, staff and students and the animosity of CU’s yes-men.
Recently, the media made a big deal out of the fact that people who worked with her on the Board of Regents are voting against her. Heck, that right there ought to serve as a solid-gold reason to vote for her.
Carlisle will bring the same ethical, courageous approach to the State Senate that she demonstrated while serving on the Board of Regents.
It’s going to take someone with strong ideals and a political conscience to fill Ron Tupa’s shoes, someone who is a true progressive. Cindy Carlisle is that person. Go to www.cindycarlisle.com.
Vote Polis and Carlisle.
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