The valley’s own Jessica Garrow for CU Regent

Aspen Daily News Staff Report
All politics is local and therefore we choose Carbondale resident Jessica Garrow to represent the Western Slope on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Garrow, 30, is a third-generation Coloradan and is running as a Democrat for the 3rd Congressional District’s seat on the board that oversees CU’s four campuses and nearly $3 billion budget.

She is the obvious choice over her opponent, Glenn Gallegos, 62, a Republican from Grand Junction, for many reasons.

We feel having young representation on the board is key to effectively addressing the issues facing higher education, particularly the increasing costs of tuition for students and their parents. Garrow, a 2004 CU graduate, knows about this intimately, since she is still paying off her student loans.

She would help correct a gender and age imbalance on the current nine-member Board of Regents where there are just two women and one person under 40 years old.

Garrow said she was motivated to run because of the sharp increases in tuition over the last decade, where the cost of an in-state education has spiked 10 percent annually.

State funding has decreased by 53 percent over the last decade and now comprises only 5 percent of CU’s budget. As a result, tuition has increased, degree programs have been eliminated and assets liquidated, including the formerly CU-owned Given Institute in Aspen that was sold off and subsequently demolished.

While out-of-state students have guaranteed four-year tuition rates, in-state students do not, and Garrow wants to change that, believing that they should have the same predictability.

We like that Garrow is thinking out of the box for the long-term sustainability of higher education in the state, particularly in the Roaring Fork Valley and the Western Slope. She told the Aspen Daily News earlier this week that she’d be willing to consider options like increasing state funding, which may mean asking voters for a tax increase. But more importantly, she sees a need to tweak the state’s complicated and often conflicting budgeting laws, such as TABOR, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23, which limit the amount of revenue the state government can collect and spend. We hope that Garrow, once elected, joins other statewide leaders in reforming the system so that public institutions like the University of Colorado can be properly funded.

Gallegos, on the other hand, said he’d support CU pursuing the leasing of mineral rights on land it owns to oil and gas developers as a way to increase revenue. We do not believe that is the right way to go, and we don’t think his prescription for the university’s overall funding woes — he told this paper the best thing we can do is hope for a robust economic recovery — is adequate.

We have more faith that Garrow, a thoughtful and articulate long-range planner for the city of Aspen, has the capacity to develop creative solutions to deal with funding issues. Garrow says she is committed to providing access to quality public higher education for all Coloradans and we believe she is the best candidate to carry out that endeavor. She clearly holds the university in high esteem, and is proud to be an alumna. Gallegos, on the other hand, seems mistrustful of the institution, giving lip service to right-wing talking points about professors “indoctrinating” their students.

Vote for Jessica Garrow for the CU Board of Regents in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.