Though they may be opponents in a highly competitive election for the Senate District 19 seat, incumbent Evie Hudak and her Republican challenger, …
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Though they may be opponents in a highly competitive election for the Senate District 19 seat, incumbent Evie Hudak and her Republican challenger, Lang Sias, have one major issue in the forefront of their minds: the economy.
Though their pasts are different, both candidates said they are focusing on growing the economy because that’s what their constituents tell them they are most worried about.
Voters in the district, which covers parts of Arvada and Westminster, are divided almost evenly among Democrats, Republicans and independents, making the race one of the most contested seats for years.
Hudak has a strong background in education, having worked as a secondary and business-college teacher for 20 years and as program director for several education-related programs, including the School Readiness Childcare Improvement Program and Kids Voting.
She also volunteers as a lobbyist for the state PTA, sat on the state Board of Education for eight years and has served on the legislative education committee since she took office in January 2009, all of which she said helps qualify her to return as a senator.
“My experience as an educator gives me a lot of background for all of the education bills, and we deal with a lot of them,” Hudak said. “I have gotten to see our state legislature from many different points of view. I’ve looked at education from an actively involved parent’s perspective, the state department of education, as a teacher in the classroom, and as a policymaker in terms of laws and rules.”
Sias served in the military for 26 years — 12 years of active duty as a Navy fighter pilot and 14 years of inactive duty in the Air National Guard.
“Both in the states and overseas, I was in a lot of teamwork and leadership positions where doing the right thing made a huge difference for yourself and the people around you,” Sias said. “It is a demonstration of service and how I’ll perform when there is public trust in me, both in terms of work ethic and judgment.”
Sias grew up watching his parents run a small business, has legal experience advocating for small businesses as a lawyer and now works for FedEx, all of which he said helps him understand the struggles small-businessowners are facing.
But both candidates are listening to voters.
“Growing the economy is really No 1,” Hudak said. “The components of that are creating jobs and improving education and investing in education. They are all connected to growing the economy. That is the No. 1 thing I hear when I ask people what they think the priority is for the state — the economy and education, almost always.”
Sias and Hudak both say a major goal is growing the economy through creating jobs and improving education to make the state more attractive and better prepare children for the future.
“That desire to make the state a desirable place is the prism I am going to look at everything through,” Sias said. “Education is hugely important because people want a place where their kids can be well-educated, and it, in turn, becomes something that helps the economy.”
Hudak and Sias are concerned about education for personal reasons, too.
Hudak has an adult daughter, and Sias has three children ranging in age from 2 to 8.
“It’s an increasingly competitive world, and a world-class education is part of being prepared for the 21st century. It’s certainly what I want for my children,” Sias said.
Education funding is a hot topic this election season — specifically in Jefferson County, with 3A and 3B on the ballot.
The candidates have different views on the ballot measure.
“I’m supporting them,” Hudak said. “I am very familiar with the fact that the state has cut more than a billion dollars in the last few years. I’ve been to many, many meetings, and I’m very familiar with their budget and where the money goes. It’s a step in the right direction, but until we make up for the billion dollars — and we weren’t fully funding education then — we’re going to continue to suffer.”
Sias said, though he supports improving education, he is not taking a public stance on the issues. He said he is focusing on running his campaign and neither advocating nor opposing campaign issues.
Hudak and Sias will take part in an election forum Oct. 10 during the Arvada Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon.
The forum is rescheduled from an August event at which Hudak was unable to participate because she was taken to the hospital for a food allergy.
The forum will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at DiCicco’s, 5660 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. To register, call 303-424-0313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost for the forum is the usual fee for chamber luncheons: $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.
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