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Tuesday July 16th 2019

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That's what she said

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Endorsement Process Ignores Women Candidates


Chamber of Commerce (photo by the author)

With 16 days remaining until the votes are counted in Boulder’s 2011 municipal election, the newspapers and major groups are mostly done with their much-anticipated endorsements of candidates and ballot issues.

Each year, the talk among Boulder’s politically charged activists runs the gamut from the obvious questions of who will endorse whom and when the endorsements will land, to pondering how each group makes their decisions and which alliances will play out with the voters.  Guesses are made all around and there are always some surprises.

This year, for the first time ever, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce issued endorsements in City Council elections. They endorsed a slate of four male business candidates: two incumbents, one repeat candidate, and a newcomer to politics.  No surprise there except this happens to be a year when two women, Susan Osborne and Crystal Gray, who have each brought incredible depth and decades of knowledge to the council, have chosen not to run again.

Employing a well-used move of not endorsing candidates for all five open seats, the Chamber flubbed by ignoring two capable women running for city council this year.  The Chamber’s failure to endorse even one woman seems particularly mystifying when you take a closer look at the two women running for council:

  • Lisa Morzel, running for re-election, is a research geologist first elected to council after providing years of leadership to the community during the formation of the North Boulder Sub-Community Plan.  Now having served on council for three terms she is a proven leader and effective policy maker.
  • Suzanne Jones, Regional Director of the Wilderness Society, has served on Boulder’s Environmental Advisory Board and the Blue Ribbon Commission II. She brings wide experience working with diverse groups on the national, state and local levels in finding long-term sustainable solutions that make good policy.

In their first attempt at the endorsement game in Boulder, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce managed to lose the membership of the City of Boulder and some other businesses offended by their taking action in a local election.

Additionally, four business-leaning groups chose the same exact four candidates out of the field of thirteen candidates.  Mimicking the Boulder Chamber of Commerce in their endorsements were:

  • BARA, Boulder Area Board of Realtors;
  • BOC, Boulder Outdoor Coalition;
  • FIDOS, Friends Interested In Dogs and Open Space (members of BOC);
  • and BMA, Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance (also members of BOC).

Ignoring Morzel and Jones didn’t make these candidates go away.  Both women were endorsed by the Boulder Weekly, PLAN-Boulder County, the Sierra Club-Indian Peaks Group, Save Open Space Boulder, and the Daily Camera.  Lisa Morzel is running for her fourth term and is likely to be the largest vote getter on November 1.  Suzanne Jones has been widely recognized as a high-quality leader causing the Daily Camera to say today, “Suzanne Jones has a wealth of legislative and environmental knowledge…she can understand the positions of a substantial chunk of the constituency.”

In a little over two weeks we will know how the majority voted and that’s what really counts.

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