Among the decisions Jefferson County voters will make in November is who will be the District 7 representative for the University of Colorado Board of Regents.
The candidates are Republican, Mary Dambman, Democrat and incumbent Irene Griego and Libertarian Eric Robinson.
Dambman and Griego took part in a forum in Wheat Ridge last week to discuss their campaign stances. Robinson was unable to attend the forum, and did not respond in time for this article.
The nine CU regents are responsible for supervising decisions that effect the university and controlling the funds and appropriations of the school. Generally, members serve six-year terms, but there have been exceptions.
Griego was appointed to the position Nov. 19, 2011, by Gov. John Hickenlooper after former Regent Monisha Merchant resigned to work in Sen. Michael Bennet’s office.
Prior to the appointment, Griego was a community superintendent for Jeffco Public Schools for 10 years. She supervised 37 K-12 schools in the district. She has worked as a faculty member for the University of Colorado Denver, Teachers for Colorado Program, and Metropolitan State College of Denver. She has been a principal and assistant principal for several schools, and was a classroom teacher for Denver Public Schools.
At the forum, Griego said what sets her apart from her opponents is her perspective on education because of her experience in classrooms, at universities and as a CU regent.
“What I’ve learned is that students have to be first,” she said.
She said if elected, her priorities will be making college affordable, giving students good professors and preparing the student population to enter the workforce.
Dambman said that, as a fourth generation Coloradan, she has the best interest of Colorado students in mind, but has seen education all over the country, which she believes gives her a good working background.
She earned her master’s degree at Colorado College and taught English at the Air Academy High School.
She was named chairman of the English Department and elected president of the Air Academy Education Association.
She decided to change careers and began pursuing political aspirations.
“I felt I could accomplish as much there as I could in the classroom,” Dambman said.
In 1982, she ran for the state House of Representatives District 20 seat, and served in the General Assembly for three terms, sitting on education committees among others.
She said she was responsible in part for working with higher-education legislation, amending the state’s budget bill, and securing in-state tuition rates for dependents of active-duty military personnel.