Frazier calls stimulus a failure, but his school, district he seeks to represent have benefited

Ryan Frazier, the Republican nominee for the 7th CD seat now held by Democrat Ed Perlmutter, has called the stimulus bill a failure.

Ryan Frazier

This may not be news except for the fact that two organizations Frazier represents have accepted stimulus funds. Frazier is one of the founders and the current vice president of the advisory board at High Point Academy an Aurora charter school that is actually in the Brighton School District. Secondly, he sits on the Aurora City Council, which also has accepted just under $20 million in stimulus spending.

All told the 7th CD has been the beneficiary of more than $750 million in direct stimulus spending (not counting tax breaks, unemployment benefits and food stamps), which, according to the federal government, has been responsible for saving or creating thousands of jobs in the district.

Regarding High Point Academy charter school, Frazier told the Denver Post: “It (stimulus spending) didn’t stand out because of all the numbers we were looking at.” The school receives about $50,000 a year in stimulus spending.

“If he thinks the High Point budget has too many numbers to keep track of, I wish him good luck with the federal budget,” said Leslie Oliver, communications director for Perlmutter’s campaign. “As a board member, he has a fiduciary responsibility to understand the school budget,” she added.

Since becoming one of the founders of High Point Academy, a charter school in Aurora, Frazier has missed nearly half the meetings of the school’s advisory board. Of 35 meetings, Frazier has attended 18, been on the phone for six, and been totally absent for 11.

As on the Aurora City Council, where he has also missed roughly half the meetings since he was elected, his record was defended — this time by the school principal.

“It’s not a problem,” said the school’s executive director and principal, Terry Croy Lewis. “If there was a problem, the board president would address it with him,” she said. “He has been a very good board member.”

The board president did not return calls and emails for this story.

Lewis, who describes herself as a “tried and true Democrat,” said she does not live in the 7th CD. If she did, she says she would vote for Frazier. “The thing about Ryan is he’s a moderate,” she said.

Leslie Oliver, the Perlmutter campaign’s communications director, says Frazier’s comments on the stimulus bill and on High Point’s budget are irresponsible.

The issue of stimulus spending and High Point Academy came up during a debate on Saturday when Frazier said the stimulus bill was a failure and Perlmutter then pointed out that High Point Academy accepts the benefits of the stimulus bill.

“He shouldn’t talk about things he doesn’t know about,” said Oliver. “It is the height of hypocrisy for him to call the stimulus a failure when he, his kids, the school he started and the city where he is a city councilman all benefit. It is very hypocritical for him to say those things when his school and his city accept that money.”

Any way you slice it — whether you view it as a success or a failure — The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the 7th Congressional District in the last two years.

A few examples:

o About $10 million to increase food stamp benefits by 13 percent.
o $133,000 for capital improvements to the Fairmount Fire Protection District.
o A $49,000 grant to the Colorado District Attorneys Council to train criminal justice professionals about violence against women.
o Millions for new traffic signals.
o Tens of millions for highway and bridge repairs and improvements.
o $40 million for light rail.
o More than $300 million in additional unemployment benefits.
o Tens of millions to make public buildings throughout the district more energy efficient.
o About $10 million in grants to low income families to improve the energy efficiency of homes.
o Tens of millions of dollars to schools, especially for services to low-income students and students with disabilities.
o $50 million to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
o More than $60 million to the Small Business Administration for loans to businesses in the district.
o $11 million for improvements to the I-225/Colfax interchange.
o $22 million in grants to two Commerce City companies to build a facility to convert biowaste into jet fuel.
o $110 million to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for construction projects.
o $25.5 million to NREL in research grants.
o 6,200 families in the district received first-time home-buyer tax credits of up to $8,000 each.
o 258,000 families in the district benefited from a tax cut funded by the stimulus bill.
o More than 90,000 CD 7 seniors received an additional $250 in Social Security benefits.
o Colorado School of Mines received $18 million in research grants and in funds designed to sustain jobs.

The Colorado Independent left voice mails for Frazier at his home and at his campaign office. The calls were not returned. Numbers above came from federal and state websites.

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About the Author

Scot Kersgaard

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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