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Q&A: Karen McCormick, candidate for State Representative for Colorado’s House District 11

The Longmont Leader reached out to candidates of the races listed in the voter’s guide with a list of questions. Each response will be published as it is received and may be edited for clarity and/or length.
Dr. Karen McCormick - HD 11 edit
Karen McCormick - Democratic candidate for House District 11 (Photo courtesy of Karen McCormick)

The Longmont Leader reached out to candidates of the races listed in our voter’s guide with a list of questions. Each response will be published as it is received and may be edited for clarity and/or length. The Longmont Leader does not endorse any candidate and is providing as much information as we can to help voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. If you have questions please contact info@longmontleader.com.

Candidate bio

McCormick grew up in a career Navy family with a father who served 30 years in the U.S. Navy before retiring as a rear admiral. She and her husband, Gregg, a native Coloradan, have been married for 30 years. They have lived in Longmont for over 26 years where they raised their three children who are now adults. They have twin daughters and their eldest identifies as non-binary. The family also has a large puppy. Being outdoors in Colorado is one of her favorite pastimes.

She attended college at the University of Florida obtaining a Bachelor’s in Agriculture and then to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Practicing veterinary medicine for over 33 years further strengthened her belief in the power of compassion. She ran her own successful small business here in Colorado serving the community with excellence in veterinary care for 16 years. She has worked as a communications coach to help train veterinary students at Colorado’s premier veterinary teaching hospital at Colorado State University.

She is a problem solver at heart. She has served as a volunteer English teacher for the immigrant community with Intercambio in Longmont. She also has volunteered with two non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting animal health. She is a member of Citizen’s Climate Lobby and Rotary.

McCormick is passionate about our state and working for policies that help Colorado families. In 2018, Karen ran a robust campaign for Congress in Colorado’s 4th congressional district. She won by over 65% in Boulder County and helped to build Democratic momentum in an often-overlooked part of the state. To advocate for families, health care, education, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, economic opportunity for all, the future of our planet and more McCormick is running to represent Longmont, Lyons, Niwot and Allenspark as the next State Representative for Colorado’s House District 11.

What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?

I am a problem solver. I am a scientist that uses data and reason to formulate a plan. I know it is important to listen carefully and to make sure all voices are heard. It is critical to make sure that compassion is at the table when deciding on policy. I have been a small business owner for over 16 years and understand the challenges of running your own business. I am interested in building relationships and reaching across the aisle to move forward.

If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?

I want to make sure that we look carefully at how we handled the health and economic impacts of this pandemic to be better prepared the next time. This is an opportunity to learn and improve on our readiness. I also want to work to mitigate the effects of climate change because this is our only planet and we have the responsibility to protect it. The future literally depends on what we do now.

What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?

We have fallen short in access to education. We have seen during a pandemic how important it is that we work toward equity in access. I have plans to improve in this area.

What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?

The amount of money in our election system is absurd. I am using only what I need to run a campaign. If I had the power I would create a nationwide public financing system for all elections. This would allow more qualified candidates to enter the field and create a more level playing field.

Are you satisfied with Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?

I am satisfied with Colorado's response, though I know now that we can examine where we could've been better prepared. We can study all the ways that what we did worked and where the shortfalls occurred and then work to be ready for the next pandemic. The federal response was disasterous, as evidence by over 200,000 dead. We have the worst response in the world among developed nations and that could've been prevented.

Colorado is facing a projected budget shortfall of more than $6 billion in the next three years because of the reduction in tax revenue caused by the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?

I am working hard to get the word out about the ballot initiatives that will potentially help our deficit and those that will hurt us even further educating voters on the important choices they will make. Budget priorities must be considered in light of how many people we are helping and how we could be hurting working folks. When there is only so much money to spend it is likely that every area of the budget will have to absorb some of the shortfall.

A question on this year’s ballot is seeking to repeal the Gallagher Amendment. Are you in support of the measure?  Why or why not? 

Yes. We ned to repeal this antiquated amendment that is creating revenue restrictions unnecessarily. This worked in 1982 but is no longer working. It is out-dated and needs to go.

Another initiative on the ballot seeks to create a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Do you support this measure? If it fails, should state or local lawmakers pursue similar measures?

I do support the Paid Family and Medical leave program. As a small business owner I know that having this safety net in place it the best investment I can have to keep my employees and staff safe and healthy. This program needs to be at the larger level to have a large enough pool of participants to be sustainable, such as at the state or federal level.

What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Coloradans who may be voting for the first time?

I believe that our country is at a tipping point where we can move toward making our democracy stronger, more equitable and work to combat systemic racism or we may move in the direction of our foundations crumbling. Voting in this election is that crucial. We have a very important decision to make.

Who is your hero, and why?

My mom is my hero. My dad was deployed with the U.S. Navy for half of my childhood and my mom raise three kids much of the time by herself. She is a strong, compassionate, funny person that showed us what it means to be kind, respectful and considerate people. I admire her so much for what she was able to do with such a positive attitude.