Kids Voting, Race for state Senate
By Remi Sepulveda
On Nov. 2, voters in Mesa County will mark ballots for a senator to represent District 7 in the Colorado Senate. District 7 is one of 35 state districts and represents Mesa County.
The three candidates for this race are Democrat Claudette Konola, Republican Steve King and Libertarian Gilbert Fuller. Fuller had indicated he is no longer interested in running, but it was too late to pull his name from the ballot.
Konola has been in Colorado since the 1960s and earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado. She represented a major Denver bank as the vice president for more than 30 years. Konola has experience in investing and financing for both large and small companies and spent much of her time and focus on startup owner-operated companies.
After retiring from banking, Konola managed, supported and served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.
These organizations include the Mesa County Revolving Loan Fund at the Business Incubator in Grand Junction, the Community Reinvestment Fund, Women’s Hall of Fame, The Women’s Bean Project, the Riverside Task Force and Downtown Denver Business and Professional Women.
King has served District 54 in the Colorado House of Representatives since 2006. Through two terms he has served on committees and sponsored or cosponsored several bills. In addition to his legislative experience, King has served as president of the Grand Junction Police Officer Association and president of the City of Grand Junction Employees Association.
Born in Michigan, King has lived in Colorado since 1980, when he moved to Grand Junction to attend Mesa State College. King earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1988 from Mesa State after serving several years with the Grand Junction Police Department. During his tenure with the department, he served as a patrol officer, training instructor and detective. In 1991, King and his wife founded American National Protective Services, a company that provides self-defense instruction to women, incident management and robbery prevention.
Konola outlined four major issues that she would address as a Colorado senator: employment, finance reform, education and clean air, water and food for all. “Finding ways to stimulate jobs creation in Colorado is my highest priority,” Konola said.
She said her business and banking background will help her support Colorado businesses. There are government programs that help with the acquisition of new equipment or buildings, but nothing that addresses the working capital needs of small businesses, Konola said.
She also said she would promote working capital lines of credit that would be offered through Colorado’s community banks and supported by cash deposits by the state government.
King also identified job creation as his primary concern. “The way to create jobs is to create an environment of stability for business and to encourage economic activity by allowing businesses and individuals to keep more of what they earn, to circulate and invest in a free market,” he said.
King said he would propose a systemic process to examine the budgets of each state government department and agency with the intent of reducing waste and returning the savings to Colorado families and businesses in the form of tax cuts.
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Remi Sepulveda is a senior at Fruita Monument High School and is reporting on election issues for The Daily Sentinel in conjunction with Kids Voting of Mesa County.