LONGMONT — Two years ago, laid up after back surgery, Catherine Jarrett watched as Democrat Jack Pommer coasted to an unopposed victory in House District 11.
Jarrett, a Republican, vowed that when she got better, she’d challenge Pommer in 2006. And when this year’s election season rolled around, she stepped forward to make good on her promise.
“I would like to give the voters of House District 11 a choice of candidates and views,” Jarrett said in an interview.
In separate e-mail interviews, Pommer and Jarrett offer divergent views on how they see their role at the statehouse and the role of independent voters in the district, which covers portions of western Longmont.
Pommer, seeking his third and final term, will serve on the Legislature’s powerful money-managing Joint Budget Committee if re-elected.
“If things work out in the election, we’ll move more toward putting in place the education policies that have proven effective: early education for children who need it, small class sizes, specialized tutoring to make sure all students can read by fourth grade, dropout prevention and a smoother transition to higher ed,” Pommer said.
“The budget will be a big one. The Ref. C money is mostly gone, so we’re going to be back to trimming one budget if we have to increase another. Since I’m on the JBC now, I’ll be pretty involved in that.”
Jarrett is a newcomer to politics. A former teacher and founding board member of Twin Peaks Charter Academy, she believes strongly in parental choice. She also believes life begins at conception and that laws should protect fertilized eggs until “natural death.”
She also considers herself a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and of the rule of law. To date, her campaign has not reported receiving more than a few hundred dollars toward her election.
Pommer, by contrast, has enough money in the bank — several thousand at last report — that last year he hired a polling firm to help guide his campaign.
Jarrett says she has a chance in the district because it is dominated by independent voters, rather than partisans. However, the largely unknown Pommer won the seat in 2002 by narrowly besting the better-known former Longmont Mayor Leona Stoecker.
According to Colorado’s secretary of state, the district is split with 15,288 Republicans, 17,558 Democrats and 18,906 unenrolled voters.
The district covers the southern and western sections of Longmont and also includes portions of north Boulder.
“Over 70 percent of the voters in House District 11 live in a Longmont precinct. There is no Longmont resident in the House of Representatives at this time,” Jarrett said. “I believe that I can represent the interests of both cities and the residents of unincorporated Boulder County.”
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.