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In Final Debate, Jared Polis Crushes Walker Stapleton — Whose Incompetence Is Hard to Watch

DENVER — While Walker Stapleton piled desperate lies on top one another in the final gubernatorial debate, Jared Polis made a strong closing argument for the inclusive and bipartisan vision he will bring to Colorado.

 

Highlights from the final debate:

 

Jared Polis Discusses the Urgency of Confronting Climate Change, While Walker Stapleton Pivots to… Hemp?

Jared Polis Defends the Dignity of Immigrant Families, While Walker Stapleton Turns His Back on DREAMers

Jared Polis Defends Reproductive Choice, While Walker Stapleton Doubles Down on Restricting Rights

 

Feedback on Jared’s Debate Performance:

 

The Honorable Polly Baca:

 

“Jared has won every single debate against Walker Stapleton, and it hasn’t been close. Walker Stapleton’s endless ugly false attacks are disgraceful and disqualifying. Jared’s bold, detailed ideas to grow our economy, improve our schools, and protect Coloradans from Donald Trump’s hateful agenda will make him an excellent governor.”

 

Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar:

 

“Coloradans have a clear choice between the candidates for Governor. What we heard tonight was that Jared Polis is the candidate that will take us into the future with a vision and plan to expand education and lower our health care costs. He is unafraid to think big and has a proven track record of problem solving.”

 

Former State Senator Mike Johnston:

 

“Through eight debates, Jared has been positive, forward-looking, and inspiring. Jared Polis is the only candidate who has focused on bringing Coloradans together to overcome our challenges. Jared tonight made a powerful closing argument that he is the best candidate to improve our health care system, strengthen our education system, and lift up our communities. I’m very proud to support him in this race and to call him a friend.”

Another TV Station Takes Down Despicable False Ad from Pro-Stapleton Group

DENVER — CBS4 today informed the Polis for Colorado campaign that the station has taken a false, slanderous ad attacking Jared Polis off the air. ABC7 took the ad down yesterday.

 

The ad, which is paid for by the dark-money group Colorado Citizens for Truth, perpetuates a right-wing conspiracy theory that has been debunked by numerous Colorado reporters, who have labeled the claims “ridiculous,” “desperate,” “unsubstantiated,” a “smear,” and “in the realm of fiction.” Nevertheless, Walker Stapleton has continued repeating the false claims.

 

“The fact that TV stations won’t even air these falsehoods just highlights how shameful and pathetic it is that Walker Stapleton is clinging to them to rescue his failing campaign,” Polis for Colorado Campaign Chair Lisa Kaufmann said. “It is a disgraceful display from a candidate who knows he’s circling the drain and who’s made clear he has nothing to offer Coloradans other than debunked smears.”

Jared Polis Wins 9News Debate against Flailing Stapleton, Who Gets Booed for Re-Telling Lies

Fort Collins — Jared Polis tonight delivered a clear, positive vision on his plans to create good-paying jobs, reduce the cost of health care, and protect our environment from climate change — to the obvious fury of Walker Stapleton, who resorted to shouting debunked smears and got booed repeatedly by the audience.

 

In his closing statement, Stapleton posed a question: Which candidate would you want running a small business? Jared’s answer said it all:

 

“I actually think Walker framed it the right way: if you had a small business, who would you want to grow it? Someone who has grown several successful businesses, created hundreds of jobs, raised private capital, met payroll, and provided benefits for employees. Someone who’s been successful starting a start-up ecosystem. I co-founded Techstars in several dozen cities, Patriot Boot Camp empowering veterans and military spouses to start tomorrow’s great company.

 

“Look, we have some great ideas for Colorado. This is an amazing state. I’m proud to raise my 7-year-old and my 4-year-old here. I want to protect our parks and open space and make sure that they can enjoy the same Colorado that I love as a Colorado native. I want to save Colorado businesses and individuals money on health care. There is such low-hanging fruit to take on the special interests and make sure that people pay less. And yes, I want to make sure that every kid gets a great education.”

