Keith King to seek D-12 Senate seat

       Keith King, founder and administrator of the new Colorado Springs Early Colleges charter high school and former District 21 state representative, has announced his candidacy as a Republican for Senate District 12 in the November 2008 election.
       He hopes to replace Republican Andy McElhany, who was re-elected without opposition in 2004 but is term-limited. The large district, which includes much of western El Paso County and Westside segments north and south of the Old Colorado City area, is considered a Republican stronghold, with a roughly 3-1 voter registration advantage. It is not known if another Republican challenger might step forward.
       McElhany is one of several area leaders to endorse King. Others include Westsider/County Commissioner Sallie Clark, current District 21 Representative Bob Gardner, El Paso County Commissioner and Chairman Dennis Hisey, Commissioner Jim Bensberg, Fountain Mayor Jeri Howells and businessman Steve Schuck.
       King said he plans to especially focus on business and education issues. On the business side he hopes to “reduce regulation that's forcing costs to go up.” King, a former waterbed store chain owner, criticized Democrat Governor Bill Ritter's administration for pushing a “legislative green initiative that forces businesses to pick up the costs. The small mom-and-pop businesses are struggling to survive.”
       In education, King said he will draw in part on his success with Early Colleges, which offers free higher-education classes to qualifying students by their junior year in high school. The school has about 320 students (and a long waiting list) in its first year of operation at the Colorado Technical University campus, he said.
       King added that he will continue to stay involved with Early Colleges. However, he said he will probably step aside from the day-to-day running of the school when the Legislature is in session.
       King had previously served eight years as the District 21 representative in the Statehouse (he had to step down in '06 because of term limitations). Most of that time there were Republican majorities in the Legislature. The Democrats currently control both houses, in addition to the governor's office, but King said he has worked well in the past with Peter Groff, who was recently named the State Senate president. “There are some great opportunities for bipartisanship in the Senate, at least,” he said.
       In support of King, Clark described him as someone who “believes in fiscal responsibility and personally understands the challenges facing small-businesses. He also has a proven track record on our issues; better roads and transportation, improved educational opportunities and collaborating with local officials on regional solutions.”

Westside Pioneer article