Candidate: David Ortiz

Contest: House District 38

Affiliation: D

Occupation/City: Nonprofit Management / Advocate / Lobbyist, Littleton

David Ortiz is a disabled Army veteran and former helicopter pilot running in House District 38 in Arapahoe County. The winner of the Democratic Party will face appointed GOP Rep. Richard Champion.

Campaign contributions

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

Why are you running for office?

I am running to empower others the way others have empowered me. I am a wounded veteran and lifelong public servant. I am a third-generation US Service Member on my dad’s side and first-generation American on my mom’s side. I began serving others by resettling evacuees after Hurricane Katrina. I continued my service by flying helicopters for the US Army. While deployed to Afghanistan, I survived a catastrophic crash that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Because I had access to quality and affordable healthcare, I regained my independence and continued serving in the nonprofit space and as a lobbyist for veterans at OUR State Capitol. We as a state and nation are going through difficult times and we need leaders that have lived through injustices and struggles. We need leaders that know how to tenaciously fight and empower a community so together we emerge stronger and more united.

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

Public Education is the issue that matters most to my community. Colorado ranks lowest when it comes to funding public education. Youth suicides across the state are on the rise. Colorado is having difficulties retaining teachers, especially given the extreme rise in cost of living and housing here in Colorado. We start by having an honest conversation about how we fund education and recognize how TABOR negatively impacts our public education system. We need to move away from a punitive testing-focused model for measuring success. Testing measures the socioeconomic level of a student (what they come into the classroom with) more than it measures the learning that occurs in the classroom. Prioritizing mental health in our schools by hiring more counselors and creating a special forces team of mental healthcare specialists can improve public education. Supporting public education is critical and we are the team that will bring needed solutions

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?

Leadership matters, not for times of comfort and plenty, but for times of crisis and difficulty. Having been in combat, having rebuilt my life after surviving a catastrophic crash that left me paralyzed from the waist down, and continuing to serve the community; I have the character and experience to help HD38 and Colorado weather this storm and thrive again. First, we need to continue to fight for the federal government to do its job and support states during a public health crisis and the resultant economic crisis that have caused this shortfall. Next, we need to exercise some of the options that we are allowed by dipping into the “reserve” and declare a state of emergency under TABOR and raise revenue from those that have benefited the most from our years of economic prosperity in Colorado. We must prioritize funding for kid’s programs like healthcare and education.

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

First, we must continue to innovate and foster treatments, a vaccine, and preventative measures that will stop and mitigate the impact COVID19 has on our daily lives. Now is the time for the federal, state, and municipal governments to work together to create a work program that will renovate and expand our infrastructure around mass transportation,fund and support our teachers and education system, and make broadband faster and more accessible to all (including in lower income areas and rural areas). We need to support compromises that will keep people in their homes and apartments so they have the stability to get back to work safely and ignite the economy again. Supporting small business, entrepreneurs, and working families will be the key to jump starting our economy.

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

With me, you get a lifelong public servant and a tenacious fighter that understands the role of government in the community and has lived a life of selfless service. I’ve worked on ballot initiatives, rewrote and helped pass legislation around higher education reform and criminal justice reform, and dedicated myself to work in the nonprofit space.

HD38 has embraced this campaign. We have a team of interns, whose average age is 18, that are phone banking to over 13,000 households. We have an army of volunteers that have written over 12,000 postcards. We are out-fundraising all opponents 5 to 1, to include 250 of our neighbors contributing $50 or less. We have been endorsed by Congressman Crow, CO AFL-CIO, COBALT, among many others. The community behind our movement marks the largest distinction between me and anyone else in this race. I am David Ortiz, we are HD38.