 

Earlier in the debate, Stapleton’s refusal to condemn Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on women and people of color went over poorly with the audience. So he resorted to repeating the false claims of an attack ad against Jared that have been debunked by reporters as “pathetic,” “desperate,” “ridiculous,” “unsubstantiated,” and “in the realm of fiction.” The ad is so deceptive that TV stations have begun taking the rare step of pulling it off the air.

 

Feedback on Jared’s Debate Performance:

Former Congresswoman Betsy Markey:

 

“Jared has a proud record of fighting for Larimer County and delivering results, and that came across loud and clear in tonight’s debate. Larimer County families deserve a governor who will work hard every day to improve our schools, protect our public lands, and reduce the cost of health care. There is no question after this debate that that leader is Jared Polis. Walker Stapleton simply isn’t up to the job.”

 

State Rep. Jeni James Arndt:

 

“There’s a reason why Jared wins Larimer County — because he knows our issues and has been working for us for 10 years. Jared has proven that he is the candidate Larimer County families can count on to continue to deliver for them in a new role — our governor.”

 

Former Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez:

 

“After six debates, there’s a very clear difference between Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton. Jared offers solutions and a positive vision; Stapleton offers petty insults and negativity. Tonight was the clearest contrast yet. Jared was the clear winner.”

TV Stations Begin Taking Down Desperate False Smear Ad by Pro-Stapleton Group

The Denver Channel (ABC7) today informed the Polis for Colorado campaign that the station has stopped airing a slanderous and false ad being paid for by a dark-money group backing Walker Stapleton.

The ad by Colorado Citizens for Truth perpetuates a right-wing conspiracy theory that has been debunked by numerous Colorado reporters, who have labeled the claims “ridiculous,” “desperate,” “unsubstantiated,” a “smear,” and “in the realm of fiction.”

“This shameful false ad by Walker Stapleton’s special-interest backers is as low as politics gets — a desperate last gasp to rescue Stapleton’s sinking campaign,” said Polis for Colorado Chair Lisa Kaufmann. “Each of the four biggest news stations in Denver and other prominent news outlets across the state have debunked the claims in this ad, and we are glad to see The Denver Channel protecting its integrity by refusing to spread these falsehoods. We hope other stations quickly follow suit.”

Polis Highlights Bipartisanship and Delivers Positive Vision, While Stapleton Clings to Trump and Launches More False Attacks

Colorado Springs — Jared Polis tonight highlighted his record of working across the aisle and put forward real plans to lower health care costs, lift up our schools, fight climate change, and create good-paying jobs across Colorado. Meanwhile, Walker Stapleton repeatedly voiced his support for President Trump his $2 trillion tax giveaway for special interests and spent the entire night lying about Polis’s plans instead of putting forward his own.

 

Jared continues to advocate a forward-looking vision for Colorado, backed up by his long record of turning innovative ideas into results in the private and public sectors.

 

“When John F. Kennedy said in 1961, we’re going to get to the moon by the end of the decade, it wasn’t a mandate; it was a goal. And he didn’t say we’re going to get 75% of the way to the moon or 80% of the way to the moon. He said we’re going to get to the darn moon, and you know what? America did,” Polis said. “And you know what? We deserve cleaner air, and we need to act on climate, for our farmers andfor our ski industry, and we need better rates for all of you.”

 

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Feedback on Jared’s Debate Performance:

 

Yolanda Avila, Colorado Springs City Councilmember

 

“Jared showed today that he understands the challenges facing Colorado Springs families, and has real plans to help us overcome them. On health care, education, the economy, and every issue that was raised, Jared was the stronger candidate. Where Walker Stapleton offered the same-old same-old, Jared Polis offered solutions.”

 

State Senator Michael Merrifield:

 

“Jared handily won today’s debate. His positive vision for building a strong, inclusive Colorado economy came through loud and clear on the debate stage — and was a sharp contrast to Walker Stapleton’s typical barrage of negativity and false attacks.”

