In the first election I’ll get to vote in (the 2018 Democratic primary for Governor of Colorado), I will be voting for Mike Johnston. But I’ll have to come to terms with something first.
In voting for a new governor, I’ll be voting for a replacement for my idol, current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper has been a figure in my life for as long as I can remember, first as Mayor of Denver (2003-2010) and now as Governor of Colorado. He has run strong governments in both positions, and has shaped me politically as well, as I’ve seen the successes behind his policies and how Denver and Colorado have both flourished under him. I have never met him, and really want to; it’s a minor life goal of mine. It’s really hard for me to grapple with him leaving public office in Colorado without a clear idea of where he’ll go next (2020 presidential campaign???). But in politics, we always have to move on, and so I have, to Mike Johnston.
For those of you who aren’t in the know about Colorado politics, Mike Johnston is a former State Senator from Denver whose focus has been strongly on education in Colorado and with the “innovative schools” program (charter schools). Johnston’s legislative work, as it relates to education, at least, is very impressive. The charter school system in Colorado is working at the top success rates of the country, providing students an equal opportunity for their educations and holding the schools accountable at the state level.
But what Johnston brings with him also is his personality. Johnston is a super-friendly, charismatic guy (just like my boy Hickenlooper), who can connect to Coloradans at any level. He’s young, and isn’t running on the failed, old, repeated platform and pattern that just doesn’t work for Democrats anymore. He’s exciting, and I’m confident he can beat any Republican in the general election.
What’s more, I’m concern about the other options for the Dems. Cary Kennedy is a terrible choice. Her political career is on its backside, and she has no chance of being able to do anything. Although it’d be nice to have a female governor here in Colorado, Kennedy is not exciting, has little energy, is not innovative with her campaign, and her whole platform right now seems to be that she loves Colorado. And then there’s Ed Perlmutter. He’s been in Colorado politics forever, and is a run-of-the-mill Democrat. But he’s the kind of Dem who was popular in 2008, and won’t be in 2018. He’s a friendly, fun guy, don’t get me wrong, but he just isn’t exciting enough to get 45% or more of Colorado behind his campaign. And his campaign site hasn’t even been working, so I’m not sure about his platform, which is kinda a deal-breaker for me.
So that’s why I’m supporting Mike Johnston. He’s that hope, that change, that new Democratic party following the 2016 debacle. I truly believe he can best carry the legacy of the greatest governor we’ve ever had, John Hickenlooper (yes I’m biased).