Thornton — If Republican State Senator Beth Martinez Humenik had just one message for constituents in Senate District 24 it would be to look at her record.
Martinez Humenik said she is proud of the way she’s been able to reach across the aisle and get things done in her first term of office. She believes that trait makes her better equipped to continue serving the people of her district for another four years.
Last session, Martinez Humenik put her name on 23 bills. She sponsored or co-sponsored 15 of those with Democrats and 14 of those were signed by the Governor.
Her opponent, Rep. Faith Winter, D-Adams County, had four of the eight bills she sponsored or co-sponsored with a Republican signed by the Governor — three of those had Martinez Humenik’s name on them as well.
“I work very well, collaboratively across the aisle,” Martinez Humenik said. “Almost all my bills from the time I got elected have been bipartisan bills because I know the importance of working together to get things done for the people that we serve.”
Complete Colorado is taking a look at key races for Democrats in their effort to “take back” the Senate. Senate District 22 has already been profiled.
Winter did not return requests for interview from Complete Colorado.
Republicans currently hold a one-vote majority in the Senate, with seven seats term-limited — three Democrats, three Republicans and one unaffiliated, formally held by Cheri Jahn, who caucused with the Democrats. One more seat, Senate District 11 has two new contenders as Democrat Mike Merrifield is not seeking re-election.
Ten more seats are up for election with incumbents. Seven are currently held by Republicans to just three by Democrats. In all, Democrats need to win eight of the open 17 seats to gain control.
By contrast in the House, Democrats hold a seven-vote majority with seven Democrat seats open, five to term limits. Winter’s decision to run for the Senate opened her seat, as did Brittany Pettersen’s decision to run for Senate District 22. Lang Sias being selected as Walker Stapleton’s choice for Lieutenant Governor left the lone Republican seat without an incumbent in House District 27.
Winter outpaces Martinez Humenik in the fundraising effort, raising nearly $200,000 as of the last reporting period, with a large portion of it coming in Political Action Committee (PAC) funding from such organizations as the Public Education Committee, Colorado Conservation Action Fund, Political Education Committee — which is the group that spearheads Democratic Socialists of America’s political education work — and Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, to name a few.
Winter also has dozens of the individual maximum contributions ($400) from donors affiliated with large corporations, healthcare non-profits, education, anti-Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) groups and lobbying firms.
Winter had nearly $150,000 cash on hand at the end of the last reporting period.
Martinez Humenik on the other hand has raised just under $52,000 through the last reporting period. She started off the campaign with $10,000 in the bank and has $34,000 cash on hand.
Martinez Humenik has donated more than $8,000 of her own money to her campaign and has mostly small donations from individuals. She does have some PAC funding, but most is in $400 donations.
She is supported by such groups as the Colorado Medical Society Small Donor Committee, the Colorado Petroleum Marketers Association and the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers State Political Committee, to name a few.
Winter is part of a larger national movement by Democrats to make the 2018 races about identity politics, which is focused on women, Latinas and homosexuals.
According to Emily’s List — a non-profit whose mission is to “work for larger leadership roles for pro-choice Democratic women in our legislative bodies” — 52 percent of Democrats who have filed to run for state legislative offices are women and more than one-third of Colorado’s legislature is women.
Winter’s platform: “(Democrat) women will take back the Colorado State Senate” is in line with her involvement with the “Sister District Project” — whose motto is “The Blue Wave is Coming.”
According to its website the organization “aims to ensure that all Americans have equal representation and our government works for all people, not just the minority in power.” However, the organization admits its purpose is to make the representation and the power more progressive by organizing “volunteers into local teams based on where they live, and “sister” this deep blue energy with swing districts across the country to support strategic state races that matter.”
Candidates supported by this effort are “paired with teams of volunteers who are holding fundraisers, making calls, writing postcards, and even planning canvassing trips.”
Tammy Story, who is running against incumbent Tim Neville in Senate District 16, is the only other “Sister District Project” candidate.
Winter made a name for herself in 2018 by leading the #MeToo movement at the Capitol. She successfully lead the expulsion of fellow representative Steve Lebsock, in an unprecedented workplace sexual harassment fight, the first expulsion in more than 100 years.
Lebsock recently told Denver Radio personality Karen Kataline, who was filling in on the Jimmy Lakey show, that the accusations were all part of a larger plot that included U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter and the chairwoman of the Colorado Democrat party Morgan Carroll targeting Republican men in the State Senate, where Republicans hold a one-vote majority.
Although Winter was on the negotiating team that rewrote Senate Bill 1, a transportation funding effort, all twelve bills Winter sponsored in 2018 focused on increasing government regulations or increased spending. None dealt with Colorado’s failing highway system, energy or K-12 education funding.
According to her campaign website her main focuses are on family, transportation, conservation and women’s rights.
Martinez Humenik’s views on the issues:
Gun Control — “Colorado has some of the strictest gun control measures in the United States. The federal government was here this year talking about them. We can make all the laws we want to, but we can’t control people’s behavior. We have a shortage of mental health providers. It’s even more critical in our rural communities. We have to find a better way to provide access to them and the care that is needed.”
Energy — “What has happened when we put all our eggs in one basket? 100 percent of anything is not a good thing. We have a plethora of natural resources here that we should be able to tap into. We have very strict restrictions to make sure it’s done responsibly. If we restrict setbacks to 2,500 feet, the state of Colorado’s economy is going to go down. People are going to lose jobs. This is all being driven by groups out of our state. If oil and gas go away, you will see a lot of new taxes and fees, and Colorado will become a state where business does not want to come in.”
The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) — “Having our tax laws the way they are helped us be successful through the recession. People just want us to be good stewards of their money. TABOR was voted on by the people. And until it is voted on by the people to take it out of the constitution, we have a duty to obey the laws of the constitution. While I believe it can be restrictive in some ways, I believe it was designed to do that so there wouldn’t be overspending. And whether people like it or not, it actually serves Colorado pretty well.”
Educational Choice — “I am in favor of parental choice for education. The public school system doesn’t serve every child the best it can. Parents need to have the opportunity to make that choice for their children.”
Growth — “Colorado is leading the way. We have a lot of diverse people coming together to lead the way and find what’s works best for Colorado. Right now, we have a lot of businesses moving here and we’re thriving so our economy is doing well, but the influx of people moving in is driving the housing market up to the point where a lot of the people who grew up here can’t afford to live here anymore. It’s a catch 22.”
Transportation — “We should have been addressing this and planning for this growth years ago, but nobody did it. Private/public partnerships are what we’ve been looking at for about five or six years now. I don’t know why people have an aversion to that because that’s the way we’re going to be able to fund some of these, and/or build coalitions with other groups that have funding. The state has to fund what is already in statute, so what has gotten cut in the past to make up for it is transportation and education.”
Overall Martinez Humenik said she works hard working with others on issues that make sense .
“I have built a solid reputation at the Capitol,” Martinez Humenik said. “Anyone is welcome in my office, no matter what their issue is. It has always been that way, and it will always continue to be that way. I’m willing to listen. I work very hard because what happens to the people I serve is very important to me.”