Senator John Kefalas's Political Positions

Office: State Senate (CO) - District 14, Democratic
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John Kefalas has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2016 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Colorado State Legislative Election 2016 Political Courage Test


Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Inferred Answer
Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.
Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.
Pro-choicea) Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Nob) Should abortions be illegal after the first trimester of pregnancy?
Yesc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Noe) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Nof) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Nog) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for abortion procedures?
Noh) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for organizations that perform abortions?
i) Other or expanded principles:

While a close parent-child bond is best in matters of this kind, there are circumstances (abuse, incest, etc) where parental notification and approval is not reasonable. In those cases, there ought to be a judicial waiver possible. Abortions ought to be safe, legal and rare, but this most personal and difficult decision must be made by the woman. The role of government is to partner with community-based groups and schools to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancies by ensuring comprehensive sex education services and addressing poverty and other underlying causes. For some questions, a yes-no answer does not suffice.

1) Budget Stabilization:

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Colorado's budget.

Yesa) Tapping into Colorado's "rainy day" fund
Nob) Decreasing funding for public universities
Noc) Reducing state employee salaries AND/OR pensions
Nod) Instituting mandatory furloughs AND/OR layoffs for state employees
Noe) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
f) Other or expanded principles:

Each year we must balance competing budget priorities. We need to continue making government more efficient and effective with employee organizations at the table. We must augment Colorado's "rainy day" fund and use funds under the proper circumstances. We have restored some of the cuts to higher education, and we've provided colleges with tuition flexibility to help offset state budget cuts. Nonetheless, I am deeply concerned that we are making a post-secondary education out of reach for many would-be students. We need to exempt hospital provider fee revenue from TABOR to allow us to further invest in our infastructure gaps.

2) State Spending:

Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.

Greatly Increasea) Education (higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Slightly Increasec) Environment
Maintain Statusd) Health care
Slightly Decreasee) Law enforcement/corrections
Greatly Increasef) Transportation/infrastructure
Slightly Increaseg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories:

Colorado's Constitution requires a balanced budget. Our continued economic recovery is critical to increase investment in these public-service areas. We must address our structural budget problems and develop stable and secure revenue streams. Current education funding does not meet our needs to address achievement gaps and workforce development needs; environmental protection is essential in light of wildfires and other ecological imbalances; health care costs need to decrease while we improve health outcomes and cover everyone; multi-modal transportation infrastructure is vital for commerce, need to repair and improve; a strong and effective social safety net is a core responsibility.

3) State Taxes:

Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Increasec) Corporate taxes
Slightly Decreased) Small business taxes
Slightly Increasee) Gas/Oil taxes
Maintain Statusf) Property taxes
Maintain Statusg) Sales taxes
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decreasei) Income taxes (mid-income families)
Greatly Increasej) Income taxes (high-income families)
Yesk) Do you support applying sales taxes to all online purchases?
l) Other or expanded principles:

Low-Inome Working Families typically have a limited tax liability. We need to address income inequality, and one way of doing this is with refundable tax credits that reward work such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child and Child Care Tax Credits.

a) Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates?

Yes1) Individual
Yes2) Political Action Committee
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Party
Yesb) Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yesc) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yesd) Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?
Noe) Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?
f) Other or expanded principles:

With the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that corporations are persons and money is speech - thereby voiding most corporate campaign finance restrictions - disclosure of donors and expenses is even more critical. I support complete transparency and accountability concerning campaign finance, and I also support public financing of elections and alternative voting methods such as ranked choice voting. Voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem.

Noa) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Noc) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Nod) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
Yese) Do you support delaying the seizure of assets by law enforcement officials until after a conviction?
f) Other or expanded principles:

As a Christian, I cannot support capital punishment as a matter of faith and conscience. I also think its implementation is flawed, and costs the state money better spent on services for crime victims - solving cold-case homicides. Our criminal justice approach must emphasize incarcerating offenders who are a danger to society while addressing mental health and substance abuse issues to help offenders, who have served their time, to reintegrate back into society.

