Mrs. Huerta, if you please

By Kevin Denke
Posted 8/3/10

BRIGHTON — Sufficient name recognition is a concern for any political candidate.     Democratic House District 30 candidate Laura Huerta is no exception. But it’s a little …

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Mrs. Huerta, if you please


BRIGHTON — Sufficient name recognition is a concern for any political candidate.

    Democratic House District 30 candidate Laura Huerta is no exception. But it’s a little different for the aspiring state representative from Brighton.

    While she is well-known in this community, many know the retired, long-time educator more formally as Mrs. Huerta.

    “Some of the people walking with me were giving me a hard time because they’d talked with some of my (former) students,” Huerta said. “They said, ‘Laura, your name should be Miss on the ballot. Are you sure you shouldn’t have put that on the ballot because they won’t know you by your first name.’”

    Huerta has spent the past three months knocking on doors across House District 30, which encompasses a wide swath of Adams County including Brighton, making sure everyone knows her first and last name.

    Huerta, who taught for 39 years (including 19 years at Vikan Middle School in Brighton), is no stranger to the political process. Until this year, it was mostly behind the scenes. She remembers late Brighton resident Dave Lockman pushing her to become involved in Molly Market’s Statehouse run in 1982, and she worked a number of campaigns from there for Don Armstrong, Bob Martinez, Stan Matsunaka, Tom Strickland, Stephanie Takis and current state Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton).

    Huerta weighed a campaign two years ago for House District 30 but decided against it. Democrat and fellow educator Dave Rose lost that race to current state Rep. Kevin Priola.

    “I decided if we want to take back this Democratic seat, now is the time to do it,” she said.

    A big part of her decision to run was based on the state’s current economic problems and the massive cuts to public education.

    “I really feel we need to look for revenues to stop the (education) funding cuts,” Huerta said. “When we don’t have the resources we need for the classroom, it’s hard to keep asking teachers to do more and more. That’s what we’re doing. We need to have a quality teacher in every classroom. But those teachers need the resources to be successful.

    “If we don’t educate our kids, what do we have?” she added.

    She said she has met a good cross-section of residents during door knocking that has taken her to the far reaches of the district.

    “I have been to doors of people who say, “Oh my goodness, we’ve never seen a candidate before,’” she said. “Are you lost?”

    It’s allowed Huerta to measure the pulse of the district when it comes to the issues residents are facing.

    “I have a lot of seniors in my House district, awesome people, just awesome people,” Huerta said. “They’re trying to hold on. They’re trying to survive. They are the kind of people who have been through these kinds of times before. They’re willing to hold on and hope things improve.”

    She said she has also found a strong urge among working-class people in Adams County who want to live and work in the same community.

    “They don’t have the stable, well-paying jobs here, and that’s a concern,” she said. “I think we need to engage the business community in rebuilding our economy and help to elevate our workforce.”

    She favors more collaboration with colleges and universities to ensure students are being trained for the jobs that are needed.

    Huerta pledges this as a campaign for the people as she nears an Aug. 10 primary date with fellow Democratic candidate MaryEllen Pollack. It’s why she has enjoyed hearing their thoughts and concerns.

    “I don’t have to say much. They want to be heard,” she said. “That’s important to me. I’m not out there to necessarily sell myself. I have met wonderful people, and I’m going to know, win or lose, I worked as hard as I could.”





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