Senate District 28: Political outsider taking on seasoned Dem

    260

    The race for the Senate District 28 will feature two very different candidates, both in terms of policy and experience. Aside from the obvious party affiliation divide, incumbent Democratic state Sen. Nancy Todd has about a decade’s worth more experience than her opponent, businessman and former Army infantryman, James Woodley. Todd first showed up on the Colorado politics scene in 2004, when she was elected to represent House District 41 — a position she held onto for three terms before running for, and winning, the Senate District 28 seat. The House District 41 seat she vacated in 2012 was taken over by her husband, Terry, who won a three-party race to keep the seat in the family, and in the party. On the flip side, in a familiar vein for this election, Woodley — an Aurora businessman with no prior political experience but a focus on promoting business and jobs through deregulation — considers himself a political outsider.

    [srp display_thumbnail=”no” widget_title=”Recent Secretary of State Race News” widget_title_hide=”no” post_limit=”5″ post_content_type=”excerpt” post_content_mode=”titleonly” post_date=”no” post_author_url=”no” category_title=”no” post_category_link=”yes” category_include=”15105″]

    [wc_accordion collapse=”1″ leaveopen=”0″ layout=”box”] [wc_accordion_section title=”About the Race“]

    By RACHEL SAPIN, Staff writer

    Political outsider taking on seasoned Dem for Senate District 28

    Incumbent Nancy Todd, a seasoned  Democratic state lawmaker, will face off against Republican challenger James Woodley for Aurora’s Senate District 28 seat.

    Nancy Todd
    Nancy Todd

    If re-elected to the state Senate, Todd said she would like to see voters decide whether they want to see more state money invested in the infrastructure of Colorado roads.

    “The increase of gas taxes some of our neighboring states passed is only a partial solution,” she said.  “We need to educate voters and help them recognize the immediate value to their region as well as statewide for the investment in economic vitality.”

    During her eight years in the House and four years in the Senate, Todd has focused on legislation surrounding education —pre-school through college— as well as health care, election and veterans issues. Todd spent 25 years teaching with the Cherry Creek School District before becoming a state lawmaker.

    James Woodley
    James Woodley

    This year, Todd  co-sponsored and passed a bill  intended to attract teachers to rural school districts by providing stipends for teachers in those regions and creating teacher training programs for current high school students in rural Colorado.

    “I believe broadening the skills assessed would help provide greater evidence for student success and career preparation and help the individual student know what areas of achievement they need to improve in for moving on to the next level,” she said.

    Todd received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Kansas in 1970 and a master’s in reading from the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. 

    Woodley said the state should pay for expanding and improving state roads by moving forward with a Republican plan to use $3.5 billion in bonds for highway project funding.

    “I’d like to examine if CDOT’s budget is first being properly prioritized before we discuss additional taxes,” Woodley added.

    That plan was voted down by Democrats this year, who instead wanted to use a Medicaid fund, paid in part by Colorado hospitals to care for the needy, and transfer it outside the tax-and-spend strictures called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

    Siding with Republican party lines, Woodley also said fracking, as it relates to local control, should remain under the state’s purview.

    “Counties and municipalities already control zoning. The state should maintain control of regulations regarding production practices of our natural resources including fracking to maintain uniformity,” Woodley said.

    Rather than passing control along to cities and counties, Todd said there should be a forum for cities and counties to talk about issues they are having with the industry.

    Woodley, who served in the U.S. Army Infantry, said state lawmakers should repeal gun laws passed in 2013 that now require universal background checks and ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

    “Instead of reactive legislation, we need to study the cause of gun-crimes and address mental health issues,” Woodley said. “Mental health needs to be one of our top priorities. Without doing this, gun control legislation will continue to fall short of being effective.”

    Todd said she supports those laws, and said they are working.

    Woodley said student achievement in Colorado is negatively impacted by participating in the multi-state Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC tests, and the state should withdraw from the organization.

