Policy and platform guide: Candidates for Colorado governor, lieutenant governor 

The last day to vote is less than a week away, and the 2022 midterm elections will decide the governor of Colorado.

Five candidate pairs are running for Colorado governor and lieutenant governor in the current general election. Each platform has plans to address current issues in Colorado, some of which may affect college students. The last day to vote is Nov. 8.

Jared Polis and Dianne Primavera (Democratic Party)

Jared Polis is running for re-election for his second term under the Democratic party with Dianne Primavera as his lieutenant. His top priority is to cut costs and help Coloradans keep the money they earn.

“We’ve proven that this administration can deliver cuts on major costs for Coloradans by cutting the cost of insulin, saving families money with free kindergarten, and cutting taxes for thousands of small businesses,” Polis said. “We will continue to take immediate action to save people money, while reducing the cost of major expenses like education, health care and housing.”

His website highlights past projects his administration has worked on, one of which was a bill that addresses the cost of college tuition by capping most state tuition at 3% below inflation. Polis also froze college tuition for the 2019-2020 school year.

Polis also plans to address crime and climate change. “Crime is unacceptable, and I have a plan to improve the public safety across Colorado. We are helping local police and sheriff departments hire, train and retain law enforcement officers while also increasing penalties for trafficking fentanyl and other serious crimes,” Polis said.

“We remain committed to our aggressive climate goals, including putting Colorado on a path towards lower cost, reliable clean energy with a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040,” Polis said.

Primavera has worked with Polis to lower the cost of health care through her leadership of the Colorado Disability Funding Committee and Disability Policy. She also led the AmeriCorps Colorado program, Serve Colorado.

Heidi Ganahl and Danny Moore (Republican Party)

CU Regent Heidi Ganahl is running as the Republican candidate with Danny Moore as her lieutenant. Her top priority is to fight crime and address the fentanyl crisis.

“Colorado’s crime wave was brought on by soft crime policies that prioritize criminals. I will return to law and order by appointing judges who respect truth in sentencing and replacing parole board members who do not. I will end our sanctuary state status, which will help stop the flow of fentanyl. And, I will give law enforcement the resources they need,” Ganahl said.

On her website, one of Ganahl’s priorities is to hold colleges and universities accountable for a student’s success by limiting the ability to hyperinflate the cost of a degree. Ganahl also opposes President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program. “Hardworking Coloradans should not incur the debt of others,” Ganahl’s website says.

Another of Ganahl’s goals is to lower the cost of living in Colorado. Part of her plan includes putting more money back “in the pockets” of Coloradans by getting rid of individual state income tax and cutting the tax on gas in half.

“I will lower our inflation rate and cost of living by reining in our government bloat and record high spending. I will get our energy workers back to work and embrace an all-of-the-above approach,” Ganahl said.

Moore has served 24 years in the Navy and was the first Black man to be named cryptologic technician technical master chief in the Navy. Moore currently serves on the Board of Directors and Advisory for the Leadership Program of the Rockies.

Danielle Neuschwanger and Darryl Gibbs (American Constitution Party)

Danielle Neuschwanger is running for governor with Darryl Gibbs as her lieutenant under the American Constitution party, which adheres to strict constitutional originalist values, according to their website. Neuschwanger’s top priority is ensuring that all Coloradans have freedom.

On her website, Neuschwanger emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all Coloradans have the right to choose, arguing that parental rights, individual rights and medical rights have been “continually coerced” and there have been more “infringements on Constitutional and Biblical liberties” that happen regularly.

“I believe that law abiding citizens should not suffer at the hands of the law. That every person, regardless of political affiliation deserves the right to choose what is best for them, their family and within their relationship to a higher power without coercion from the Government, private entities or a media mafia,” Neuschwanger said.

Part of Neuschwanger’s platform emphasizes that she is not a politician. “One of the great traits that I have going for me is that I am not a politician. I don’t want to be your next senator, congresswoman or president. I want to focus on the here and now, fix what needs fixing and leave a legacy in Colorado worth talking about,” Neuschwanger said.

Gibbs serves as a C-130 Crew Chief in the Air Force Reserves and believes his experiences have given him skills that qualify him to be lieutenant governor.

“I am no longer willing to sit back and criticize the latest local news from my couch. I know what hard work is, and I know what integrity is,” Gibbs said.

Kevin Ruskusky and Michele Poague (Libertarian Party)

Kevin Ruskusky is running as the Libertarian candidate with Michele Poague as his lieutenant. His top priority is to push for more environmental protection and sustainability in Colorado.

“We need greater protection against wildfires and drought. As Governor, my mission will include balancing our use of fracking, reallocating water supplies, funding wildfire prevention and cultivating an alliance between green energy and the oil and gas industries so we can safely transition to more reliable and sustainable energy sources to preserve Colorado’s future,” Ruskusky said on his website.

Ruskusky, a high school social studies teacher, believes education is very important and has deteriorated in the U.S. He wants to recreate the state’s education system to enable equal access for all.

“One of my top priorities as governor will be for Colorado families to have the flexibility of equal access to any type of learning environment,” Ruskusky said. “I will work to end the disparity in school funding that disadvantages the members of so many communities, minorities, and social classes.”

Ruskusky values Coloradans’ freedoms and wants to ensure their rights are protected. Specifically, Ruskusky focuses on protecting the rights for abortion and gun ownership. In addition, Ruskusky strives to enact more education on mental health and safe gun ownership to reduce gun violence.

According to her website, Poague has worked as a leader under both the Libertarian Party of Denver and Colorado and the national Libertarian Party. She was awarded the Colorado State Libertarian Party Lifetime Achievement.

Paul Noel Fiorino and Cynthia Munhos de Aquino Sirianni (Unity Party)

Paul Noel Fiorino is running as a candidate for the Unity Party, with Cynthia Munhos de Aquino Sirianni as his lieutenant. According to their website, the Unity Party of America is a centrist party that focuses on similarities rather than differences between political parties.

Part of Fiorino’s platform is the preservation and continuation of art and history. “We can heal this great state from above by taking care of those below and above the clouds, together as we all breathe Colorado,” Fiorino said on his website.

Mental health is one of the major concerns he would like to address as governor. “Mental health care and services need to be implemented from our schools to the street by a concerted effort and process of the nonprofits and private sector to provide more resources,” Fiorino said.

Fiorino’s website states he is a “singer, songwriter and political advocate for arts and humanities.”

Munhos also values arts and humanities as well as mental health and the environment, according to her Twitter.

Click here for a list of voting sites in El Paso County.

Governor Polis spoke at UCCS in the University Center on Oct. 27. Photo by Lexi Petri.