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Sarah Jack 

Party Girl

click to enlarge MEGGEN BURGHARDT
  • Meggen Burghardt

When I want to find Sarah Jack, I know I either need to find the hidden bunker where the most powerful people in Colorado Springs are plotting their takeover of the world or, more simply, I walk down the street to the Ritz Grill, the other place where the most powerful people in Colorado Springs are plotting their takeover of the world.

Jack, a Colorado Springs native and longtime Republican activist, was a massive force behind last week's local GOP primary that got county commissioners Chuck Brown and Jeri Howells reelected. And Jack was essential in helping Tom Huffman boot Betty Beedy out of a job.

Three years ago Jack, a Lincoln-style Republican, was herself ousted from the local GOP hierarchy for being too liberal. She became the political consultant for the city's most powerful lobbying group, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, and worked feverishly to get last year's city Springs Community Improvement Projects initiative passed. Jack is also the new chair of the board of the local Red Cross.

Jack graduated from Mitchell High School, attended Pikes Peak Community College and, mostly by herself, raised her son Justin, the light of her life. Justin, 20, is now in the Coast Guard. He always votes.

I'm curious about people who sign on to a campaign and are willing to work their asses off to get somebody else elected. And then on election night, the candidate is the one who gets the spotlight and the $50,000 a year post. And you're the one who gets some kind of weird satisfaction and goes home. What drives somebody to do that? I've asked myself that question a lot the last two weeks. You tend to ask yourself who you are, what drives you and what makes you want to do this. It's a painful process sometimes. But it's so rewarding when you're successful. I'm extremely competitive, but a behind-the-scenes kind of competitive. I don't want to be the candidate, but I really, really value my community. I woke up one day in 1978 and worked on my first campaign and decided this is where I can really make a difference.

Why did the HBA get so involved in getting their Republican primary choices elected? Betty Beedy crossed the line. She just was an embarrassment.

Why should one group, the HBA, have the kind of influence it does? People are hostile to us and say we're too powerful and have only one thing in mind, and it's greed and acquisition and developing everything. Well, the HBA is my neighbor, it's my brother-in-law who works for Jolly Plumbing. It's my sister who is a systems manager for People's Mortgage. It's the electrician. It's the guy who does the yard. The HBA is a lot more than just four big developers.

Would you ever vote for a Democrat? I've not voted for Republican candidates who happen to be on the ticket. I won't vote for somebody that I don't believe has the integrity for the office and that I can't trust. I never have voted for a Democrat. But come to think of it, I can think of one right now that I would vote for if I lived in that district.

So who is it? I'd rather not say.

Do you ever not think about politics? I go to church on Sundays. I don't want to know what the politics of my church are, and I don't want them to talk about politics and if they did I'd be gone. I go there for that one hour -- my pastor likes to say that's the best hour of your day and of your week -- and that's probably one of the only times I don't think about politics.

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