Candidates nominated in various races for Regent
By Jimy Valenti
The Republican 5-4 majority on the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents could be in the balance as Democrat Melissa Hart received her party’s nomination at the state assembly last Saturday to challenge Republican incumbent Steve Bosley for the at-large regent seat.
The CU law professor was nominated by acclamation because her Democratic challenger, Howard Wachtel, dropped out of the race early Saturday morning.
Hart said one of the toughest challenges in running for CU regent is voter apathy, but said many Democrats are excited to send an incumbent Republican packing.
“We need to work hard to take back the CU Board of Regents from the Republicans,” said Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, in seconding Hart’s nomination.
State Senator Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, and CD 1 Regent Michael Carrigan also nominated Hart. Carrigan lauded Hart’s involvement in defeating 2008’s Amendment 46 that would have eliminated equal opportunity programs at CU and other public schools throughout the state.
In her nomination speech, Hart said she would focus on keeping CU affordable and inclusive.
“Our children deserve an affordable public system of higher education in Colorado,” Hart said. “We cannot continue to raise tuition and cut programs, and yet the Republican majority on the board seem to see these as the only options.”
In an interview with before her nomination, Hart said garnering support for a regents race can sometimes be challenging. She said Coloradans understand the issues at the center of her candidacy, but many do not understand what the regents do — or can do — in regards to solving these issues for all of Colorado’s colleges and universities. The majority of Colorado’s families will not send their children to CU, but she said the university is an important economic driver in the state.
Hart said the entire system of higher education must work together as a whole, but that the board’s Republican majority has taken the position to save CU and sweep away the rest.
Hart said she looks forward to traveling across the state this summer to convince voters that she would serve Coloradans better than incumbent Steve Bosley of Boulder. Hart promised her two young children that they can march in parades if they join her on the campaign trail.
CU professor Wachtel, a former Republican, said he dropped out of the race to finish his book about the human brain. He also acknowledged that Democratic insiders favored Hart from the onset.
Hart grew up in Denver and graduated from East High school in 1987. She graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court. Hart practiced law in Washington, D.C., including as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice before coming to CU in 2000. She and her husband, Kevin Traskos, live in Denver and have two young children.
Bosley was nominated through acclamation at the Republican state assembly on the same day.
Republican Sue Sharkey defeated Kelly Barlean for the regent seat, garnering 87 percent delegate support at the CD 4 assembly. She will face Democrat Robert Bishop-Cotner. Michael Carrigan was nominated through acclamation at the CD 1 assembly and is running unopposed.