    “PARCC is bad for Colorado,” he said. “It has caused increased stress on our students by creating over testing, it has handcuffed our teachers from teaching to the needs of our children, and has led to Common Core curriculums which in turn have lowered our educational standards and punishes the majority of students which are neither in the top nor bottom percentiles. Colorado should instead reduce testing, adopt the ACT Aspire Exam for third-through-eighth grades, and the ACT test for high school.”

    The state recently elected to move to the SAT system next year.

    Woodley served as director for a national marketing firm and post commander for the American Legion. He now works as a minister.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”James Woodley’s biography“]

    Woodley — an Aurora businessman with no prior political experience but a focus on promoting business and jobs through deregulation — considers himself a political outsider.

    Woodley served in the U.S. Army Infantry, and later worked as a director for a national marketing firm and post commander for the American Legion. He now works as a minister.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Nancy Todd’s biography“]

    During her eight years in the House and four years in the Senate, Todd has focused on legislation surrounding education —pre-school through college— as well as health care, election and veterans issues. Todd spent 25 years teaching with the Cherry Creek School District before becoming a state lawmaker.

    Todd first showed up on the Colorado politics scene in 2004, when she was elected to represent House District 41 — a position she held onto for three terms before running for, and winning, the Senate District 28 seat.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”James Woodley’s issue questions and responses“]

    Would you vote to end capital punishment in Colorado? Yes. To end the life of just one innocent person is a travesty that must be avoided at all costs. The only way to guarantee this doesn’t happen is by ending capital punishment.

    How should the state pay for substantial expansion of state roads? The Republicans put forward a $3.5 billion plan (State Bill 16-210) last session that would have allowed additional transportation infrastructure without increasing taxes to improve state roads by issuing TRANS bonds. While I would in general support this plan, my opponent and her party voted it down. I’d like to examine if CDOT’s budget is first being properly prioritized before we discuss additional taxes.

    Should the state cede some local control of fracking to counties and municipalities? How much? Counties and municipalities already control zoning. The state should maintain control of regulations regarding production practices of our natural resources including fracking to maintain uniformity.

    Should Colorado repeal gun-control laws from 2013? Commonsense gun control and safety is important, however the “feel good” laws passed in 2013 are ineffective, only limit law abiding gun owners, and should be repealed. Instead of reactive legislation we need to study the cause of gun-crimes and address mental health issues. Mental health needs to be one of our top priorities. Without doing this, gun control legislation will continue to fall short of being effective.

    Would you support a bill to ban red-light traffic cameras? Yes. A law enforcement officer should be present to witness an infraction and to issue a citation.

    Would you support a measure to ask voters to re-write the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to require a vote on tax increases, but to remove all other state budget restrictions? No. TABOR’s state budget restrictions worked during the Great Recession to keep Colorado out of trouble, and while it may be a nuisance during times of plenty we must always prepare for times of want.

    Should a revised presidential primary system allow for non-affiliated voters to vote for party candidates? No. Party’s exist to bring together like minded people to nominate candidates that best represent them. No one is excluded from voting in primaries. An unaffiliated voter can simply register for a party on the same day. Colorado has a simple and easy process to register.

    Will you vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or someone else? I wasn’t a supporter of Mr. Trump in the primaries. I have strong disagreements with him; but I have deeper concerns over Secretary Clinton’s dishonesty, failures as secretary of state, and her blatant disregard for the lives of our veterans. This election I’m focusing on my race and the needs of my Senate District.

    Should the state prevent counties, schools and municipalities from barring transgender people from using restrooms and locker rooms for sexes other than what appears on their birth certificates? Society is moving quickly on this and before we make changes we need to look at what other social impacts there may be. We need to be sure that in our rush to protect one group’s rights we aren’t infringing on the rights others. I believe it is imperative that we discuss the issue with educators, social workers and the LGBT community. Progress may be slow for a time but it cannot be stopped and I know we will find the right solution.

