Broomfield voters can now hear from candidates in the State Senate District 23 race.
The Broomfield Chamber of Commerce hosted a second candidate forum, this time for State Senate District 23 candidates Barb Kirkmeyer (R) and Sally Boccella (D).
The forum, held Tuesday via Zoom, garnered about five live viewings, likely in part due to the United States presidential debates. The prior week more than two dozen people tuned into the forum for candidates Matt Gray and Mindy Quiachon.
Kirkmeyer, who described herself as a fourth generation Coloradan, grew up in north Jefferson County on a dairy farm. She served two terms as a Weld County Commissioner in the 1990s, left the post because of term limits, and came back to serve in 2009. She is currently finishing up her last year serving.
Kirkmeyer has been a small business owner in Fort Collins, along with her sister, so she said she understands what’s going on with small businesses in this environment and knows how to run one. She also has owned a dairy farm for more than 15 years and farming operations in southwest Weld County for more than 27 years.
She believes she has a strong background in business, government and agriculture that prepare her to serve in House District 23, which is a large area that encompasses Broomfield, goes straight up the I-25 corridor and into rural Weld County.
Kirkmeyer pointed to agriculture and transportation as important issues, “and just being able to have the ability to work with all sorts of folks in different walks of life throughout this district. I believe I am unique qualified to do that.”
She also worked on Gov. Bill Owens’ cabinet as an executive director of the Department of Local Affairs. She also acted as the state’s emergency manager, she said, so she has a lot of background in managing emergencies, including Colorado’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
In her introduction, Boccella described herself as a first generation American, first generation college graduate, wife and mother to two public school students and two rescue dogs.
“I believe that to be an authentic representative you must be committed to service. I’ve worked with several organizations … the League of Women Voters, Weld Food Bank and the Endangered Species Coalition,” she said.
Boccella said she brings people together with elected officials on the local, state and federal levels to talk about issues that are important to them and as a state senator, she promises to continue to do so. She said she’s served on three school district committees, has delivered food commodities to senior residents on a weekly basis and has a professional background in radio broadcast, marketing, film production and promotion. She currently works as a substitute teacher.
“COVID 19 has brought into focus several issues we already knew about that we can’t ignore anymore,” she said, “like inequity in education, mental health, workers rights, climate crisis, broadband access and access to affordable housing and health care.”
Questions ranged from health and housing to energy and transportation.
The first question of the night dealt with the the state ballot initiative to repeal the Gallagher Amendment — what stance stance took and why.
Boccella said she supports the repeal because “it will help take the burden off the business sector.” Colorado’s tax policy is structured to “basically increase the disparities in our communities,” she said, especially in vulnerable communities. Repealing Gallagher helps the state move one step closer to closing that gap, she said.
Kirkmeyer was opposed to repealing the Gallagher Amendment.
“It will increase our residential property tax rate,” she said. “It will do absolutely nothing to help the business or the commercial rate or even the vacancy rate. That will stay the same.”
She believes the repeal won’t assist businesses, but increases taxes in years to come because of the way Gallagher and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights work together. It is “absolutely” the worst time to increase taxes, she said.
When asked about Broomfield approving 2,000 foot setbacks and exclusionary zoning for oil and gas production, both candidates agreed that it falls to local governments to have that local control.
Kirkmeyer said she supports Broomfield’s ability to have local control with regard to what is going on in the community and has a strong support of land use at a local level.
Boccella also agreed with that level of local control, calling it a great way for Broomfield to listen to constituents, who were “loud and clear” in regard to those issues.
Other questions included why candidates chose to affiliate with their party; what Colorado’s role should be in the protection of the health, safety and welfare of immigrants detained in federal facilitates in Colorado; and their stance on universal health care.
To view the forum within the next few weeks visit broomfieldchamber.com.