This past Monday student Democrats sat in a circle around Stephany Rose Spaulding, a Democratic candidate trying to unseat Doug Lamborn (CO-5), as she answered their questions and spoke to the issues she’s endorsed. Seven students showed up to the discussion organized by CC Dems as part of the club’s Democratic Decision Series.
Rev. Dr. Spaulding is, as the title confers, a reverend at the local Ebenezer Baptist Church, as well as an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). She told students gathered around her that she decided to run after seeing “the spiritual and emotional state that [last year’s election cycle] left people in.”
Spaulding explained to students before she began running, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know you could have real conversations and touch politicians…it can feel like representatives are not part of a community.” She explained that’s why she wanted to sit in a circle, and she continued to take action throughout the evening conversation to achieve a campy tone with the students, memorably, cursing when characterizing frustrations with the state of contemporary politics and speaking in colloquialisms.
It’s a tone Spaulding is familiar with, having just finished the 16-week term at UCCS, noting at the beginning “some of my students didn’t know I was running for Congress.” She declared that she’d seek the bid for the democratic nomination July 3 of this year. By seeking the Democrat’s nomination, she’s trying to unseat current Representative of Colorado’s historically Republican fifth district, Doug Lamborn.
Republican Rep. Lamborn represents Colorado’s fifth district comprised of Colorado’s El Paso, Chafee, Fremont, Park, and Teller counties. Spaulding describes her chances at winning the seat as “Difficult. But, difficult and improbable are not impossible.” She views the 18-35-year-old demographic as key voters who are likely to “upset this district,” which is in large part why she’s speaking to the CC students.
Spaulding explained her key issues, focusing in on human rights, education, and universal healthcare. She described human rights as a “big tent idea that manifests itself in so many different ways,” then moved onto education, which she considers the U.S. government to be, in part, abdicating their responsibility to publicly educate the country’s youth, and finally she moved onto universal healthcare, explaining her position on Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet’s Medicare-X proposal before underscoring “It has to be federal. It has to be federal,” when asked about giving management of healthcare to the states.
After giving the platform spiel, students had an opportunity to ask questions of Spaulding that ranged from questions on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to specific questions about congressional voting on U.S. involvement in Yemen and why Spaulding was interested in heading to Washington D.C., given unfavorable public opinion and reputation surrounding the capital.
To that, Spaulding responded, “For the very reason of exasperation in your face right now,” to first-year Elena Martinez-Vivot, who asked the question. Though, Spaulding did not hesitate to add, “If I knew somebody better to run for this seat I would tap them and I would give them all my energy I had, [for them] to win the seat.”
She continued this hypothetical adding, “I wouldn’t be showing up at [Senator] Cory Gardner’s house to protest…If Michelle Obama lived here…” Spaulding trailed off. All of this is to say, Spaulding has thrown her hat in the ring out of what she feels is urgent and necessary for representation in the fifth district. For now, the campaign road ahead of Spaulding remains long. The primary for the race is June 26, 2018 with the election on Nov. 6, 2018.