    What one thing, above all, would you ask fellow lawmakers to do or change to increase student performance on standardized tests? The greatest thing we can do for students in Colorado and increase student performance on standardized tests is to immediately withdraw from the PARCC consortium. PARCC is bad for Colorado. It has caused increased stress on our students by creating over-testing, it has handcuffed our teachers from teaching to the needs of our children, and has led to Common Core curriculums which in turn have lowered our educational standards and punishes the majority of students, which are neither in the top nor bottom percentiles. Colorado should instead reduce testing, adopt the ACT Aspire Exam for third-through-eighth grades and the ACT test for high school. Moving to this plan would not only increase student performance, but will save the State money, better prepare our students for college and the workforce, and make happier children.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Nancy Todd’s issue questions and responses “]

    Would you vote to end capital punishment in Colorado? Arguments for abolishing capitol punishment are: evidence shows no decrease in crimes, not implemented for most heinous crimes committed recently, high costs spent on appeals and legal fees over many years of litigation. As long as capital punishment is on the books in Colorado, it is either implemented or abolished. I do believe in consequences for crimes and life imprisonment with no appeals does reduce those legal costs.  

    How should the state pay for substantial expansion of state roads? There needs to be a referendum to the voters for an investment in the infrastructure of Colorado roads. The specific projects, locations and timeline for completion must be provided to the voters across the state. Expansion is part of the challenge and maintenance is the other part of the equation. The increase of gas taxes some of our neighboring states passed is only a partial solution – we need to educate voters and help them recognize the immediate value to their region as well as statewide for the investment in economic vitality.

    Should the state cede some local control of fracking to counties and municipalities? How much? It is essential that individual cities and counties recognize the impact of fracking to their region as well as to the entire state. It is important for all fracking measures to be discussed at the local level with an understanding of current rules and benefits, as well as challenges. There has to be open conversation as to the impact of job loss, investment in education, mineral resources and property rights, and how they effect citizens in our state. No city or county stands alone on these issues, so discriminate thinking is imperative in these decisions.

    Should Colorado repeal gun-control laws from 2013? No, I believe there is evidence in statewide polling to support background checks for public safety.

    Would you support a bill to ban red-light traffic cameras? Evidence has shown reduction in accidents and fatalities as a result of the use of red-light cameras. I have stood with our law enforcement officers by voting against banning red-light cameras in Colorado. If there is any question for receiving a ticket for running a red light in Aurora, there’s a process to go in, watch the video and dispute the ticket. Because of these built in factors, I believe it is in the best interest to keep them rather than using law enforcement to sit and monitor red light infractions.

    Would you support a measure to ask voters to re-write the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to require a vote on tax increases, but to remove all other state budget restrictions? I do believe voters have the right to vote in tax increase proposals. However, with the additional budget restrictions, there is a huge challenge to keep up with the cost of living, increase in need to invest in transportation, education and infrastructure to keep the economic vitality of our state alive. I believe voters need to understand exactly what the needs are and how we can address them to provide the quality of services they expect. We are at the bottom of the ladder in most areas of investment and we can do better without exorbitant costs to the individual taxpayer. We need to be responsible and also proactive because repairs are always more expensive than preventative measures.

    Should a revised presidential primary system allow for non-affiliated voters to vote for party candidates? Currently, voters can change their party affiliation to vote in a primary election. They can affiliate with either party and then change back to unaffiliated after the primary. Participation in the primary is to select the candidate that political party supports after listening to and attending caucuses to vote. In the general election, all voters have the right to vote for whomever they choose in all elections.  

    Will you vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or someone else? Hillary Clinton. 

    Should the state prevent counties, schools and municipalities from barring transgender people from using restrooms and locker rooms for sexes other than what appears on their birth certificates? There should not be restrictions for transgender individuals from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their identity.

    What one thing, above all, would you ask fellow lawmakers to do or change to increase student performance on standardized tests? I believe broadening the skills assessed would help provide greater evidence for student success and career preparation and help the individual student know what areas of achievement they need to improve in for moving on to the next level. Relevancy and buy-in from students and parents and teachers will provide the greatest meaningful results.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”LIGHTER SIDE: James Woodley’s personality questions and responses“]

    What food do you hate most? I try not to hate anything, but I really dislike Brussel sprouts.

    Do you indulge in recreational marijuana? No. Although I don’t use recreational marijuana, I recognize that the voters of Colorado legalized its use and hope those who do use recreational marijuana do so responsibly.

