FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2016
Contact: Rich Coolidge
Raise the Bar Campaign Submits 185,000 Voter Signatures
Hundreds of the state’s most respected political, civic, business, conservative and progressive leaders back Raise the Bar
DENVER—Today, proponents of an initiative seeking to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution will submit more than 185,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the November ballot.
The Raise the Bar – Protect our Constitution measure seeks to make it harder to amend Colorado’s constitution by requiring future constitutional ballot initiative proponents to gather signatures across the state including at least two percent of all registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state senate districts. The proposal also requires approval from 55 percent of voters before a constitutional ballot amendment can be added to the constitution. Most constitutional amendments collect the bulk of their signatures in Denver and Boulder, giving the rest of the state little say in what constitutional amendments actually qualify for the ballot.
“The significant statewide circulation solidifies our place on the ballot and illustrates the overwhelming support we’ve seen all across the state,” campaign co-chair and Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said. “Requiring signatures from across the state ensures the real will of the people is being heard. And we walked the walk – our campaign collected an unprecedented haul of signatures in the most rural corners of the state and in all 35 state senate districts.
“Our signature collectors heard it over and over again – ‘we have never seen a signature collector before in Ft. Morgan or Durango or Craig or Yuma’,” Gibbs said. “All of Colorado wants and deserves a voice in the process of amending the state’s constitution, and when the voters approve Raise the Bar this November, they will finally have one.”
The campaign’s broad based petition effort mirrors a growing coalition of notable backers and the state’s most respected business, progressive and conservative leaders who are eager supporters of Raise the Bar.
Each of Colorado’s living governors – Governors John Hickenlooper, Bill Ritter, Bill Owens, Roy Romer and Dick Lamm – are strong supporters of the plan to make it more difficult to amend the constitution.
A broad array of influential current and former Democratic legislators and elected officials also support the measure, including former House Speaker Mark Ferandino, former House Speaker Terrance Carroll, former House Minority Leader and current Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace, former Senate President Peter Groff, former Boulder Congressman David Skaggs, Representative Lois Court, Representative Millie Hamner, Representative Pete Lee, Representative Dominick Moreno, Representative Diane Mitsch-Bush and State Senator Pat Steadman – to name some.
Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb endorsed Raise the Bar. So too has Colorado Springs progressive activist Mary Lou Makepeace.
The balance of leaders on the right is as formidable. Former Attorney General and current Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, State Senate President Bill Cadman, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, State Senators Jerry Sonnenberg, Larry Crowder, Ray Scott, Ellen Roberts, Laura Woods and State Representatives Polly Lawrence, Kevin Priola, Kevin Van Winkle, Bob Rankin, Lang Sias, Dan Thurlow, Don Coram and Lois Landgraf. Former Pueblo State Representative and respected local businessman Keith Swerdfeger also supports the effort to safeguard the Colorado Constitution.
Support among political leaders only scratches the surface. The number of organizations supporting Raise the Bar is more impressive.
A partial list of the organizations endorsing Raise the Bar includes: Colorado Concern, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Ski Country USA, AARP, Colorado Farm Bureau, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the Colorado Judicial Institution, the Colorado Hospital Association, the Colorado Forum, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Dairy Farmers, Building Jobs 4 Colorado, Colorado Contractors Association, Colorado Association of REALTORS, South Metro Denver Chamber, Action 22, Club 20, Progressive 15, Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Economic Development Corporation, Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Egg Producers, Colorado Pork Producers Council, Colorado Restaurant Association, Vital for Colorado and the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
The Metro Mayors Caucus – a consortium of mayors in the greater Denver Metropolitan Area – voted unanimously to back Raise the Bar.
In addition, more than two dozen counties have passed resolutions endorsing Raise the Bar.
“Over the last 75 days, our campaign has received overwhelming support from people who care about our state and its future – Republican, Democrat, Independent, urban, and rural,” campaign co-proponent Greg Brophy said. “With so much acrimony and division in our politics, it is exciting to be part of an effort that is bringing together men and women with different perspectives. Protecting our state’s constitution from gamesmanship is a cause that unites us, and we are honored to have taken a dramatic step forward today.”
The recent announcement comes on the heels of an earlier release showing the initiative raised over $1 million.
For more information about Raise the Bar, Protect Our Constitution, please visit www.raisethebarco.com.