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Our View: Stay the course with Polis

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and Republican challenger Heidi Ganahl seem to be living in two wildly different states.

In Polis’ Colorado, the future is bright, steady. Keeping his promise, Polis capped the cost of insulin; provided free, full-day kindergarten and preschool; and offered more than $1 billion in property tax relief for homeowners and businesses.

In Ganahl’s, we’re overrun with taxes, drugs, crime, inflation and “furries,” a debunked story of students dressing and identifying as cats.

We’ll take Polis’ Colorado. We’ll even endorse him for governor.

Polis’ realization of free kindergarten and preschool was significant, especially in our state that underfunds public education. We agree wholeheartedly that education is the great equalizer in our communities.

During the pandemic, Polis was a rock. He led Colorado through the many unknowns and vetted data, when talk about vaccines, masks and the number of respirators for gravely ill COVID-19 patients was new. He was grounded and showed much leadership.

Polis is all about individual freedoms, unequivocally defending women’s reproductive rights. Polis pushes government work back to local levels, as much as possible. Sometimes to a fault.

And he’s eliminated state taxes on Social Security and encouraged entrepreneurship – making it $1 to start a new business. Cost of living is a campaign issue that we can get behind.

Polis has taken tough hits from Ganahl, who blamed him for drugs, crime and inflation. These are raging, global problems, not unique to Colorado.

Eliminating state income tax is her promise. Ganahl said she’d cut bloated government to make up for revenue, and attract new businesses through lower taxes and fewer regulations. Income taxes are expected to generate $11 billion this fiscal year. The money represents a third of the state’s budget and more than half of the general fund.

Sounds good for those adamantly against taxation, but not based in reality. Ganahl has yet to produce a detailed plan.

Ganahl also pledged to halve the 22-cent-per-gallon gas tax. Income and gas taxes fund the Colorado Department of Corrections and the Colorado State Patrol. Prisons will never be a popular choice for funding, but don’t mess with the state patrol, made possible by revenue from the gas tax.

You have to know how departments are funded before you can promise to cut their money. A first lesson in running for public office.

We do appreciate Ganahl’s service as a University of Colorado regent and business sense as founder/chief executive officer of super successful doggie day care franchise, Camp Bow Wow. (Gotta love this name.) But being governor is a whole different animal. (Sorry.)

Early in her campaign, Ganahl dodged questions on whether the 2020 election was rigged. She finally settled on the response that Joe Biden in our president. But choosing election denier Danny Moore, a Navy vet and consultant, as her running mate was more than a rookie mistake.

What was Ganahl thinking? She could have selected from a number of running mates without this kind of baggage. It was the start of the crazy train.

Fast forward to the first week in October, when Ganahl said on Jimmy Sengenberger’s KNUS show that Colorado students were self-identifying as cats.

She said: “Yeah, kids identifying as cats. . . It’s happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it.”

Her comments exhausted educators, who had to scramble to set the record straight.

Let’s stay the course with Polis as governor. He’s proven he can handle the responsibility.