Jared Polis Releases Higher Education Plan to Prepare Every Coloradan to Compete in 21st-Century Economy

Plan Focuses on Expanding Access to All Forms of Higher Education — from Certification and Apprenticeship Programs to Community Colleges and Research Universities

 

Jared Polis today released a higher-education plan for Colorado, focused on saving students money and utilizing cost-saving innovations to prepare students for a 21st-century economy.

 

“Despite Colorado’s booming economy, many families and students are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to higher education,” Jared Polis said. “It’s becoming more and more essential to have a degree or certification to break into a good-paying career, while at the same time the costs of higher education are putting it out of reach for many Coloradans.

 

“It doesn’t need to be this way. Together, we can build a path to a successful career doesn’t include taking on a crushing amount of student debt. To make that vision a reality, we need an innovative approach that values every aspect of our higher education system — from dual and concurrent enrollment to certification and apprenticeship programs to community colleges and research universities. Any opportunity to save Colorado families money is an opportunity worth pursuing.”

 

Polis’ higher education plan includes three key elements: saving students money on their degree, expanding access to all forms of higher education, and bringing more cutting-edge research done at Colorado’s institutions of higher education to the marketplace. Below are brief descriptions of each aspect of the full plan.

 

Saving Students Money Every Step of the Way

  • Bolster higher ed’s most important watchdog, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, so that it can forcefully advocate for cost-saving measures at Colorado’s institutions.
  • Lower textbook costs by making Colorado a national leader in utilizing affordable, open-source textbooks — an area where Front Range Community College has been at the forefront of innovation. By incentivizing universities to embrace open-source textbooks, we can save undergraduates approximately $5,000 over the course of four years.
  • Help students graduate faster with three-year degrees, by expanding the University of Colorado’s “Degree in Three” pilot program as well as other three-year curriculum options. Initial studies have found that accelerated study options like this can cut the total cost of attendance by 25 percent, with an added benefit of
  • Cut fees on workplace experience in college. There’s only one way to describe the practice of charging fees on students seeking to turn completed internship hours into credit hours that will count toward graduation: unfair. Instead of punishing interning students for seeking workplace experience, we’ll reward them. For a student who successfully completes a qualified internship, this experience will directly translate into credit hours that, without charge, will be guaranteed to count toward graduation requirements. We’ll also expand opportunities outside the conventional workweek and workplace, connecting students with mentors and opportunities online and around the world.
  • Save students money on student loans, by making sure that every student is aware of all available state and federal resources to lower costs and aggressively protect students from predatory financial practices. In the absence of action from the federal government, Colorado will prioritize transparency and make sure that each campus offers lending sessions where students and parents receive information and are matched with financial counselors who can help families make the most educated decisions possible when it comes to private financing of education.

New Opportunities So Every Student Can Achieve

  • Give high school students more access to free college credit through dual and concurrent enrollment. We will prioritize making sure that 100 percent of Colorado’s school districts are able to offer dual and concurrent enrollment programs through an Associates Degree or professional certification, and will aggressively work to boost enrollment in them. These programs save students time and thousands of dollars on a degree or a certification, with some high school students even earning an Associate’s Degree before ever setting foot in a college classroom.
  • Lead on workforce development. Through collaborative partnerships between industry, labor unions, school districts, and our two-year institutions, we’ll establish a statewide network of cohesive, collaborative apprenticeship programs, through which students not only can learn a trade that helps them get a good job, but can also gain skills essential to running a small business.
  • Save community colleges money. We’ll explore what savings can be achieved through multi-institutional consolidation of “back-office” administrative functions, such as accounting, IT, and payroll while maintaining individual autonomy over their institutions. States like Idaho, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Pennsylvania have explored and implemented similar programs. This change could allow Colorado to reinvest millions of dollars back into the academics.
  • Deploy a certification task force. Through Executive Order, we’ll assemble a task force of bright, diverse minds from industry, labor and education to determine how institutions at every level — from open admission institutions to post-graduate schools — can develop, adapt, and award meaningful skill certifications to students eager to gain the credentials they’ll need to make it in tomorrow’s complex workforce, without the burdens of additional time and money incurred through more conventional study.

