SPEECH TO DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION DELEGATES – MAY 2, 1998
In 1910 my grandmother got off a train from Chicago. She came to Julesburg, Colorado for a temporary job teaching English, Greek, and Latin. At the end of the year she moved back to Chicago, but while here she met a cowboy. They corresponded for 13 years. Then on her way back from Alaska she stopped in Colorado and that cowboy, asked her to marry him. He died the same day I was born. But she lived to be 99. She always thought Colorado was very democratic because she could vote here in 1910, but could not in Illinois.
The values from their time still serve us well – Democratic Party values like taking-risks, education, and representation for every citizen, and responsibility to help the less fortunate.
My Dad was on the school board for 12 years. Education of our children is our best investment for the future. But when we propose additional money for education or any program, the first question voters ask is where will the money come from. I offered two specific sources of funding in my letter to you. (The Surplus and Growth Impact fees)
I grew up in Colorado but I’ve lived in other places – But I have never found any better place to live. My wife Mary and I have built a successful business here. I’ve worked as a biologist, as an engineer and as an attorney.
In this part of Colorado we do not have to promote a lot more growth anymore; in fact it is destructive to do so. We must Conserve Colorado and we must fight to do it.
I took a stand against the development of STM. It was to be half again larger than the Denver West Office Complex, with at least 5000 cars driving up and down on at least 2 4-lane highways cut into the Mountain, with congestion for miles around. Yet there is plenty of very fine already commercially zoned land that is available.
Thousands of Coloradoans took part in our movement - from Golden, Evergreen, and Conifer and as far away as Ouray. And we had as many Republicans as Democrats. But my competitor did not join us; in fact he favored the development calling it a good compromise.
Compromise is important in politics, but it is not always the wisest course.
All evidence proves growth has not been paying its way. As they say at the conservative Independence Institute in Golden, whatever government subsidizes we get more of.
More than half the population increase in Colorado is from in-migration (60% last year). In migration has got to be an even bigger proportion of growth in high growth areas like our district. Probably 2/3 to ¾ of growth in our district is beyond just the natural increase of births minus deaths.
Now we need to talk politics. This is a politically sophisticated group.
No Democrat has been elected to represent most of the areas of our district since 1960. So what Democrats have done in the past obviously does not work.
To win, the Democrat will have to be not distinctively moderate but distinctively better.
And if you are going to run, people want you to stand for something.
It requires being bold and I will not please everybody by being bold, but as Harry Truman said – "If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen."
Many fiscally conservative Republicans of this district are passionate about their environment and hate subsidizing development. And 86% of a group of citizens at a recent County RX meeting, stronglywant growth to help pay for itself. With this issue alone we ally ourselves with enough Republicans and independents to win.
So why me? Three reasons.
First - The preference poll at the caucuses gave me an overwhelming 70%-30% preference among Democrats.
Second - I have a bold message, which is distinctively better, with specific stands that will grab voter’s attention and pull Republican and unaffiliated voters.
Third – I almost won when I ran 6 years ago. I came closer than any Democrat has ever come in this district. Even with a late start and little money I came within 2% of beating popular and powerful incumbent Tony Grampsas. This time I have already raised over $10,000, all from individuals – no lobbyists or corporations or PACs. That already is enough for one mailing to all the voters of the district. And we will need quite a bit more, but we’re off to a great start.
=Parker in Focus=