Voters send Rennison, Spiegel, Chavez to Board of Regents

Democrats gain board majority for first time in 40 years

Voters send Rennison, Spiegel, Chavez to Board of Regents

Voters in three Congressional districts on Tuesday chose the newest members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Candidates Callie Rennison, Ilana Spiegel and Nolbert Chavez were elected to six-year terms, which they’ll begin serving after they take their oaths of office in January.

Once seated, the new board will see its Republican majority flip to Democratic (5-4) for the first time since 1980. The election results also mean women will continue to outnumber men on the board, 5-4, which first happened following the 2018 election.

Incumbents Linda Shoemaker, D-Boulder, District 2; John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch, District 6; and Irene Griego, D-Jefferson County, District 7; all chose not to run for reelection in 2020.

Callie Rennison, D-Superior, will represent the 2nd District. A professor in the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver, Rennison garnered 276,164 votes, or 60%, against challenger Dick R. Murphy, R-Lafayette, who received 166,989 votes, or 36%. Vote totals are those as reported Wednesday morning by the Secretary of State.

“First, I am really honored and humbled that the public supported my campaign as they did,” Rennison said. “I think it speaks to the change they want to see on the board. Second, I believe my experience in the system across campuses and in different roles will benefit the board and enhance the team’s ability to make CU work for everyone. Third, I hope as a board we can take more action on the issues that are important to the people in the system.

“I want to see a deep dive into the budget to ensure our funds are being used to support students, prioritize academics, and support research and teaching. I want to see real action on improving diversity and inclusion versus just talking about it. The time for talking is over, and the time for data, metrics and expectations is now. In addition, I want our work to be more transparent to the community and those in the system so they can see that we are working for them.”

Ilana Spiegel, D-Englewood, has a long career in public education. She defeated Richard Murray, R-Highlands Ranch, to represent the 6th District. Spiegel received 210,647 votes, or 54%, against Murray’s 173,499 votes, or 44%.

“Our campaign launched with a simple message – to make the University of Colorado a flagship university that’s affordable, inclusive, and stands up for our students, educators, and families,” Spiegel said. “I am proud to have won this race with such a broad base of support from all political stripes throughout CD 6.

“Together, we helped bring a Democratic majority to the CU Board of Regents for the first time in 40 years. But as a CU Regent, I will represent all the people in our district – and bring pragmatic and thoughtful leadership to the University of Colorado Board of Regents – our third-largest employer in the state.”

Nolbert D. Chavez, D-Lakewood, who ran unopposed for the District 7 seat, received 289,051 votes. The Chief of External Initiatives and Executive Director of CityCenter at CU Denver, Chavez previously served in the state Legislature (1995-2002).

“I am very pleased with the result of the election,” Chavez said. “I am anxious to work with my new colleagues on the Board of Regents, for the betterment of the entire CU system. I plan to attend new regent orientation over the next few months, in anticipation of being sworn in and hitting the ground running on Jan. 7.”

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