Yesa) Do you support government spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Yesb) Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
Yesc) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yesd) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Yese) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
Nof) Do you support requiring welfare applicants to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits?
Yesg) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Yesh) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
Yesi) Do you support an increase of the minimum wage?
Noj) Should employers be able to ask about applicants' criminal history before interviewing them?
k) Other or expanded principles:

It is necessary to clarify these answers because yes/no is too restrictive. While interest rates are historically low, infrastructure is deteriorating and too many people are underemployed, thus creating infrastructure jobs makes sense. Targeted incentives such as tax credits to create jobs are appropriate, so long as results are measurable and delivered. We also need to improve small business access to capital. Regulations that are outdated, overly burdensome or serve no useful public purpose should be reduced. In other cases - such as protecting Colorado's groundwater from energy development - we need to increase appropriate health and safety regulations.

Noa) Do you support the national Common Core State Standards initiative?
Nob) Do you support a merit pay system for teachers?
c) Is the tenure process for public school teachers producing effective teachers?
Nod) Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their children to any school?
Yese) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yesf) Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?
Yesg) Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Colorado high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
h) Other or expanded principles:

Education standards ought to be developed at a state and local level. High school graduates ought to demonstrate proficiency in meeting these standards in order to earn a diploma, recognizing that there are multiple assessment tools to help determine proficiencies and competencies. As part of any merit pay system, we must first develop fair and objective teacher/principal/systems evaluations with inclusive input, advice and cooperation. I support state funding for charter schools within the public school system. I support expanding post-secondary education and training opportunities for our children and increasing merit and needs-based financial aid.

Yesa) Do you support state funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
Nob) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
Yesc) Do you support state funding for improvements to Colorado's energy infrastructure?
Yesd) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Yese) Do you support government regulations of greenhouse gas emissions?
Yesf) Do you support increased regulations of the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
g) Other or expanded principles:

We must transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner and sustainable energy sources. The state has increased the renewable energy standard, offered financial incentives and is helping to provide the clean energy infrastructure. Fossil fuels are a significant part of our current energy portfolio, and these industries provide jobs and economic activity, issues that must be considered. Moving from coal to natural gas makes sense but we need to consider retraining of displaced workers. Energy efficiency/conservation is critical. We must protect environment and water. At state level, open space preservation is handled through conservation easements and Great Outdoors Colorado.

Yesa) Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
Yesb) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Yesc) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Nod) Should a license be required for gun possession?
e) Other or expanded principles:

Felons should not be able to purchase guns, so restrictions and background checks are needed, including at gun shows and over the internet. We want to ensure suspected terrorists cannot easily acquire firearms. I support Colorado laws allowing people to obtain concealed carry permits through their county sheriff. The Supreme Court's recent ruling that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms makes a license for gun possession unconstitutional. The court did affirm the constitutionality of reasonable restrictions on gun purchase, possession and use. In light of mass shootings, we must also address gun purchases and mental health.

Yesa) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yesb) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
Noc) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
Yesd) Do you support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Yese) Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance?
Yesf) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yesg) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles:

I prefer a health care system that is sustainable, universally accessible, affordable and high quality with lower costs and improved health care outcomes that emphasizes primary care, prevention and wellnes through patient-centered medical homes and efficient, integrated finance and delivery systems. Payment reforms, evidence-based clinical practices, more effective chronic disease management are critical components. Under federal reform, the individual mandate is necessary to increase risk pool and address adverse selection. Regarding interstate health insurance compacts and monetary limits on malpractice lawsuits, the devil is in the details. Physician-prescribed medical marijuana is a voter-approved constitutional right in Colorado.

Yesa) Do you support same-sex marriage?
Yesb) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Colorado's anti-discrimination laws?
Yesc) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Colorado's anti-discrimination laws?
Yesd) Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Colorado?
e) Other or expanded principles:

Marriage as a spiritual union is best left to individual churches' decisions, but marriage as a legal contract under state law ought not to be denied to same-sex couples. I was glad the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide. I believe terminally ill people should have the right to control how and when they pass. I supported the end of life options act in the state legislature and support the current ballot initiative. Oregon's experience has shown there are sufficient safeguards in the law to prevent the kinds of abuses we are all concerned about.

In the following area, please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

America prospers when we have a strong middle class earning enough wages to raise a family with financial security. As a long-time advocate for working families and people on low and fixed-incomes, I am committed to building a resilient and sustainable economy that works for all of us.

As a state senator, I've focused on creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, encouraging domestic manufacturing and promoting renewable energy. I've voted to invest in our schools, reduce taxes for small businesses and working families to spur job growth. Improving our health care and child welfare systems and civic engagment are high priorities.

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