Thinking Beyond the System

  • Bring critical research and innovation to the market. We won’t just stay our current path of funding promising inventions or worthy technological initiatives without capitalizing on their potential. We can streamline our current commercialization grant funding process. Under a new independent statewide management system, approved grant projects will receive appropriate financial oversight, much needed project support, and next-phase resources with a particular focus on critical medical, environmental and community initiatives that otherwise won’t ever find success in a risk-averse private sector investment pool. The result: successful projects that will save lives and improve others, funded in such a way that taxpayers will also see a return on our commitment to the otherwise underfunded research at the core of such achievements.

Polis Wins Pueblo Debate against Ranting, Raving Stapleton

Polis Receives Standing Ovation while Stapleton Gets Booed

 

While Walker Stapleton ranted and raved tonight in Pueblo, and offered more false claims than any fact-checker could keep up with, Jared Polis delivered a positive vision for Colorado — detailing his plans for universal preschool and kindergarten, affordable health care, and renewable energy innovation.

 

Stapleton sunk to new lows in this debate, making a tasteless remark about Polis’s 7-year-old and 4-year-old using marijuana, and prompting widespread jeers and groans from the crowd in response.

 

At the conclusion of the debate, Polis received a lengthy standing ovation for his positive vision.

 

“It’s that attitude of ‘dream, dare, do’ that I want to take to the governorship,” Jared Polis said. “I’m not here to tell you what I’m against. I’m here to tell you what I’m for.”

 

Feedback on Jared’s Debate Performance:

 

Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace:

 

“While Walker Stapleton busies himself slinging mud and making false attacks, Jared Polis is putting forward a positive vision for helping Colorado families get ahead — with thoughtful plans to address our transportation challenges, create good-paying jobs, and grow our economy. Jared is by far the better candidate to lead Colorado as governor, and he was by far the stronger candidate on tonight’s debate stage.”

 

Senate Minority Leader Leroy Garcia:

 

“Since launching his campaign, Jared has been a constant presence in Pueblo, and his familiarity with the community came through loud and clear in tonight’s debate. Unlike his opponent, Jared put forward real solutions to lift up our public schools so that Pueblo students can back to having five-day school weeks, reduce the exorbitant cost of health care, and protect our state from the disastrous policies of Donald Trump.”

ICYMI: Denver Post Endorses Jared Polis in Governor’s Race

The Denver Post has endorsed Jared Polis over Walker Stapleton in the governor’s race, writing that Jared “has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the last decade,” and praising his “gumption to actually deliver results.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to have the endorsement of the Denver Post, a newspaper known for its thoughtful and bipartisan approach to elections,” Jared Polis said. “I’ve spent my career starting businesses, creating jobs, and working across the aisle to solve the big problems facing Colorado. It’s heartening to see that the Denver Post’s editorial board agrees that my plans to lift up our public schools, save Coloradans money on health care, and tackle the cost of living will serve our state well.”

The full editorial is available here. Key excerpts are below:

“Coloradans have the chance to cast their vote this fall for a governor who is thoughtful, innovative and has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the past decade.

“Jared Polis, 43, has a vision for this great state that is easy to support, and critically, we think he has the gumption to actually deliver results.”

“He understands that a strong education system is an investment in the future. And he doesn’t just talk the talk; Polis has put in the leg work to demonstrate a true commitment to and knowledge of making sure every child in Colorado receives a great education.

“After becoming a self-made multi-millionaire, Polis’ political career began on the State Board of Education. He founded a network of charter schools: the New America Schools for at-risk youth and non-English speakers and the Academy of Urban Learning in Denver for pregnant teenagers, homeless youth and other at-risk students.

“He carried his education knowledge with him to Congress where he not only worked on fixing the No Child Left Behind Act, but was a member of the conference committee that negotiated the final bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act eventually signed by President Barack Obama.

And he’s the father of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old.

“Schools need adequate resources to be great, and Polis is willing to scrape together the money needed to make sure our kids succeed. He plans to explore getting private investors to fund his early childhood education goals in exchange for a promised return on their investment based on the savings realized later by the state through the reduced need of expensive remediation, class repetition, and special education.”

