By Anthony Bowe
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
May 8 was informally designated “John’s Day” by Democrats in the 6th Congressional District after they unanimously nominated John Flerlage, 52, for Congress.
“We wanted that day to be his day because he deserves it,” said CD 6 Chair Paula Noonan.
Over 200 delegates voted for Flerlage at the congressional assembly at Highlands Ranch High School where he was nominated by Mike Hamrick, Arapahoe County Democratic chairman, with a second from Sarah Mann, Douglas County Democratic chairman.
Noonan said Flerlage delivered an impassioned speech to delegates that resulted in a standing ovation. Flerlage cited President Franklin Roosevelt’s four freedoms speech in his remarks.
Also addressing the assembly were Pat Waak, Democratic state chair; Stan Garnett, candidate for Attorney General; Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, and Adam Dunstone on behalf of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.
Waak attended the assembly so she could see Flerlage nominated despite it falling on her wedding anniversary.
“I was impressed, excited and glad she was there,” Flerlage said.
Approximately 80 people attended a picnic and barbeque after the assembly to celebrate the nomination.
Flerlage will face Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the general election. Republicans have held the seat in CD 6 — which includes parts of Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson and Park counties — since its inception 27 years ago. Flerlage estimates that it will take the support from all of the district’s Democrats, half of the unaffiliated voters, and some Republicans to defeat Coffman.
Flerlage currently has $26,411 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Coffman has $401,511 on hand, according to FEC filings.
Flerlage said his first priority in Congress would be to create jobs. For that to happen, he said, funding for K-12 must increase, investments in renewable energy must continue, and trade exports must grow.
“I’m not opposed to any type of energy but it needs to be moved toward clean and it needs to be American made. We need to have a balance in energy between security and environmental concern,” Flerlage said.
Flerlage wants to responsibly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After a 22-year career in the Marine Corp. as a fighter jet pilot and fighter weapons instructor, Flerlage said he’s more than qualified to make complicated decisions in Washington D.C.
The newly designated Democratic candidate said that U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is an inspiration to him and he would echo the 7th District congressman’s style, which means not just working in Washington, but accomplishing goals in his home district. When Flerlage speaks with voters comparing Perlmutter’s community work with that of Coffman and former Rep. Tom Tancredo, Flerlage said, “they really open up to my candidacy.”
Flerlage includes a list of endorsements on his campaign Web site. The list includes both U.S. Senators from Colorado, several former elected officials, six state lawmakers and a few unions.