With his trademark cowboy hat, Tony Stoughton is running for State Representative in House District 45 because he wants to make a difference in his own backyard. Like many Douglas County candidates, the leadership he has witnessed from the State House is not leadership for all but partisan politics that as Tony says “doesn’t move us forward; it grinds us sideways until we’re all exhausted.” Tony wants us to return to a time of great leadership from both sides of the aisle.
Tony has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from San Jose State University, has experience as a Series 7 licensed Financial Advisor, has real estate licenses in California and Colorado and multiple certifications including in project management, leadership training, and conflict management. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies as a Senior Project Management Consultant managing staff greater than 50 people with budgets up to $25 million. These are real world experiences that are desperately needed at the Capitol.
Currently, Tony is the General Manager of a small product development and consulting company, Red Oak Development. Red Oak is working on an alpine race wax called Super Glide and on a ceramic composite ski and snowboard base material. They hope to see these technologies at this year Winter X Games.
With such a busy schedule, I was happy when Tony took the time to answer my questions.
Tell me about yourself?
I am married. My wife is a master’s degreed professional and a breast cancer survivor. We have one wonderful daughter attending Colorado Mesa University. We are very proud of her and she’s doing great because of her K-12 DCSD teachers and the education she received.
What made you decide to run for office?
Our incumbent voted to repeal background checks for gun purchases and voted to cut $250 Million in K-12 Education. I would have never made those decisions and can not image why someone would cast those votes.
What separates you from your opponent? Issues, votes you would have cast differently, any differences you want to highlight?
In sharp contrast from my opponent, my focus is “Leadership for All”. My opponent’s vote to repeal background checks for gun purchases was inconceivable. Every Sheriff and LEA officer I have spoken with has agreed with me that background checks should remain and are important. There needs to be balance between our right to own fire arms and addressing gun violence in our state. The shooting deaths throughout our state must be curtailed and eventually ended. There is no easy answer and it will take many, many years of small steps to achieve this goal.
Next, I would have never voted to cut K-12 education by $250 million. “Leadership for All”, means everyone, not a one party laser focus like my opponent. Education is critical and I believe the cornerstone for all of us. I would argue that several items need changes to improve the K –12 systems. TABOR must be adjusted to collect tax revenue and hold the unused funding for a “Rainy Day”. The “Rainy Day” funding can bridge economic down turns like what we are experiencing right now. Reform should be focused on pushing monies down in to the class room. Top down reform would include developing a leaner management structure with pay structure linked to teachers’ salary which is a key component. School districts should not be paying public school superintendents more than $200K per year or more like the superintendent in Douglas County who makes more than $275K per year. Many citizens I have spoken with are outraged! Top down reform would also include smaller class room sizes and additional aids for special needs students. Teachers are the solution not the problem!
What is the most important issue to your district?
Jobs and education. There are several items that can be implemented to help our economy. First, I would recommend that all state and government projects are completed with Colorado residents. We have a highly motivated and educated work force. Hiring 100% Colorado residents will put millions of dollars back in to our economy. Tax breaks for businesses creating jobs in Colorado. The tax breaks would be linked to a job creation performance clause. If a business does not create jobs then the business would be required to return tax payers monies. The business would be required to carry a bond to protect the tax break monies at the business expenses. No free ride for business or an empty promise.
What is the most important issue in Douglas County?
Jobs, education, and senior citizens. One additional issue is the growing population of senior citizens in our community. We are very fortunate to have a strong senior citizen population in our community as seniors volunteer a great deal of time and give so much back to our community. In kind we should be looking for ways to help them and I would welcome that opportunity. So I am asking for seniors to please vote, and to vote for me. I would greatly appreciate their support.
Any previous political experience (elective and appointed positions)?
Admittedly, none. Our incumbents voting record compelled me to get off the couch and run for office. This is my first race for any office. It is a steep learning curve but I feel very good about our results to date and the response from our local residents.
Tell me something I don’t know about you?
I switched from skiing to snowboarding to spend more time with my daughter. Now, I really enjoy snowboarding, it’s a kick! Plus, I have something in common with my daughter which is great since I don’t like the TV shows she watches. Time with her making turns is wonderful.
Learn more about Tony Stoughton http://www.stoughtonforcolorado.com/