Candidate: Candice Ferguson

Contest: House District 38

Affiliation: D

Occupation/City: Marketing and brand executive, small business owner, Littleton
About:

Candace Ferguson is a Littleon marketing executive running in the Democractic House District 38 primary for a chance to take on appointed GOP Rep. Richard Champion.

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The following questions were asked only of 2020 primary candidates. Not all candidates responded.

Why are you running for office?

After working for years in the corporate world, I started a small business to support the marketing needs of other small to medium sized business. I have been active in the community and supporting Littleton Public Schools for 10 years. In 2016, I started a group called Colorado Stronger Together that works on issues around community safety, equal rights and inclusivity for everyone, women’s rights, immigration support, and expanding access to healthcare and mental health services. I have held school safety workshops attended/supported by school district leaders, fellow advocacy organizations, and state representatives, all working on solutions to address the growing epidemics of school shootings and youth suicides. That group is now over 600 members working on a wide variety of social topics. I am a wife and the mother of three wonderful children and want to ensure Colorado continues to be a great place where everyone can Thrive.

What Colorado issue is most important to you and how will you address it?

We need to build a state-wide consensus to reform TABOR so we can deal with the current budget crisis and many other areas that have been struggling for too long. This change is needed so we can increase funding for schools and pay for teachers. We need to make sure mental health is actually a part of health care with parity. We need to end discrimination of all kinds. And we need to protect our environment in the face of climate change and reduce pollution and greenhouse gasses. When elected, I will build the coalitions needed to create a new bill that both provides the flexibility for legislators to address these issues while providing protections for taxpayers.

How should the state deal with the budget crisis - be specific in terms of programs and dollars. What should be cut, what should be preserved?

The Legislature’s hands are tied due to TABOR and further complicated by the Gallagher Amendment and our own school funding system. This current crisis illustrates why we need to reform all three of these. I support the bill to refer the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment to the voters in November. I will work to reform TABOR if elected. As for the current crisis, I believe that we must prioritize people over projects and programs. I would defer statewide construction and non-essential programs in order to hold schools, teacher pay, mental health, health care, unemployment insurance, and other programs people depend on in a crisis. The legislature must cut $3.3 billion, but unfortunately, we can’t cut our way out of a crisis. We need to balance being fiscally responsible while ensuring no one gets left behind.

What’s the best way for the state to deal with the unemployment resulting from the coronavirus? Solutions for the future only.

Regarding unemployment, we must not do harm by cutting unemployment benefits. The economy needs people with money to spend. Secondly, we must help small business survive through tax holidays, tax credits, and other forms of assistance. Thirdly, it is very difficult to create jobs in construction or services without money. So, we must put together public-private partnerships between the state, cities, and the private sector to leverage scarce dollars and future tax credits to build low income housing, renewable energy, energy conservation, rural health care, parks and recreation. There is capital in the nation looking for a safe home. We need to access that. The state can be a catalyst for citizen action. I helped raise over $600,000 in private money for classrooms in Littleton schools. We need to expand these type programs for various projects wherever feasible. If we work with investors and business, we put people to work.

Describe the most important distinctions between you and your primary opponent.

My support comes from voters inside HD38. Over 1,500 people signed a petition to put me on the ballot and nearly all my contributions have come from voters in district. My opponent was asked to run by party insiders, outside HD38 and nearly 90% of his contributions came from out of district and out of state. I was raised in Littleton, graduated from Heritage High, and know the community. I have been active for over ten years, at the table with Legislators working on mental health issues, school funding, school safety, and gun violence. When I win this the primary, I will be the first female, Democratic candidate for this district. Where I have addressed specific proposals on many issues during the campaign, my opponent has focused primarily on Veterans and endorsements. It’s time for our district to elect a leader focused on all of our needs and not ego.