As a Free Speech advocate, I believe that campaign limits confine free speech and violate the First Amendment rights of citizens who want to participate in the process. Many disagree, but that is my view.After the election results were tallied last week, Colorado Springs Forward and the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs found themselves with only one endorsee in the winner's circle — Andy Pico.
As the elected leaders of our City these Members have every right to consider changes and propose changes to the campaign finance rules. And I suppose if they are as successful at labeling people as evil, and free speech as dark money as they were in the recent campaigns they may receive public support. Ultimately the burden will fall mostly on the candidates and supporters who want to run for office and participate in the political process. I would warn them that all campaign finance laws limiting free speech have accomplished so far is to drive funding and campaigns underground. The US Supreme Court has recognized that citizens have a right to participate and to use their resources (time, talent, and money) to both run and support others in running and that is a protected right. People who can afford lawyers and campaign finance consultants will find a way to get their message out when they have a great deal at stake and those most harmed by campaign finance rules are those without the resources to use alternate methods to get their message out.
For the record I do not believe that the CCPOC [Colorado Citizens Protecting Our Constitution, a nonprofit that doesn't disclose donors] or any outside group worked against the candidates the business community overwhelmingly supported. As there could not be and was not any coordination because of campaign finance laws ... mistakes can and will happen to the best of us.
It is incumbent on me, the candidates, Members of Council, the community to evaluate what occurred a week ago. There were many good people with different ideas and values running. There is a lot at stake. Elections matter.
Colorado Springs Forward wishes to thank each and every candidate for their thoughtful, passionate efforts. We look forward to working with everyone in all that comes our way as a community, and we hope that all of you do as well.
Further, we have added our sincere congratulations today to our new and continuing Council members, Don Knight, District 1, David Geislinger, District 2, Richard Skorman, District 3, Yolanda Avila, District 4, Jill Gaebler, District 5 and Andy Pico, District 6.