What do the candidates for governor of Colorado think about school funding and school choice? How would they address the achievement gap? And what educational choices did they make for their own children?
We put these questions and more to Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Walker Stapleton, the winners of their parties’ respective primaries last month.
Colorado voters who care about education will have distinct choices in November. The governor has a limited formal role in education policy, but his agenda can shape the legislative process – and limit what’s possible.
Polis, 43, is a five-term congressman from Boulder. An entrepreneur who took his parents’ greeting card company online, Polis went on to found several other internet companies. He previously served on the State Board of Education and founded two charter schools. Polis took 44 percent of the vote in a hard-fought primary in which education played a key role.
Stapleton, 44, is finishing his second term as state treasurer and previously served as the CEO or chief financial officer for a number of private companies. He took 48 percent of the vote in a four-way primary after cultivating the support of both hardliners like Tom Tancredo and members of the Republican establishment.
One of them will replace Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, who is prevented by term limits from running again. Democrats have controlled the governor’s office since 2007.
Here’s what the candidates had to say, in their own words.
These responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.