Fentanyl options in Colorado’s first gubernatorial debate between Heidi Ganahl and Jared Polis

Colorado’s Democratic governor, Jared Polis, and his GOP challenger, Heidi Ganahl, provided differing variations of…

Colorado’s Democratic governor, Jared Polis, and his GOP challenger, Heidi Ganahl, provided differing variations of the state with the economic system, crime, schooling and post-pandemic restoration among the many high points of their first debate Wednesday evening.

Ganahl, a College of Colorado regent, bookended her remarks by attacking Polis over Colorado’s excessive fentanyl overdose charges, inflation and what she referred to as poor schooling requirements in public colleges.

Polis defended his four-year file as governor by highlighting the state’s file job numbers whereas firing again at Ganahl for appointing a working mate who has claimed that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected president in 2020.

Polis, a rich tech and schooling entrepreneur and former five-term congressman, is searching for a second time period on this more and more blue state. Ganahl, herself an entrepreneur and, as a regent, the one statewide elected Republican official, is searching for to change into Colorado’s first Republican governor since 2007. 

The talk was staged at Colorado State College-Pueblo, the place red-shirted Ganahl supporters stuffed up a lot of the college’s ballroom. Polis’ backers held blue-bordered indicators and saved to their very own column of seats.

Election 2022 Colorado Governor
Republican candidate for Colorado governorship, Heidi Ganahl, speaks throughout a debate on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Pueblo, Colo.

David Zalubowski / AP


After Polis attacked Ganahl’s working mate, Danny Moore, for denying the 2020 presidential election consequence, Ganahl sidestepped the accusation of extremism. Moore has made it clear that he respects President Biden, she stated, “and so do I.”

Ganahl, who describes herself as “a mother on a mission,” argued that rising crime and drug-related overdoses have harmed kids and lambasted Polis for signing a 2019 legislation that weakened penalties for sure kinds of fentanyl possession. Ganahl pledged to declare a state of emergency over the fentanyl disaster and take away Colorado’s so-called sanctuary standing for immigrants.

Polis defended different options to the drug disaster, together with higher therapy practices on high of extra stringent penalties that the governor signed this yr for the drug’s sellers.

Election 2022 Colorado Governor
Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks earlier than a debate on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Pueblo, Colo.

David Zalubowski / AP


The incumbent additionally tried to flip the script on crime – a subject Republican candidates are hammering on throughout the nation – claiming that Ganahl’s proposals to cut back the state fuel tax and take away earnings taxes altogether would defund legislation enforcement officers and prisons throughout the state. He labeled her proposals as “defund the police.”

The comment introduced forth groans from Ganahl’s supporters and Ganahl’s swift denial.

Each candidates walked a finer line on local weather change coverage as they attempt to garner votes in a state that also depends closely on oil and pure fuel extraction.

Ganahl proposed an all-solutions strategy to vitality coverage, together with coal and nuclear energy. Polis championed a extra inexperienced vitality coverage whereas tipping his hat to the oil business. “You drive a Tesla,” he stated to Ganahl, “I drive an inside combustion engine.”

Polis’ first time period has been marked by early successes in increasing entry to well being care, capping the price of sure well being items similar to insulin, and increasing early childhood schooling. Because of Democratic majorities within the Legislature, he enacted a sequence of measures designed to curb well being care prices and improve transparency. He instituted common kindergarten and has launched an effort to realize the identical with pre-Ok college students.

Democrats have come underneath criticism for a invoice Polis signed within the wake of the George Floyd protests that lessened penalties for a lot of small crimes, elevated accountability for police misconduct and uncovered law enforcement officials accused of misconduct to civil fits from the general public.

Ganahl has tried to tie Polis to Biden in blaming each for inflation that is eaten into the incomes of Coloradans. Polis this yr expedited tax refunds and has delayed or lessened charges for a lot of providers and small companies.

Ganahl additionally pledges to eradicate the state earnings tax to drive financial progress and cut back the dimensions of the state paperwork.

Ganahl is the founder and former CEO of the pet care franchise Camp Bow Wow and in addition based a number of charities, inclusing the kids’s charity Mothers Battle Again. She’s been concerned in founding a constitution college and advocates each college alternative and a better say by dad and mom of their kids’s schooling.

Wednesday’s debate was hosted by the Better Pueblo Chamber of Commerce. The candidates produce other debates and situation boards within the works in coming weeks.

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