Candidates Christine Jensen of Arvada and Rep. Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton) have a lot in common. Both are Republican women running for Colorado state senate seats in highly competitive suburban swing districts. Both answered the same five questions from their local community newspapers and both gave nearly identical answers to those questions. The answers aren’t just substantially similar; they are structurally the same and often word-for-word identical.
Colorado Community Media (CCM) published the Q&A style interviews two weeks ago. CCM owns eighteen weekly local papers around the Denver metro area, Five questions were posed to every statehouse candidate running in a district covered by a CCM paper. The first and last question were open-ended, make-your-case questions, while the other three addressed specific policies and priorities.
Compare Humenik’s answer and Jensen’s answer to the question, “What can the Legislature do to ease the strain of rising housing prices on Colorado residents?” The bolded language is identical in each answer.
Homeownership has become out of reach for far too many. I want our residents and future generations to be able to afford to live in Colorado and pursue the American Dream of owning a home. Unfortunately, current construction defect laws have severely inhibited the development of attainable housing in Colorado. Additional construction litigation reform is necessary so that more entry-level housing can become available for our residents.
Homeownership has become out of reach for far too many in our community. I want my children and yours to be able to afford to live in Colorado and achieve the dream of owning a home. Unfortunately, current construction defect laws have severely limited the development of attainable housing in Colorado. Additional construction litigation reform is necessary so that more entry-level housing can become available for our Jeffco residents.
The pair’s answers to two other policy questions track similarly.
Reached for comment, one of Colorado Community Media’s managing editors Scott Taylor described the lengthy process of reaching out to the dozens of official candidates for office and offering each of them an opportunity to answer the five questions. As different editors are responsible for the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel and the Arvada Press, the duplication had not been noticed.
Inquiries to the Jensen and Humenik campaigns requesting comment on their matching answers have not been returned.
These answers are not the only time these two candidates have shared a voice.
Once CCM published its election guide, which included both of these candidates’ Q&As, Humenik and Jensen shared links to their respective questionnaires on their campaign Facebook pages. Published five minutes apart, the two campaign posts are identical.
Read the candidates full Q&A interviews at the links below. The other two questions dealing with substantive policies and priorities are reproduced in full below. The answers are also substantially the same. Identical language in each candidate’s answer is in bold.
QUESTION: What can be done to ensure the state’s transportation system will be able to accommodate continued population growth?
Our transportation system is not adequate for our current population and will certainly not be sufficient for our growing population in the future. Deteriorating roads and traffic congestion have a negative impact on commerce in Colorado and hurt our quality of life. Our transportation needs must be addressed and prioritized in the state budget. I believe that this can be achieved by using existing funds and without raising taxes on our hard-working Colorado residents.
Our infrastructure does not meet our current needs, let alone the future needs of a growing population. Traffic congestion has an adverse impact on commerce and decreases the quality of life for our residents. This issue has been neglected for far too long and the legislature must prioritize adequate transportation funding in the budget moving forward. I believe we can fund critical transportation projects using existing state revenue without raising taxes on our hard-working families.
QUESTION: What two issues demand more attention in the upcoming Legislative session than they received in the previous one, and why?
Education and Transportation. Our children deserve access to the best possible education, as that is the key to future success. In the most recent legislative session, we were able to increase K-12 funding by almost seven percent, increase per-pupil funding and began to address teacher-shortage issues. These were all steps in the right direction but more needs to be done to ensure that money is going directly into the classroom and into our teachers’ paychecks.
Education and Transportation. The foundation to a strong economy and community is a great education system and our children deserve access to the best possible education. More needs to be done to increase K-12 funding and to address teacher-shortage issues. The legislature must work with our school districts to ensure that funding is going directly into the classrooms and the paychecks of our teachers.