As Dale Hall steps down from House District 48 due to term limits, two candidates vie for his seat in the Colorado Legislature.
Michael Dugan, a Greeley Democrat, first ran for the seat in 2004. He is running again, he said, because there is a need for someone who will act upon the the issues facing House District 48, which encompasses Dacono, Erie, Firestone, Frederick, Mead and Platteville.
Though Dugan hasn’t ever been elected to a public office, he said he is not new to politics and has worked on campaigns for former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.
“I have the interest of the working families at heart, (where as) my opponent seems to believe that as long as somebody’s making a profit, that’s good,” Dugan said.
Glenn Vaad, a Republican from Mead, has served as a Weld County commissioner for two terms and is being forced out by term limits.
Vaad said he wants to head to the Legislature and represent local issues in an effort to repay southwest Weld County for its support over the years.
“I’m keeping count of what I owe. Somebody needs to take care of a huge debt,” he said.
Public education is among both candidates’ top priorities.
Dugan said he wants to address issues surrounding public education funding, including how money from Amendment 23 is being spent.
Passed in 2003, Amendment 23 mandates increasing the base level of per-student Public School Finance Act funding by inflation plus 1 percentage point each year through 2011.
According to Dugan, Weld County School District 6 hasn’t received Amendment 23 funding since the 2001, 2002 budget year.
Wayne Eads, chief operations officer for Weld County School District and Terry Buswell, director of finance for Weld County School District said the district has been receiving Amendment 23 money all along, including last year.
Vaad, who served on the St. Vrain school board from 1980 to 1989, said he is dedicated to public education but wants to examine what is asked of the state’s teachers and make sure those requirements don’t take away from their time with students.
“Public schools are going to do the largest part of educating our children. ... (I’ll do) whatever I can do to support public education,” Vaad said.
Aside from education, Dugan and Vaad have different priorities.
Dugan wants to come up with an immigration plan that removes incentives for illegal immigrants to come to the area in search of work.
“If you don’t have any bait on the hook, you don’t catch many fish,” he said.
Dugan also wants to make health care accessible for everyone.
“We have got to take care of the people health-wise in order to have a viable society,” he said.
Vaad said he wants to get assigned to the transportation committee in the statehouse to address declining transportation funds and help regional areas meet their transportation needs.
Vaad also believes workers should be trained in new technology to maintain a viable work force. He is working with area community colleges to create a program that would retrain employees at their work sites during breaks or after hours, instead of requiring employees to get training elsewhere.
Laurel Ann Henderson can be reached at 303-684-5334, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.