In 2015, I was proud to join my Jefferson County neighbors as we reclaimed our school board from far-right radicals who took control two years before. We literally made #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory. After watching the school board attack the teachers and schools that make Jeffco one of the best places to raise a family in America, by an overwhelming 65% margin, we ended the ability of Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams to play ideological games with Colorado’s finest public schools–recalling them and replacing them with a clean slate that restored dignity and community respect to the Jeffco school board.
Unfortunately, Ken Witt, president of the recalled board, isn’t finished trying to harm public education in Colorado just yet. Last week, Donald Trump announced that Witt is the Trump campaign’s state “education coalition co-chair.”
If there was anyone left in Jefferson County undecided about Donald Trump, choosing Ken Witt as his education co-chair in Colorado should settle the question. Trump couldn’t pick a more divisive figure of his campaign for our state if he tried. Witt’s disastrous tenure as president of the Jefferson County school board was beset with allegations of bullying students, hostility to teachers, breaking promises to voters on spending tax dollars, and dubious “reviews” of history curriculum to ensure what’s taught in the classroom doesn’t offend conservatives.
The problem in Jefferson County goes much deeper than Witt. Fringe elected lawmakers like Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada and Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, who supported Witt’s takeover of the Jefferson County school board and tried to protect Witt from being recalled, are today some of Trump’s biggest Colorado supporters. Sen. Woods is up for election this year, and her strong support for Donald Trump–as well as Ken Witt–could change everything in one of the state’s closest state senate races.
Last November, Jefferson County took an important step toward halting the spread of out-of-touch far-right politics in our community. In 2016, with one of the most important elections of our lifetimes about to take place, we have to finish the job. Thanks for doing your part to stand up for the values that make me proud to call Jeffco home.