DENVER – Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez on Tuesday released his first TV advertisement in which he highlights education.
The former congressman’s spot – called “Opportunity” – features him in a school library reading to children.
“It’s simple: Opportunity, a good job, it starts with a great education, and our children deserve an education second to none,” Beauprez says in the ad.
“I’m Bob Beauprez, as governor, I have a plan to do just that: Improve reading and tutoring programs starting in kindergarten; give parents and teachers more choice and control; and increase technical training for a career-ready workforce,” Beauprez continues in the 30-second ad.
The spot brings education to the forefront, a critical issue that has been overshadowed in the race by attacks on Gov. John Hickenlooper.
On Monday, Beauprez toured Monument Academy, a charter school in Monument, where he expressed support for opting-out of federal education mandates such as Common Core.
The issue has become a political football, with Republicans attacking the K-12 guidelines that set requirements in math and language arts at each grade level.
Colorado adopted the standards in 2010.
Conservatives worry that the mandates give government too much control over education, while others point to burdens placed on teachers and administrators.
“For too long, Colorado politicians have failed to make effective K-12 education outcomes a priority,” Beauprez said. “Common Core is an additional government mandate that burdens taxpayers, parents, teachers and students. Common Core narrows the choices available to students and forces teachers to make decisions based on what’s coming out of Washington, D.C.”
But Hickenlooper’s campaign points out that he also has made education a priority during his four years in office.
In 2012, Hickenlooper was so passionate about a third-grade literacy reform measure in the Legislature that he made a rare appearance to testify in favor of the bill. He drew upon his own troubled experiences as a dyslexic student who was forced to repeat seventh grade.
Hickenlooper’s lieutenant governor, Joe Garcia, also has a long history in education and serves as the executive director of the Department of Higher Education.
“A few of the things Governor Hickenlooper and Lt. Governor Garcia have done to improve education in Colorado include prioritizing third-grade literacy, developing transparency for school budgets, supporting higher education reform for students to focus on outcomes, establishing a statewide scholarship fund, signing bipartisan education funding measures and consolidating early-childhood programs into the Office of Early Childhood to streamline services, so that every Colorado child is set up to succeed throughout their time in the classroom,” said Eddie Stern, a Hickenlooper campaign spokesman.
The governor’s campaign pointed to efforts to bring transparency to schools by signing legislation that allows taxpayers to compare academic performance data with how schools spend money.
Hickenlooper also signed a bill this year that provided $100 million for higher education and limited tuition increases. And he supported a measure that provided in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Meanwhile, Hickenlooper continues to outpace Beauprez in fundraising.
Over the last two-week period through Sept. 10 – which was filed on Monday – Beauprez raised $129,739 to Hickenlooper’s $221,918. Hickenlooper has $602,641 in the bank, compared to Beauprez’s $362,739.
Beauprez is operating off of a $527,000 loan he made to his own campaign. He has raised $957,534, and has spent more than $1.1 million.
Hickenlooper has raised more than $4.1 million and has spent about $3.5 million.
The Republican Governors Association has been assisting Beauprez by running three ads. But the organization declined to comment on whether it plans to continue assisting Beauprez, stating that it does not discuss strategy publicly.
But Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the RGA, indicated that his organization is not done yet.
“I can tell you we are going to make sure voters know how John Hickenlooper’s failed policies have put Colorado on the wrong path and why Bob Beauprez is the best candidate to lead the state forward,” he said.