Senate President Stephen Fenberg bangs gavel during the last day of the 2022 session

Senate President Stephen Fenberg bangs the gavel during the last day of the legislative session on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at the Capitol building in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

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Citizen engagement is crucial in sustaining America's experiment in representative democracy, and voting in an election is not just any ritual. Encapsulated in that act is often the purest expression of a people's ability to choose their leaders, exactly the kind of freedom denied to so many in other parts of the world.

As a public service, we compiled this primary voter guide for the 2022 elections. This guide focuses on contested primary races, whose outcome will ultimately decide the contours – and decisions – of our executive and legislative bodies. 

A few dates to remember:

June 6 - First day that mail-in ballots are sent to voters.

June 20 - Last day for an individual to submit a voter registration application and still get a ballot in the mail

June 28 - Primary election day. The polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  

We hope that you find this guide informative and useful. If there are any errors, please don't hesitate contact editors Luige del Puerto at luige.delpuerto@coloradopolitics.com and Pat Poblete at pat.poblete@coloradopolitics.com.

STATE SENATE DISTRICT 9

The district is one of four districts contained in El Paso County. It covers the northwest corner of the county, including the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake and a portion of Colorado Springs.

Democrats: 18,102 Republican: 46,098 Unaffiliated: 52,859 Total active voters: 118,957

The winner of this Republican primary will likely go on to win the general election, given the party’s dominance. Sen. Paul Lundeen, the incumbent, goes up against retired Air Force Lt. Col. Lynda Zamora Wilson, who won the local assembly vote over Lundeen during the Colorado Republican Convention in April. On the Democratic side, Arik Dougherty is running uncontested.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

Paul Lundeen

What are your top three priorities if elected?

First, I will continue to press forward with the legislative agenda I helped craft to reduce the cost of living for Colorado families. Please see the bill I authored to address part of the exploding cost of housing, SB22-072. Second, I will continue to press forward the legislative agenda I helped craft to make our neighborhoods less dangerous and our communities more safe. Please see the bill I authored to address part of the exploding cost of housing, SB22-067. Third, I will continue to press forward the legislative agenda I helped craft to give parents greater authority over their child’s education. Please see the bill I authored to address, in part, the concern parents have raised over intrusion into their rights and responsibilities to education and raise their children, SB22-039.

What experience has prepared you for office?

Almost three decades as an entrepreneur, creating hundreds of jobs and value for all of the customers and clients I’ve served across 10 companies, all of which I founded or in which I acquired a controlling interest. Four years on the State Board of Education, four years in the House of Representatives and four years in the Senate have helped me understand how to be most influential crafting public policy.

Lynda Zamora Wilson

What are your top three priorities if elected?

Election integrity: Instill integrity, transparency and security into our elections.

Constitution: Protect and defend the Constitution.

Education: Promote traditional education and curriculum that produces well-informed voters.

What experience has prepared you for office?

My education: Ph.D. in economics, MS in mathematics, MA in international economics, MA in education. My experience: Retired USAF officer of 25 years; assistant professor in mathematics and economics at the USAFA; senior economist at the Pentagon, financial and economic advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, equipped leadership to answer Congressional mandates, advised 17 financial analyses worth $7.6B; F-22 flight test analyst, flew in fighter aircraft as safety observer, verifying F-22 high-risk capability, assessed, identified and reported on design, test and operational risks to Secretary of Defense; test director of the Electronic Warfare Division; chief of the Defense Satellite Test Branch, conducted research, procurement and on-orbit maintenance of military space systems; park ranger, I grew up in the timber industry and know the benefits of proper timber management in preserving our forest/environment.


STATE SENATE DISTRICT 11

The Southeastern Colorado Springs-based district includes the municipal airport

Democrats: 21,525 Republican: 19,891 Unaffiliated: 43,463 Total active voters: 87,241

Campaign contributions are nearly even among all three major party candidates, according to the Secretary of State’s campaign finance database.

Sen. Dennis Hisey, R-Colorado Springs, is the incumbent. Rep. Tony Exum, Sr., has served in the state House for the past eight years. Yolanda Avila is currently an at-large member of Colorado Springs City Council.

While voter registration gives the Democrat a slight advantage, it’s unaffiliated voters who will decide who goes to the Capitol next January. Republicans must hold this seat to take control of the state Senate for the 2023-24 sessions.

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Yolanda Avila

What are your top three priorities if elected? 

Accessible Transportation

As a blind person who uses public transit, Yolanda understands firsthand why we must improve government coordination to connect our transit. She will advocate for transportation funding and prioritize the long overdue Front Range Passenger Rail.

Families & Housing First

Hardworking Coloradans and their families deserve to own a home and build wealth for future generations. Yolanda supports innovative housing options, like expanding state programs for first-time homebuyers and supporting seniors aging in place.

A Thriving Senate District 11

Small businesses are the backbone of Colorado Springs. On Council, Yolanda has delivered over $200 million in economic development, infrastructure, and parks. She knows what it takes to get our community what it needs and will continue this work as your Senator.

What experience has prepared you for office?

District 11 has been my family's home for five generations. My father was born and raised in Garden City Kansas during the Mexican round ups during the 30s. He and his family were deported to Mexico and then he was drafted from Mexico to serve in WWII and the Korean War, ultimately serving our country for 21 years. My family's experience has shaped who I am today and my values for equity, justice and fairness. I spent 21 years at the Public Defender's office, where I worked as a criminal investigator. While working there, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa - the prognosis is total blindness. The transition was more palatable at the time because of the ADA accommodations in California. However, when I moved back home to Colorado Springs in 2011, I was dismayed to find that if sidewalks existed, they were not walkable, buses were only running M-F until 5:30pm and overall ADA accessibility was significantly lacking. This caused me to get involved and run for office.

