Vail Daily’s View: Gutsy Scanlan earns re-election
Vail, CO, Colorado
State Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Summit County, was at the center of a firestorm earlier this year when a bill she co-sponsored spurred angry teacher protests on the steps of the statehouse.
Senate Bill 191, co-sponsored in the Senate by Vail native Mike Johnston and carried in the House by Scanlan, changes the way teachers and principals are evaluated and aims to increase graduation rates and decrease the “achievement gap” between between Latino and Anglo students.
The bill had its supporters among teachers and principals, but it also had a very vocal opposition.
The passage of the “Educator Effectiveness” bill showed Scanlan’s ability to usher through legislation that’s in the best interests of her constituents, even if opponents are screaming in her ear.
She and fellow Democrat Johnston reached across the aisle in their houses – it was largely Republicans who passed the bill in each house against Democratic opposition. Scanlon probably lost a shot at a leadership post in the House, which didn’t didn’t stop her from doing what she believed was right.
As the House majority hangs in the balance this November, Scanlan can be trusted to forge a pragmatic path, no matter who is in power.
Scanlan has had other accomplishments, too. She went to Washington to help secure millions in federal funding to address pine beetle destruction. Those funds will be important in protecting the infrastructure of our area as trees continue to succumb to the epidemic.
She co-sponsored a bill to study zipper lanes on Interstate 70, a proposal that still has a ways to go in terms of practicality and funding, but could be a shorter-term solution to congestion.
In the last year, she has helped make needed cuts to the state budget. More cuts are in store, and she will have to step up to protect tourism dollars that are likely to be on the chopping block.
Her opponent, Debra Irvine, has served as chairwoman of the Summit County Republican Party. She has good ideas to create more vocational education and support local businesses with tax incentives. However, she could use more political experience to be effective in the state House.
Scanlan has the enthusiasm, collaborative spirit and mettle that will serve us well under the gold dome.
She’s earned her way to re-election.