“Coloradans would be fortunate to have Polis as governor pushing for a brighter future.

“He’s won our endorsement and we hope he wins your vote.”

Jared Polis Rises Above Walker Stapleton’s Petty Name-Calling in Grand Junction Debate

Outlines Plans to Reduce Rural Health Care Costs, Support Rural Workers and Entrepreneurs, Improve Colorado’s Education System

 

GRAND JUNCTION — In tonight’s debate, Jared Polis saw past Walker Stapleton’s name-calling and repeated false attacks and delivered a positive message of economic opportunity to Western Slope voters.

 

“You hear these words tossed around — ’extreme,’ ‘radical’ — these are fundamentally divisive words. I’m a uniter. I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats nationally to pass our landmark federal education legislation. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves here in Colorado to get things done in a bipartisan way that brings people together. I’m not for the name-calling,” Jared said in his closing. “I was proud to sponsor a bill with Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to help bring the BLM right here to Grand Junction or Western Colorado, even taking on some members of my own party to do it. I’m running for governor because I believe in the future of this state. I’ve run schools. I’ve served on the State Board of Education. And we have a plan to end decades of underinvestment in our public schools and make sure that every child has access to preschool and kindergarten, saving families money.”

 

Feedback on Jared’s Debate Performance:

 

Amy Roberts, Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association:

 

“The debate underscored what Colorado’s outdoorists and outdoor industry already knew — that Jared Polis is truly committed to Colorado’s outdoors and the right person to be Colorado’s next governor. Jared’s track record of supporting access to and protection of our public lands combined with his innovative ‘Keep Colorado Wild’ plan to strengthen Colorado’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy ensures he will keep Colorado moving in the right direction and strengthen our ability to attract outdoor industry businesses.”

 

State Senator Kerry Donovan:

 

“Jared showed tonight why he is the best governor to help lead the Western Slope toward a bright future. He made a strong, positive, and persuasive case for how the policies he’s put forward will support our economy and improve our quality of life. As a former educator in a public school, I especially appreciate his bold vision to provide every child with a great education. Jared won tonight’s debate, and it wasn’t a close call.”

Hickenlooper, Perlmutter, Colorado Leaders Praise Polis’ Debate Performance

Polis Outlines Positive Vision while Stapleton Rants and Shouts

 

DENVER — While Walker Stapleton ranted into the camera for an hour with false political attacks, Jared Polis used tonight’s debate to share with Colorado families his vision for reducing health care costs, lifting up public schools, and tackling the rising cost of living.

 

Feedback on Jared’s debate performance:

 

Governor John Hickenlooper:

 

“Jared Polis tonight powerfully demonstrated many of the reasons he will make a great governor. He outlined a positive, innovative vision for moving our state forward, backed up by an incredibly impressive record of turning big ideas into reality, both as a businessman and public servant. I’m prouder than ever to be supporting Jared in this race.”

 

Congressman Ed Perlmutter:

 

“Tonight clearly showed why Jared Polis should be our next Governor. He offered real plans on the things Coloradans care most about like saving money on health care, improving our schools, and helping working families get ahead. His opponent offered mostly attacks and platitudes. Jared is the leader to move our state forward — and tonight he made a strong case to Coloradans across our state.”

 

Dianne Primavera:

 

“I couldn’t be prouder of Jared after watching this debate. He was uplifting and inspiring. He spoke powerfully to the challenges facing our state and put forward clear solutions to help Colorado families. Jared’s whole life has been about solving tough problems and lifting up others, and that showed tonight. Onward to victory!”

 

Westminster City Councilor Maria De Cambra:

 

“This debate showcased the very clear, stark choice facing Coloradans in this election. We can elect Jared Polis, a visionary who is fighting for a bright future for every Coloradan, a Walker Stapleton, a Trump yes-man who has little to offer other than empty insults. Jared has all the momentum heading into the final month of the race.”