I have been twice elected as Colorado Springs City Councilwoman for District 4, first elected in 2017. Since 2017 on council, I have brought over $200 million in economic development through infrastructure, transit, and the first of its kind neighborhood park into our community while continuing to advocate for ADA accessibility throughout our city. I am running to continue carrying on the progress I have made at the municipal level to the state level. In particular, I will prioritize addressing the housing crisis, sustainable and accessible transportation, and economic development.

Tony, Sr. Exum

What are your top three priorities if elected?

Supporting public education, protecting the environment, and helping low-income families, people of color, and the elderly live better lives. I’m on the House’s Education Committee because supporting public education is a high priority of mine: making sure our schools are well funded, our teachers are well-paid, our breakfast and lunch services for students are healthy, affordable, and filling, and our school buildings are well-maintained, safe and secure. Just as importantly, I run legislation protecting Colorado’s beautiful environment from exploitation and destruction: giving local governments more power to regulate oil and gas drilling within their jurisdictions and prohibiting the use during training of certain toxic PFAS firefighting foams. And I’m running for the State Senate to continue representing and helping my constituents: students, low-income families, people of color, the elderly, military personnel, first responders, and everyone in Senate District 11. I listen when people tell me they want safer schools, better education, environmental protections, police accountability, and improved elder care, among other things; and I work hard to support legislation addressing those issues. I believe my legislative record proves that. I’m running again to continue doing this good work.

What experience has prepared you for office?

See previous answer. Also, I’ve lived in southeast Colorado Springs for more than 60 years. After serving more than 35 years as a firefighter with the CSFD, rising to the rank of Battalion Chief, I retired in 2010. I then won election in 2012 to serve in the Colorado House of Representatives, as the representative from District 17 – covering Southeast Colorado Springs. I won election again in 2016, 2018, and 2020. I currently sit on the House’s Education committee and serve as Chair of the House’s Transportation & Local Government committee.


STATE SENATE DISTRICT 27

Senate District 27 is primarily based in Arapahoe County, containing Centennial east of South Quebec Street and southern Aurora. It also includes sections of Aurora that are in Douglas County.

Democrats: 30,650 Republicans: 28,629 Unaffiliated: 51,492 Total active voters: 112,458

Two Republican newcomers are battling to represent the district after redistricting left the seat with no incumbent. Rep. Tom Sullivan, a Democrat currently serving House District 37, is vying for the seat and running uncontested in his primary. First-time candidate Tom Kim, managing director of r2 Advisors, is running against former Aurora Public Schools board member JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin, who is now the owner of Frosted Jules Cookies and an academic director at the University of Colorado Boulder.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

Tom Kim

JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin

What are your top three priorities if elected?

I’m running on a platform focused on championing educational excellence, supporting law enforcement and prioritizing public safety, and making Colorado affordable. I’ve been out knocking doors since the end of January and these are the issues that are top of mind for voters. From a family desperately searching for a quality high school option for their student, to an automotive technician who had his garage broken into and equipment stolen, to my neighbor working in oil and gas and watching his company forced out of the state, it is obvious that change is needed. These are the issues that I’m running on as the next state senator from District 27. Education is everything when it comes to our future success as a community and as a state. I am an educator, former school board member, advocate for educational choice including charter schools, online options and homeschooling, and am a proponent of parental rights. Colorado deserves an education ecosystem that prepares students for success (whether entering the workforce, getting job training through an apprenticeship, pursuing career technical education or seeking out higher education), is aligned with workforce needs and equips students with the skills around how to think, not what to think. As a victim of a home burglary and multiple auto thefts, I have seen first-hand that we need to increase support and training for law enforcement and our first responders. There is additional work to be done to address the toll fentanyl is taking on our communities. Like all Coloradans, my family, my fixed income retired military mother and my own small business are feeling the pressures of inflation and burdensome regulations in Colorado. Recently, I attempted to expand my small business, but I was met with a laundry list of regulations that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and were not even applicable to my business model. I will fight to reduce burdens on businesses, end taxes disguised as fees and make Colorado affordable again.”

What experience has prepared you for office?

My life has been defined by service to my community and involvement in education. I’ve been an active member of the Aurora School Board, city budget and state education commissions, an employee at the Colorado Department of Education and, most recently, served on Colorado’s first independent congressional redistricting commission. I was elected to the Aurora School Board at the tail end of the Great Recession. This meant figuring out how to cut tens of millions of dollars while insulating classrooms from the effects as much as possible. I’m currently appointed to the City of Aurora Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. During the pandemic, I reviewed all city spending and recommended priority cuts to the City Council in the face of decreased city revenues. My work at the Colorado Department of Education helped me understand the intersection of legislation, rule making and policy implementation. Part of my work was evaluating federal grants: ensuring responsible use of public dollars and holding grantees accountable for advancing outcomes for learners. In 2021, I had the privilege of serving the state on the first Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. Through this work I was a consensus builder and a voice for rural Colorado. Collectively, all of the experiences make me uniquely qualified to run, win and serve. It’s my leadership and real-world experience that make me prepared to hit the ground running in January and get our state back on track! I understand what it means to govern, how to be responsive to what the community needs, the challenges of public budgets and I have been a dedicated steward of our state’s resources. When seeking to advance a specific issue or agenda, I know how, when and where to apply pressure, how to build coalitions and create forward momentum. I realize that simply throwing money at an issue doesn’t solve it and we must always be mindful of the unintended consequences of our decisions. All of this will guide me and my work at the state Capitol.”

Editor’s note: Registration numbers came from the Secretary of State’s database as of May 1, 2022

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