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ENDORSEMENT WATCH | Polis wins backing from outdoor industry trade group

Author: Ernest Luning - August 30, 2018 - Updated: September 13, 2018

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) speaks while accepting his nomination for governor at the 2018 Colorado Democratic State Assembly at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield on April 14, 2018. (Andy Colwell / Colorado Politics)

The Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group representing 1,300 companies involved in the outdoor industry, endorsed U.S. Rep. Jared Polis for governor of Colorado this week, citing the Boulder Democrat’s “Keep Colorado Wild” plan to protect public lands and promote the state’s outdoor recreation industry, which supports an estimated 229,000 jobs.

“Jared Polis is OIA’s clear choice to be Colorado’s next governor,” said Amy Roberts, the group’s executive director, in a statement. “We know, not only through his support and actions in the past, but through his commitment to Colorado’s future that he will take bold steps through his ‘Keep Colorado Wild’ plan to strengthen our state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy and ensure Coloradans’ access to public lands – we can’t wait to see him in action as our next governor.”

The Boulder and Washington, D.C.-based group, which awarded Polis its Friend of the Outdoor Industry award in 2015, pointed to his role as co-chair of the House Outdoor Recreation Caucus and history sponsoring legislation to protect public lands and boost international trade.

Polis said in a statement that he welcomed the endorsement.

“Our outdoor recreation economy sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wages,” he said. “Together we will protect the public lands that make our state such a special place to live, while growing the outdoor economy that enables so many Coloradans to earn a good living.”

Polis is running against Republican Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s state treasurer, for the seat held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Here are some of the other recently announced Colorado candidate endorsements:

• Karen McCormick, the Democratic nominee challenging U.S. Rep. Ken Buck in the 4th Congressional District, won endorsement from three labor unions, including the Communications Workers of America, the local chapter of the Laborers International Union of North America and the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

“Our legislative and political program supports the election of worker-friendly officials and the passage of legislation to support workers, their families, and good jobs,” said Madison Cassels, president of the Communication Workers of America Colorado and Wyoming council, in a statement.

The union counts 13 locals in Colorado and represents a range of workers, from telecommunications professionals and hospital workers to flight attendants and ski patrollers, Denver Public Schools custodians to newspaper and other media workers.

The president of the 5,200-member state letter carriers union, Doug Jaynes, said that endorsing McCormick was “an easy selection” based on the veterinarian’s commitment to worker’s rights.

Anthony Trujillo, business manager and secretary-treasurer of the Local 720 chapter of the laborers union, said in a statement that McCormick would give his members the best shot at a path to the middle class.

“We need to protect collective bargaining rights, promote apprenticeship utilization, create good energy policy, and ensure that construction projects get done on time and with good labor standards through best value contracting,” Trujillo said.

• El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder endorsed Chance Hill, the attorney and former CIA agent running as the Republican nominee for the University of Colorado Board of Regents from the 5th Congressional District.

“Chance has quickly established himself as a leader in Colorado Springs and the 5th Congressional District, and I fully expect that he will continue to serve the state of Colorado with distinction,” Elder said in a statement. “He is smart, capable, articulate, driven, hardworking, and passionate. Having come to know him well through his various community activities, I can tell you that Chance will be a strong advocate for UCCS. He knows how to build consensus and build bridges with different kinds of people, but he also is not afraid to be a fighter for the causes in which he believes.

Hill is running against Democrat Tony Wolusky for the open seat.

• The American Federation of Government Employees endorsed two Democrats running for Congress — former CU Regent Joe Neguse, a candidate for the open 2nd Congressional District seat, and women’s and ethnic studies teacher Stephany Rose Spaulding, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 5th Congressional District.

The union represents more than 50,000 federal workers in Colorado’s region, which covers eight states and two territories, and is the largest federal employee union in the country.

• The 2,700-member Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 endorsed Julia Stewart, a candidate for the northwest Denver District C seat on the nonpartisan RTD board. The seat is currently represented by Bonnie “Ernest” Archuleta, who is seeking reelection.

The local union’s president and business agent, Julio Rivera, said in a written statement that Stewart “will bring the kind of ‘new blood’ RTD desperately needs as it faces the challenges of building out FasTracks, providing affordable and safe public transportation, and making sure that transit employees are honored for their contribution to the cause.”

• Run for Something, the national organization that recruits and supports young progressive candidates, included four Democratic statehouse nominees and one candidate for nonpartisan local office in its latest round of endorsements.

The legislative candidates winning the group’s backing are Yadira Caraveo in House District 31, Gbenga Ajiboye in House District 48, Rebecca Cranston in Senate District 15 and Julie Gonzales in Senate District 34.

Dalton Valette, a candidate for Superior’s board of trustees, also got the group’s backing.

Won an endorsement or handed one out? Let us know at

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.