 

Adams County Math Teacher Marty Gutierrez:

 

“Tonight we saw Jared Polis proudly and thoughtfully outline his plans to lift up our public schools, students, and teachers. And we saw Walker Stapleton try and fail to run away from his horrific record on education — which includes calling for money to be rerouted from schools to prisons. After watching tonight’s debate, any Coloradan who cares about our public school system should have no doubt that Jared Polis is the governor our state needs.”

 

NARAL Executive Director Karen Middleton:

 

“Tonight, yet again, Jared Polis demonstrated that he is a proud champion for every Coloradan’s access to affordable, high-quality health care, including reproductive health care. Meanwhile, Walker Stapleton showed again that he simply won’t stand up for reproductive health, affordable health care, or any of the other issues that Coloradans care about. Hands-down, Jared Polis is the right choice for governor.”

MAJOR ENDORSEMENT: Denver Post Backs Jared Polis in Governor’s Race

Minutes ago, the Denver Post endorsed Jared Polis over Walker Stapleton in the governor’s race, writing that Jared “has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the last decade,” and praising his “gumption to actually deliver results.”

 

“It’s a tremendous honor to have the endorsement of the Denver Post, a newspaper known for its thoughtful and bipartisan approach to elections,” Jared Polis said. “I’ve spent my career starting businesses, creating jobs, and working across the aisle to solve the big problems facing Colorado. It’s heartening to see that the Denver Post’s editorial board agrees that my plans to lift up our public schools, save Coloradans money on health care, and tackle the cost of living will serve our state well.”

 

The full editorial is available here. Key excerpts are below:

 

“Coloradans have the chance to cast their vote this fall for a governor who is thoughtful, innovative and has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the past decade.

 

“Jared Polis, 43, has a vision for this great state that is easy to support, and critically, we think he has the gumption to actually deliver results.”

 

“He understands that a strong education system is an investment in the future. And he doesn’t just talk the talk; Polis has put in the leg work to demonstrate a true commitment to and knowledge of making sure every child in Colorado receives a great education.

 

“After becoming a self-made multi-millionaire, Polis’ political career began on the State Board of Education. He founded a network of charter schools: the New America Schools for at-risk youth and non-English speakers and the Academy of Urban Learning in Denver for pregnant teenagers, homeless youth and other at-risk students.

 

“He carried his education knowledge with him to Congress where he not only worked on fixing the No Child Left Behind Act, but was a member of the conference committee that negotiated the final bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act eventually signed by President Barack Obama.

And he’s the father of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old.

 

“Schools need adequate resources to be great, and Polis is willing to scrape together the money needed to make sure our kids succeed. He plans to explore getting private investors to fund his early childhood education goals in exchange for a promised return on their investment based on the savings realized later by the state through the reduced need of expensive remediation, class repetition, and special education.”

 

“Coloradans would be fortunate to have Polis as governor pushing for a brighter future.

 

“He’s won our endorsement and we hope he wins your vote.”

Polis Campaign Responds to Stapleton’s Pitiful Attack

Some common ground between Polis & Stapleton: They both talk a lot about Jared’s bold vision for Colorado

Walker Stapleton released his first TV ad today. Rather than finally taking the opportunity to share anything about his plans for the future of Colorado, Stapleton instead continued doing what he always does: making false claims about Jared Polis.

 

“Walker Stapleton thinks the less voters know about his right-wing policies, the better,” said Polis for Colorado Campaign Manager Jenn Ridder. “Stapleton won’t defend his plans to take away Coloradans’ health care and to take funding away from schools and send it to prisons, because they’re indefensible. Stapleton’s entire campaign is focused on false attacks to distract from his dangerous agenda. It’s a pitiful strategy by a candidate who knows he has nothing positive to offer.”

 

Stapleton’s habit of speaking of nothing other than Jared Polis has been a theme of this campaign — as documented in this video.

 

With this new ad, Stapleton is doubling down on a losing strategy. His special-interest allies have deluged the the airwaves with no fewer than nine false attack ads against Jared already and have failed to make even a dent in Stapleton’s poll numbers.

 

Meanwhile, Jared today released a positive TV ad focusing on his vision for lifting up Colorado’s public schools.

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