Regents at-largeBoth major-party candidates for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents this year are well qualified for the post.
We had the pleasure of interviewing the Republican, Ken Montera, a retired business executive, and the Democrat, Lesley Smith, a scientist and an educator.
We wish the Regents did not have a partisan cast. We don’t really see what party politics has to do with oversight of a big and laudable university system. We asked both Montera and Smith about this, and both convinced us that their aims were purely to see CU be the best it can be.
However, partisan politics have encroached on the CU Regents as they are now composed. President Donald Trump recently tweeted that he thought Google’s search engine was unfair to conservatives. A majority of the nine regents are conservatives who lately have been concerned that not enough is being done to ensure there are conservative voices and faculty on campus.
We get it. We’re just not sure it’s their job. If the regents are going to crusade, we want them to crusade for higher education and access to it.
Smith, a longtime Boulder resident, would be the only regent who has faculty experience. She is concerned with ways to make a CU education more affordable, which we think is terribly important. She is a “pragmatic Democrat,” she told us. If the board is truly concerned with diversity, she is just the leavening it needs. We like Lesley Smith for CU Board of Regents.
Regents District 3In the CU Regent District 3 contest, incumbent Glen Gallegos, a Republican from Grand Junction, is facing a challenge from Democrat Alvin Rivera of Pueblo.
Gallegos brought a good balance of career experience to his first term. He worked for 26 years as a teacher, coach, principal and director of education for the Eagle and Mesa county school districts, and upon retirement, served as president of operations for his family’s construction company, in charge of more than 1,000 employees working on projects in five states.
Gallegos has focused on ensuring students from the district are well represented in Boulder and at CU’s other campuses, and has worked to bring faculty and other campus representatives to the Western Slope to meet educators, parents and prospective students.
As chairman of CU’s Capital Construction Committee, Gallegos oversaw a $165 million addition to the university’s stadium at Folsom Field.
Originally from the San Luis Valley, Gallegos is the first college graduate in his family.
Like Gallegos, Rivera is justly proud of his roots. A son of a Trinidad miner, Rivera is the first in his family to graduate from college.
Rivera is also seeking more representation by the university in rural Colorado, and calls on the board to do more to ensure graduates have incentives to return to their hometowns after graduation.
“CU comes to the district to take our students, then takes our money, and we don’t see them again,” he said during a visit to The Durango Herald’s editorial board earlier this year.
In a contest with two candidates who share many similarities in background and stated goals, we don’t wish to rely on party affiliation as a distinguishing factor. Instead, we choose experience. Glen Gallegos has done a fine job in his first term and has earned our recommendation for another.