John Carson

Right now, Republicans now control the nine-member University of Colorado Regents board by five to four, but all that could change if Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, and their union BFFs have their way.  The CD6 seat, currently held by Republican Jim Geddes, is up for grabs and Republican John Carson and Democrat Naquetta Ricks competing for the seat.

Democrats aren’t going to let this one go easily.  According to the July 1 campaign finance report, Ricks has raised $37,563 from top donors like Pat Stryker ($400), Jared Polis ($400), Mark Udall ($100), as well as the United Food and Commercial Workers ($4,250), and the Pipefitters Local 208 union ($200).

But, why would Dems care about controlling this board?  Because Republicans, led by Regents Sue Sharkey and Geddes, have pushed an academic-freedom agenda aimed at countering the deep liberal bias at CU-Boulder. Here are just two exmples:

  • In September 2013, the board voted to add “political affiliation or political philosophy” to its non-discrimination clause, which is believed to be a national first.
  • The board also approved a “campus climate survey” to examine all forms of discrimination at CU, including political discrimination.

But, perhaps even more of a motive for union involvement was Carson’s role on the Douglas County School Board.  Carson was the president of the school board when it allowed its contract with the DougCo teachers union, the Douglas County Federation of Teachers, to expire on June 30, 2012.

Just yesterday, The Colorado Observer reported a 25% drop in union membership.  From the article:

The teachers’ union representing the Douglas County school system has lost one-quarter of its membership, signaling a growing frustration within the ranks that dues are used to finance politics instead of professional development.

It is critical to keep a Republican in the spot.  While CU Regent is often overlooked, it would appear that this is one race worth watching.