State Senate District 26 race: Newell notes `purple approach'

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Sen. Linda Newell, a Democrat, is running for a second term in state Senate District 26. She's held the seat since edging out Republican Lauri Clapp in 2008, and the red team very much wants it back. This time, she faces Republican Dave Kerber.

Newell grew up in Orange County, Calif., daughter of a clinical psychologist and a high school teacher. She has a bachelor's degree from University of California, Irvine. She is also a certified senior professional in human resources and registered organization development professional. She has been a member of the National Business Executives and the Women's Professional Network. She has two grown daughters.

SD-26 includes all or part of Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village, Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Sheridan, Columbine Valley, Bow Mar, a small part of Aurora and other areas.

Colorado Community Media asked the following questions of the candidates in Senate District 26. Below are Newell's answers. (Editor's note: Kerber opted not to answer the questions.)

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

Four years ago, I made a commitment to listen to my constituents and work with people of all parties for the common good of all Coloradans. I've kept that promise and have represented a “purple” district in a purple way. In doing so, 97 percent of my bills had bipartisan support, and I've been recognized as one of the most effective legislators at the Capitol.

I work hard, smart and I get things done. That's why Republicans, Democrats and independents support me. They see that I get people from both sides of the aisle working together. That's my proven track record.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the district and what would you do to meet that challenge?

Continued economic recovery. We've been able to keep ahead slightly of other states by reducing red tape, improving the regulatory scheme and collaborating with groups like business, education, transportation and nonprofits. As an example, I'm proud of sponsoring the Film Production Jobs bill this year to bring back the film industry and tourism jobs we've lost over the last decade.

But there's still more to do. I will continue to partner with the governor and business and education communities to look out for job opportunities, as I have each year, and help get people back to self-sufficiency.

What should be done to improve Colorado's K-12 educational system?

We're lucky in Senate District 26 to have the best school districts in Colorado!

Important next steps for education are comprehensive fiscal reform and review of statewide mandates that no longer work for the system, which, in turn, no longer work for the student.

As with my Fair School Discipline bill, I collaborated with all parties to make sure we're finding solutions that make sense at the district, school and student level. Colorado has taken huge steps to reform our education system, and I will continue to work with stakeholders to find evidence-based solutions that lead to student success.

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