Endorsements: Priority races 

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Attorney general: John Suthers (R)

If he is elected to a four-year term as Colorado's attorney general, John Suthers will be the first statewide elected Republican from El Paso County in 32 years. But that's not why we're behind him.

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After serving two terms as the 4th Judicial District attorney in Colorado Springs, Suthers was appointed head of the state's corrections department. In 2001, he was appointed U.S. attorney for Colorado. Two years ago, Gov. Bill Owens appointed Suthers to fill out the term vacated by then-Attorney General Ken Salazar, after Salazar was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Suthers' opponent, Fern O'Brien, is a capable attorney from Boulder who specializes in business, finance and real estate law. She has no experience, however, as a prosecutor or in managing a large government agency. Suthers' background, along with his understanding of complex issues, especially water issues, makes him the superior choice.

State treasurer: Cary Kennedy (D)

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Cary Kennedy's track record of leadership in Colorado stretches back to the days of Gov. Roy Romer, when she worked in the state's planning and budgeting office. For the past decade, Kennedy, who grew up in Colorado and has degrees in law and public administration, has worked in a variety of state finance roles.

She served as a leading advocate for Amendment 23, which ensured that state funding for public schools kept up with inflation plus population growth. Most recently, Kennedy has served as House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's policy director, and helped develop Referendum C, approved last year by the voters. She has vowed to make the state's finances more transparent, even posting information about Colorado's investment portfolios and revenue accounts online.

Kennedy's opponent, Mark Hillman, is a former state senator of seven years who was appointed by Gov. Bill Owens to replace Mike Coffman after Coffman resigned to serve in Iraq. Hillman, who is now running for a full term as treasurer, opposed Referendum C last year.

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The primary job of the state treasurer is to oversee the state's tax money and investments. Kennedy's credentials and commitment to sound fiscal decisions and public accountability make her the right choice.

Not only will she effectively husband state resources, but she will also use the bully pulpit her office provides to educate the people of Colorado about fiscal responsibility and the need for intelligent investments.

Secretary of state:Ken Gordon (D)

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Colorado's secretary of state is responsible for conducting elections and overseeing campaigns, as well as businesses and licensing. The office serves very much like a referee in a soccer match. It is crucial that the person who heads this office has a deep understanding of the electoral game, as well as a reputation for fairness.

Ken Gordon, who has served in the Colorado Legislature for 14 years, has sponsored scores of bills to improve our democracy, reduce the influence of special interests, and make our government more accountable to its citizens. For example, he fought hard to pass a Colorado law that mandates every voting machine produce an accurate paper record.

Gordon, who has consistently refused to accept political action committee (PAC) contributions, pledges that once elected, he will bring back impartiality, independence and accountability to the SOS office. His track record indicates he will do just that.

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Senate District 9: Keely Marrs (D)

A 1989 graduate of Rampart High School, Keely Marrs served in the U.S. Army as a sharpshooter and studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute. Marrs grew up in the center of this northeast Colorado Springs district, and would bring passion and intellect to focus on the water, energy, education and health care issues facing it.

In stark contrast, her opponent, House District 14 Rep. Dave Schultheis perhaps best known for his grandstanding trips "to protect our border" is preoccupied with divisive social issues, including reducing government's role in protecting the environment and regulating citizens' bedroom activities. Schultheis' reactionary actions have repeatedly drawn sharp public criticism from numerous Republicans.

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House District 14: Karen Teja (D)

A longtime civic volunteer, Karen Teja is best suited to fill this open seat. Teja served two terms on the D-11 school board, and would bring her community orientation and educational background to the Legislature.

Her opponent, Kent Lambert, served as a legislative aide to Rep. Dave Schultheis, who is seeking to move up to the state Senate. Lambert has received endorsements from Chris Simcox, founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, and the Colorado Private School Association PAC. We believe support from sources like these indicates that Lambert would follow in his predecessor's steps, and just be another El Paso County hard-right ideologue.

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House District 21: Anna Lord (D)

Anna Lord has done an excellent job on the District 14 school board. She has deep roots in this district, with her children now being the fourth generation to live in her family's Green Mountain Falls home. A former procurement specialist and cost analyst for the Department of Defense and the Johnson Space Center/NASA, Lord has the needed combination of skills and community history for her constituents.

Her opponent, former GOP chair Bob Gardner, is a crafty lawyer and an expert in manipulative, negative campaigning. He has orchestrated numerous smear campaigns, especially on behalf of state Sen. Ed Jones, as well as the D-11 school board's Eric Christen and Sandy Shakes, whom in December will be subject to a recall.

For a partial rundown of Gardner's shenanigans, see csindy.com/csindy/2003-10-23/publiceye.html.

Citizens should not reward such a man with elected office. Vote early (but not often) for Anna Lord.

El Paso County commissioner:

Wayne Williams (R)

Wayne Williams is a Joel Hefley-like conservative Republican who asks good questions, provides solid service and has shown that he has the wherewithal to stand up to the antics of fellow commissioner Douglas Bruce. While we do not agree with Williams' stance on many issues, he supported the RTA and worked to secure funds to continue the Front Range Express (FREX) commuter bus program that connects Colorado Springs to both Fountain and Denver.


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