    Who would play you in a movie about your life? Most of my favorite actors are much older than me, but I think James Franco might be a good choice.

    What Olympic Sport so you wish you could win gold at? Soccer has always been my favorite sport.

    What was your favorite childhood candy? Big League Chew.

    If you could be an eyewitness to one event in history, what would it be? The missionary work of Christ Jesus.

    If the Secret Service gave you a code name, what would it be? Pilgrim

    If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you sing? Car karaoke counts. Anything Katy Perry

    What epitaph would you like written on your tombstone? How I’m remembered in death doesn’t matter to me. What’s important is if I’m making a difference in the lives of those around me now, and whether those I touch are inspired to touch the lives of others.

    Is a hot dog a sandwich? Yes. Anything between two slices of bread is a sandwich.

    What is the last concert you attended? Besides the Denver Symphony, it would have been The Who.

    What movie do you never tire of watching? “Monty Python’s Holy Grail”

    Dogs or cats? Dogs, but I love all animals.

    What’s the most overrated thing about living in Colorado? Colorado is such a great state to live in, it’s hard to think of anything as overrated.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”LIGHTER SIDE: Nancy Todd’s personality questions and responses“]

    What food do you hate most? Liver and onions.

    Do you indulge in recreational marijuana? No, never have.

    Who would play you in a movie about your life? Amy Adams (she’s a Colorado girl who attended Eastridge Elementary School).

    What Olympic Sport so you wish you could win gold at? Synchronized swimming (I always dreamed of being in a movie with Esther Williams as a young girl).

    What was your favorite childhood candy? Long flat sheets of taffy.

    If you could be an eyewitness to one event in history, what would it be? The women suffragette movement and first women to vote, including Colorado’s first elected women legislators.

    If the Secret Service gave you a code name, what would it be? RCJH (rock chalk Jayhawk), my birthright.

    If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you sing? Car karaoke counts. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

    What epitaph would you like written on your tombstone? Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let It Begin With Me

    Is a hot dog a sandwich? Only when it’s in a bun.

    What is the last concert you attended? Josh Groban at Pepsi Center.

    What movie do you never tire of watching? “Coming To America” and “The American President”

    Dogs or cats? Dogs, and especially black labs.

    What’s the most overrated thing about living in Colorado? Colorado is a great state that allows for ingenuity, diversity, free expression to enjoy and appreciate the environment, and enjoy over 300 days of sunshine. The draw to our state does create challenges for our infrastructure so we need to encourage everyone to take good care of our resources.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”James Woodley’s campaign finance“]

    Click here for James Woodley campaign finances

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Nancy Todd’s campaign finance“]

    Click here for Nancy Todd campaign finances

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”James Woodley’s endorsements“]

    Mike Coffman

    Cory Gardner

    Scott Gessler

    Bob Beauprez

    John Andrews Jr.

    Kathleen Conti

    Ruth Prendergast

    Other endorsements

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Nancy Todd’s endorsements“]

    Colorado Association of School Executives

    Colorado Votes for Animals

    Colorado Trial Lawyers Association

    Colorado Medical Society

    District 12 Educator Association

    Ski Country USA

    Colorado Professional Firefighters Association

    International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-IBEW

    Colorado Optometric Association

    Colorado Automobile Dealers Association 

    Colorado BioScience Association

    Colorado Bankers Association

    Colorado Association of Nurse Anesthetists

    American Dream PAC

    Building Owners and Managers Association – BOMA

    Colorado BlueFlower Fund

    Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union #9

    Colorado WINS

    AFSCME Council 76 – American Federation of State, County and Municipal workers

    AFL-CIO

    United Transportation Union

    Colorado Conservation Voters

    Colorado Education Association

    Colorado Fraternal Order of Police

    Cease Fire Colorado

    Andrew Romanoff, Former Speaker of the House

    Suzanne Williams

    Debi Hunter-Holen, former Aurora City Council

    Morgan Carroll, state Sen.

    Other endorsements

    [/wc_accordion_section] [/wc_accordion]