Teller voters ride the Trump wave; kill term limits ban and key tax plans- Rick Langenberg


Teller County voters, like many rural areas in the country, rode the crest of a surprising wave of support for Republican nominee Donald Trump, who shocked the nation and world, with his big victory over Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 showdown.
He is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Thursday in what could become a bizarre and unsettling get-together. His victory is being touted as possibly the biggest upset in modern American history, with most pundits now choking over their words in declaring the election as a sure win for Clinton in pre-Nov 8 predictions. On Wednesday morning , Clinton gave a formal concession speech. In sports comparisons, this one may rank with the upset victory of the New York Jets against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in the 1960s.
In resounding fashion, local voters declared their anti-tax and pro-Republican sentiments in full stride by destroying the latest bid to end term limits and in defeating plans for a lodging tax in Cripple Creek and an increase in this levy Green Mountain Falls. They also strongly killed plans for a Cripple Creek/Victor RE-1 School District tax hike.
Surprisingly, the only major tax proposition that received a favorable tally involved a plan for financing a new fire station for the Green Mountain Falls/Chipita Parks Fire Protection District. This plan passed by a close 468 to 464 margin. Oddly enough, this one involved the most money, and appeared to have the fewest chances of getting approved prior to the election, compared to other issues. But the election 2016 results fooled most political insiders.
Teller voters, though, did approve a series of pro-broadband initiatives, sponsored by city and county leaders, by fairly wide margins. This vote was much closer, however, among Woodland Park residents. This plan gives Teller County and local governments the right to get involved in the telecommunications arena by entering into agreements with local and regional providers.
As for state issues, Teller County voters mostly sided with the winning tallies on most key amendments. They supported efforts to raise the bar for constitutional amendments and endorsed changes to the presidential primary system that will change how elections are handled by the major parties for the next presidential vote.
But they made it clear, they oppose the plan for a state health care system by clobbering Amendment 69 and opposed bids for increasing the taxes on tobacco products and in increasing the minimum wage level. The latter issue, though, passed on statewide
Of all votes, the ones with the most lopsided margins dealt with the presidential race, as Teller voters threw their support behind Trump by a nearly 70 percent margin. Trump, buoyed by wins in the battleground states, carded close to garnering 300 Electoral College votes by Wednesday morning to capture the White House. However, he didn’t prevail in Colorado, marking one of the few key battleground states that Clinton won. But Trump’s victory is now regarded as one of the biggest upsets in modern political history.
As for the local ballot issues, Teller voters trounced the latest plan to end term limits by a more than two-to-one margin. This plan was heavily endorsed by District Attorney Dan May and Teller County Commissioner Dave Paul. It would have allowed all elected office-holders in Teller County the opportunity to serve an unlimited amount of terms. These types of propositions have historically fared poorly among local voters.
Election 2016 also amounted to a big defeat for proponents of a lodging tax in Cripple Creek by a rather close tally. This could impact the funding situation for the city and may put a dent on future marketing and special events pursuits in the gaming community.
The RE-1 School District also received a resounding defeat in its plan for more local tax dollars to offset funding reductions at the state level, with voters rejecting their plan by close to 60 percent.
Altogether, 12,133 votes were cast on Tuesday evening. This didn’t set a record in participation, but amounted to close to 75 percent of active, voters, and represented about 62 percent of all registered voters.
Stay tuned for more election coverage on and in the next issue of TMJ.