The Chaffee County Indivisible group brought together what organizer Irv Broudy termed “four strong women” on Sept. 18, all running for election or reelection to county, state and federal legislative offices representing Colorado. A crowd of more than 100 applauded them and their messages focusing on community values during the event at A Church in Salida.
“My name is Stephanie Rose Spaulding, and I’m running to represent you in Congress,” said Spaulding, running as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congresswoman for Colorado District 5. “The reality is that this movement in history binds us together. We’re at a crossroads in our nation. This is a blue wave, but it will also be pink.”
Spaulding is one of four women running for elected leadership positions who appeared at the event. Also speaking were Kimberly Parker, Democratic candidate for Chaffee County commissioner; Erin Kelley, Democratic candidate for Colorado House of Representatives District 60; and Kerry Donovan, Democrat, who is running for reelection as state senator for Colorado District 5. The four echoed similar themes focused on education, healthcare, protection of public lands and the environment as well as concerns about rural access to broadband communications.
For Parker, a victim’s advocate for the Alliance Against Domestic Abuse, the run for office is a continuation of a life overcoming great odds. “The heart and soul of me is to give back to my community. Community is precious here, where neighbors and friends are family. I left a career in high tech when I moved to Salida and transitioned into human rights work. My priority is multi-generational – housing, daycare, services for seniors. I will work as hard as I can to make sure you are heard.”
Kelley, who cut her legislative teeth in the Florida legislative environment, is making a bid to represent a district that covers Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties. She says her focus is on people instead of politics or profits. “Corporations have already gotten so much from all of us. My focus is 100 percent on working families and all age groups. And we need to pay attention to our educational system – why don’t we take care of the people taking care of our children?”
Colorado Sen. Kerry Donovan is a combination of rural rancher and legislative savvy. Her record in the state legislature includes sponsoring legislation that would expand rural broadband and rural access to healthcare, including a tele-health measure that would bring healthcare to all areas of Colorado.
“When you serve seven counties and your geographic area is bigger than the state of New Jersey, you cover a lot of ground,” said Donovan. “Most of you know that I’m a fighter trying to protect our public lands and our watersheds from being sold off to corporate business. My number-one issue is healthcare. I’ve spent four years fighting party politics. Recently, the bill I’ve been fighting for is a reinsurance pool that would spread the risk for insurance companies that would lower all our insurance costs.”
“Every position on this ballot is about who we want to be as a community,” said Spaulding, who grew up on the south side of Chicago before becoming a tenured associate professor of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Colorado Springs.
“Are we going to support medicare for all? Are we for affordable education and access to technology and safety over violence? Can we protect our environment and public lands from those who would exploit them?” asked Spaulding. “People said to me, ‘Do you know how hard this is going to be – do you know where you are?’ Well, I say I know exactly where I am. This election will show whether we’re as diverse and inclusive as I think we can be.”
The Colorado general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voter registration information can be updated anytime by going to GoVoteColorado.com.