Aaron Harber announces 60 programs of 'mutually respectful' talk on Colorado elections

Aaron Harber.

Lafayette Democrat Aaron Harber, host of the long-running public affairs television show that bears his name, is running for the open University of Colorado Board of Regents seat representing the 2nd Congressional District in next year's election.

Harber is facing a Democratic primary with Callie Rennison and David Gross for the seat held by Democrat Linda Schoemaker, who isn't seeking another six-year term on the nine-member board.

Boasting a relationship with CU stretching back more than 50 years — from learning computer programming at the university's computer center when he was a student at Boulder's Fairview High School to being the parent of a junior at CU Boulder today — Harber says his experience in higher education, the nonprofit world, government, politics and media means he can "hit the ground running" as a regent.

"I believe my proven ability to bring disparate parties together to engage in civil and mutually respectful discussion is exactly what the university and the Board of Regents need today, especially given the high-profile of its dysfunction in recent years," Harber said in a statement.

Declaring that CU "faces a number of tough challenges on its four campuses ... and seriously needs new leadership to address them," Harber says he wants to reduce the cost of attending CU and points to a series of goals he outlined on his TV show, including increasing transparency, providing students better value for their degrees, freezing tuition and greater access for disadvantaged students.

Harber added that as newly hired CU President Mark Kennedy develops a strategic plan, he wants to "carry all of our voices forward from every corner of the state of Colorado to be an active part of the refinement and implementation process."

Said Harber: "The process of recognizing the seriousness of our challenges is the first step in creating a better university. I am confident the faculty, staff, students and alumni of CU, along with many citizens of Colorado, have great ideas we should consider. I am excited to reach out and listen to you and others who want to share thoughts about how to improve CU and higher education in Colorado."

Harber is perhaps best known as host and producer of The Aaron Harber Show, which has featured a plethora of high-profile guests over the years, from former FBI Director Robert Mueller and Queen No'or of Jordan to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner.

He has been an occasional contributor to Colorado Politics and partnered with the publication last year to produce a series of debates ahead of the 2018 election.

Harber served as an elected member of Princeton University's Board of Trustees and was the inaugural chairman and president of CU Professor Nancy Spanier’s eponymous Nancy Spanier Dance Theatre of Colorado.

Including unsuccessful runs for secretary of state in 1982 and 1990, Harber's involvement with the Democratic Party spans decades. He served as secretary to the state party and was elected in 1996 and 2000 as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Regents oversee the CU system’s $4.8 billion annual budget and make key hiring and policy decisions for the university’s four campuses: CU Boulder, CU Colorado Springs, CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The board includes seven members, elected from each of the state's congressional districts, and two at-large members.

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