The 2018 Colorado gubernatorial race is in its early stages, but Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is making an initial — and modest — media pitch to voters on his education agenda.
With back-to-school season as a backdrop, Polis is debuting a new commercial exclusively on the internet that highlights his pledge to expand full-day kindergarten and provide tuition-free preschool to all Colorado families.
Chalkbeat was provided an exclusive first look at the commercial Monday.
“Every year, thousands of children — the kids of our friends and neighbors — are left behind simply because their parents cannot afford quality preschool,” Polis says on the ad over images of children in classrooms and on playgrounds. “Good, full-day preschool and kindergarten makes a tremendous difference in a child’s life. … I’m running for governor to fight for bold ideas like free, full day preschool.”
The 30-second video, which will be blasted to Colorado voters on social media, is just a glimpse at what is expected to be an avalanche of commercials from gubernatorial candidates. Colorado political observers believe the 2018 gubernatorial race will be the most expensive in the state’s history.
Although the governor’s office has relatively little influence over public schools, candidates from both major parties are incorporating messages about education into their platforms.
On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Michael Johnston has promised to provide tuition-free college, and businessman Noel Ginsburg wants to expand apprenticeship programs. Among Republicans, former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, in a radio ad posted to YouTube this month, promises to boost vocational training.
Polis’s promise to create a “winning coalition to establish universal full day kindergarten and preschool” faces considerable roadblocks — the state is cash-strapped as it is, and voters historically have been unwilling to increases taxes for education on a statewide scale.
“If you don’t try, then it will result in failure every time,” Polis said in an interview with Chalkbeat before releasing the online ad. “Politicians have talked about preschool and kindergarten for decades in this state. And we’re going to make it a priority and get this done. … That’s where I’m going to use my political capital.”
To read more about Polis’s preschool pledge, click here. Here’s the commercial: