Name: Lisa Frizell
Profession: Douglas County Assessor
Biography: Having grown up in Douglas County, it has been an amazing experience to see a quiet agrarian area evolve into the vibrant and diverse set of communities we now live in. I have always had a servant’s heart, and while I have worked in the assessor’s office for almost 25 years, it has been the honor of my life to serve the citizens of Douglas County as their elected assessor for the last eight years. I live in The Meadows with my husband, David, and our pup, Sophie, and we share three children and two grandchildren.
When it comes to funding school districts and paying teachers in Colorado – How do you think we stack up on a national level? What do you think should be done at the state level to address the problems teachers and schools are facing?
Regardless of how Colorado ranks nationally, we must do better for our children and our teachers. Colorado is a local control state. Once funds get to each district, it is up to that school board to allocate how they’re used. Here in Douglas County, we know that our teachers aren’t being paid competitively, and that nearby districts have higher average teacher salaries. Statewide in 2000, there were 8.65 students per public school staff. Today, that number is 6.85. This reflects a 132% growth in central office administrators. We need transparency from all districts on how education dollars are spent.
Mental health continues to be a problem in Colorado and nationwide – What should be done at the state level to address the youth mental health crisis and to continue increasing help for adults?
Lockdowns, isolation, masking children for hours on end, stress of the pandemic and economic uncertainty have now yielded a host of mental health issues for adults and our youth. We are so woefully understaffed in mental health workers and facilities in this state that we should declare Colorado to be in a mental health emergency. Colorado needs more beds for youth and adults experiencing mental health crisis. Yet, year after year, our state budget disregards this issue. When elected, I will advocate for our state budget to address this crisis because it affects so many other areas of societal health.
Inflation, gas prices and the economy continue to be an issue in 2022 – Families are paying extra for everything. What can and should be done in Colorado to help families?
Coloradans are feeling the crunch with increased gas prices and inflation at over 8%. Relief could come by passing Prop 121 - a modest reduction in the state income tax putting $400 million back in our pockets. Energy policies have hurt working Coloradans, as many must decide to fill up their car or pay for groceries. Colorado can and should be part of the solution, and we need to repeal the legislative regulations that crushed our oil and gas industry. Crime exacerbates affordability issues as our citizens are seeing their insurance rates increase, and stores raise prices due to retail theft.
If elected, can you work on a bi-partisan level to pass bills and address the needs of the Colorado population as a whole and not just live along party lines? Give examples of where you could compromise.
Last year of the 657 bills introduced, 507 were ultimately signed into law. Some of the best legislation to come out of the last two sessions were bi-partisan efforts. I look forward to working with House Republicans and Democrats alike to solve the very great challenges facing our state -specifically water issues, crime, affordability, student performance and education funding.
Housing affordability and homelessness have become a state and nationwide issue. What can be done at the state level to address the growing problem?
We must begin to have serious conversations about housing affordability, crime, workforce creation, and mental health issues. As a society, we must stop kicking the can down the road on homelessness. It’s not compassionate to let another human being sleep on the street. Enabling homelessness only serves to dehumanize people and increases our already escalating crime rate. We need to provide a hand up to those who will take it -provide mental health and addiction services to those who need them and take into custody those who would prefer chronic homelessness and addiction over being law abiding members of society.
Crime is quickly becoming a major concern in Colorado. With Colorado ranking first in the nation for car thefts, and major crimes on the rise – what do state lawmakers need to do to help fix the problems?
Crime isn't just a "major concern" in Colorado - it is the #1 concern, and I am in favor of bills that support law enforcement and put teeth back in our judicial system so that crimes are prosecuted. We are in the midst of a crime tsunami because we have reduced or eliminated bonds for violent charges, criminals are not being sent to jail, and illegal drugs are flooding into Colorado. In 2019 the legislature reduced legal consequences for an entire class of drugs. We simply must increase penalties for sales and possession of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs.
Public trust in government, elections and public health are at an all-time low – What should state and federal lawmakers be doing differently to change public perception?
Government has and continues to encroach far too much on people's lives, and citizens don’t feel like their voices are heard. As elected officials, we must be transparent and accessible to our constituents. I would like to work with other elected officials to hold a series of town hall meetings in House District 45 so that constituents can question and hear from those who represent them. I will pledge to do everything I can to let my constituents know that I am accessible, know what we are working on, and take valuable feedback on how real Coloradans think we can improve.
Water rights and water availability are becoming an issue for counties and local municipalities – what can the state do to create a strategic plan that works for all?
Colorado’s water issues require statewide collaboration from all levels of government. As a legislator, I would encourage broad stakeholder engagement and expertise to develop a plan that includes conservation, increased storage, and proper utilization. The Town of Castle Rock has demonstrated real leadership and made great decisions to limit turf in new construction, incentivize homeowners to replace their grass with Coloradoscape, and invest in innovative water treatment and delivery so that we not only conserve but reuse water. The state should also encourage removal of invasive, non-native species along the rivers and water systems like Tamarisk and Russian Olives.