Dressed for active duty, Dan Montoya stands in front of a Marine Corps tank with its metal treads and turret. The photograph was placed on his campaign website to let you know that he is a 20 year veteran of the United States Navy.
Dan is running for the District 28 seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. It is located in the Littleton area of Jefferson County, a southwestern suburb of Denver.
His campaign website also says he is a Colorado native who grew up in southwest Denver. Now that his Marine Corps service is over, he wants to continue serving the public in the Colorado state legislature.
With just a few clicks on your desktop or laptop computer or mobile phone, you can visit their opponent’s campaign website, Democrat Sheila Lieder.
She is pictured in front of a typical upscale suburban home with an American flag waving at the front door. Her website states that she served as a merit badge advisor for the Boy Scouts of America and that her son is an Eagle Scout. Among other volunteer activities, she has been a labor lobbyist for her fellow telecommunications workers, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Latino Initiative (JDLI), and was elected president and vice president of its homeowners association.
There’s a photo of Sheila Lieder talking with a construction worker.
The race between Republican Dan Montoya and Democrat Sheila Lieder is tight. House District 28 is one of Colorado’s most competitive legislative districts with 51% Democrat to 49% Republican.
It is one of the marvels of the computer age that this kind of detailed information about candidates for public office is so readily available to potential voters. It is also significant that the candidates themselves seem to have played a major role in deciding what material about them appears on their campaign websites. In the past, before the digital age, a tedious visit to campaign headquarters would have been required to obtain this kind of detailed voter information.
Now let’s take a digitized look at House District 19. It is located on the northern front around Erie and Frederick. It’s also a very competitive seat, with the voting record dropping from 51% Republican to 49% Democrat.
Incumbent Republican Dan Woog is running for re-election. A photograph shows him with two children, and text on the site emphasizes his role as a volunteer coach for his children’s various sports teams.
He played ice hockey in college, and as an incumbent state legislator, he is the top Republican on the State Affairs, Army, and Veterans Affairs Committee. He was a city administrator for Erie for seven years and a member of the Economic Development Board and the Erie Planning and Zoning Commission.
Democrats have recruited a strong contender to run against Republican Woog. Jennifer Parenti’s website has an entire section on his career as a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force. She taught Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Massachusetts. She then became a specialist in international affairs for the Air Force and was assigned to the United States Embassy in Paris. After retiring from the Air Force, she was hired by NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) to continue working with US allies on strategic planning and development opportunities. international cooperation.
Reading these candidate biographies on campaign websites, you can’t help but be impressed by the many experienced and talented Coloradans who are available and willing to run for political office. Overall, they are carpenters and actors who have made major achievements in their lives and careers to date.
But there is something more happening here. These candidate biographies are written to win people’s votes and get elected to an important public office – member of the state legislature. So biographies tell us as much about what candidates think voters want as they do about the candidates themselves. When writing their campaign biographies, candidates strive to mold the facts of their careers to that ideal civic official.
This ideal person is seen as a civic volunteer, caring for the needs of others and proven in community affairs. It doesn’t hurt to have a family and a good number of memberships in civic organizations. Candidates also like to show off their dog. We knew of a former lawmaker who borrowed a dog for his campaign literature.
In southeast Colorado Springs, in Senate District 11, campaign websites reveal two political heavyweights are battling for one of Colorado’s most competitive and balanced senatorial districts – 51% Democrat 49% Republican.
Democrat Tony Exum served multiple terms in the state House of Representatives and touts his 35 years as a firefighter in Colorado Springs, noting he retired as a battalion chief. Part of his career has been spent training the next generation of Springs firefighters. He also mentions that he refereed basketball and softball games in high school and college and was both a father and a grandfather.
Republican Dennis Hisey tells us he grew up “rural” outside of small town Oregon and mentions “cutting hay” and “logging” as two early activities. A small business owner for most of his adult life, he began his electoral career as an El Paso County Commissioner. He was later elected to the Colorado State Senate. The recent redistricting moved it out of its original senatorial district. He moved to District 11, which is an open seat.
Hisey notes that he is a family man with five children and several grandchildren. His website is filled with several photos of him interacting with average citizens of all ages.
Campaign websites are not easy to read. However, we recommend them as a source of information on the candidates who will seek your vote in the upcoming general election in November.
Tom Cronin and Bob Loevy write about Colorado and national politics. Examine their charts which show the current situation in each Colorado State House District and State Senate District.