Advocating for our members is at the forefront of the Denver Metro Chamber’s work. The business community recently gathered to hear from candidates for statewide office at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s 2022 Candidate Forum. We also held a committee meeting to hear from candidates running for Congressional Districts 7 and 8. The Colorado Competitive Council also got the chance to speak with Senator Hickenlooper at a Steering Committee meeting. We used each of these settings to dive into business issues with candidates and officials to understand how their policies might impact our economy and business climate.
Candidates for Colorado Attorney General, U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial Races Address Business Community
Candidates Phil Weiser, John Kellner, Joe O’Dea, Michael Bennet, Heidi Ganahl and Jared Polis all shared their stances on business issues
Nearly 200 business leaders and community members gathered for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s 2022 Candidate Forum at the University of Denver. Featured candidates answered questions developed by the Leadership Foundation and business community. The conversations were moderated by senior reporter at the Denver Business Journal, Ed Sealover.
Here are some of the top takeaways from candidates:
Attorney General Race
Phil Weiser | D- Incumbent, Attorney General
His Top Business Issues: the opioid crisis, public safety, holding irresponsible businesses accountable and being transparent with the business community.
What he said: “I am committed to never being in a position where I may take an action against a company or individual without them have a change to explain,” said Weiser.
John Kellner | R- Challenger, currently Arapahoe County District Attorney
His Top Business Issues: reversing the crime wave, citing that Colorado is at a 25 year high for crime
What he said: The financial toll of this crime wave is costing Colorado, saying that some sources “put the cost of crime at nearly $31 billion.” He would fight to “make possession of any amount of fentanyl a crime again.”
U.S. Senate Race
Joe O’Dea | R- Challenger, currently a local business owner
His Top Business Issues: preventing frivolous spending, tighten up fiscal policies, and cut back bureaucracies and programs
What he said: “Government [is] getting in our way. Not allowing us to grow our businesses.”
Michael Bennet | D- Incumbent, U.S. Senator
His Top Business Issues: leading the energy transition over the next several years, reshoring supply chains to the U.S., K-12 education.
What he said: “We have an opportunity to lead this [fossil fuel] transition. And this transition is going to take at least a quarter of a century.”
Heidi Ganahl | R- Challenger, currently CU Regent
Her Top Business Issues: crime, high suicide rates for children, inflation and burdensome business regulations
What she said: We need to “make sure red tape doesn’t get in the way of building businesses.”
Jared Polis | D- Incumbent, currently Governor
His Top Business Issues: saving Coloradans money, the housing crisis, and making us the safest state in the nation.
What he said: he will stay focused on “housing, and healthcare, and education and workforce,” and improving transportation and infrastructure.
J. J. Ament, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, closed the event by emphasizing the importance of both sides of the political spectrum working together, stating, “no matter how you align politically or what you envision for the future of Colorado, I think we can agree that all of us are fighting for the continued growth and prosperity of our residents, businesses and state.”
Candidates for Congressional Districts 7 and 8 Talk Business at Chamber Committee Meeting
On Oct. 3, Congressional Candidates State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld, running for Congressional District 8) and Erik Aadland (R-Pine, running for Congressional District 7) attended the Chamber’s committee meeting to discuss their vision for the business community. Democratic candidates State Senator Brittany Pettersen (running for Congressional District 7) and State Representative Yadira Caraveo (running for Congressional District 8) were also invited to attend but declined to participate.
Both Congressional District 7 and 8 are open seats due to the retirement of Congressman Ed Perlmutter (in Congressional District 7) and the independent redistricting commission’s creation of the new Congressional District 8, spanning from Commerce City to Greeley.
During the discussion, Kirkmeyer and Aadland discussed their priorities, including fighting crime in Colorado, bolstering water conservation, cutting business regulations and more.
Committee meetings are open to Chamber Gold members and above. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Chamber, contact our customer success manager, Hugo Sierra, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Privacy Act Draft Regulations Released
On Oct. 10, the Colorado Attorney General’s office published draft regulations for the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) in the Colorado Register. The CPA was established by Senate Bill 21-190 and will provide additional protections for the personal data of Colorado residents, change the way in which businesses can collect, process and use personal data and create new enforcement provisions. The Chamber submitted comments during the pre-rulemaking comment period and continues to monitor the evolution of the CPA from legislation through implementation. We plan to submit comments on the draft rules in advance of the Feb. 1, 2023 Rulemaking Hearing.
More information on this rulemaking can be found here:
Access Voter Resources and View Ballot Initiatives Impacting Business
We’ve compiled a list of voter resources to make this year’s voting process as easy as possible. In addition to information on voting, the Chamber has created a 2022 ballot guide highlighting initiatives that will impact business. Our guide lists our positions and justifications for initiatives in this year’s ballot that will impact the business community.
Senator Hickenlooper Meets with Colorado Competitive Council
On Oct. 6, the Colorado Competitive Council’s Steering Committee welcomed Senator John Hickenlooper to its monthly meeting for a conversation with our member chambers and economic development corporations around the state.
The Senator mostly spoke about the Inflation Reduction Act and his bipartisan approach before taking questions from the audience. When asked how the Inflation Reduction Act mechanically reduces inflation, Senator Hickenlooper responded saying the legislation creates manufacturing and construction jobs, which stimulates the economy and creates employment while also investing in infrastructure projects for the broader economy. Senator Hickenlooper cited a statistic that, while many countries did not invest into their economy like the U.S. did during the pandemic, many countries (such as those in the European Union, Canada and India) are still seeing similar rates of inflation today. He suggested that inflationary pressures are not a result of U.S. pandemic spending, but rather of supply chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine, and other global economic changes. He argued that his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act was to create jobs and put money into sorely needed infrastructure.
The conversation then transitioned to the economic imperative to retain Space Command in Colorado Springs. When asked about what Senator Hickenlooper is doing to keep Space Command in Colorado, he did not go into detail, but responded that he and Senator Bennet are working with the Biden Administration to ensure Space Command stays here, and that they continue to emphasize the region’s aerospace assets and are working to retain Space Command in Colorado Springs.
Finally, Senator Hickenlooper was asked about water conservation and the Colorado Water Compact. He emphasized that as the Compact is renegotiated, it is important that the entire basin system, not just the lower basin, be represented and advocated for. He emphasized that as the west grows, all communities must be willing to do their part.
The Colorado Competitive Council prides itself on advocating for business interests throughout the entire state, and having a sitting U.S. Senator attend meetings is a valuable way for members to better engage with elected officials, and is also a way for elected officials to better understand and discuss statewide issues on a personal level.
The Colorado Competitive Council works to influence Colorado policy and build business-friendly communities. To learn more about the statewide efforts of the organization, visit our webpage below. For membership inquiries, email the Colorado Competitive Council’s executive director, Rachel Beck, at email@example.com.
Join the Chamber’s Advocacy Network!
We work to keep our members informed about impactful policy and create opportunities for them to take a stance. However, in today’s political and policy climate, it is important to show lawmakers the people behind the businesses they are affecting.
In addition to policy email updates, the Chamber has a new action platform that allows the unique voices of the business community to be heard across the state.
Sign-up to join our advocacy network to help us promote investment, job creation and a competitive business climate in Colorado and the Metro Denver region.