CU regent hopeful makes Aspen campaign stop |

CU regent hopeful makes Aspen campaign stop

Courtesy photo

Photos of political candidates often show them posed with their family, but that’s not the case with Heidi Ganahl. Instead, her media kit includes a photo of Ganahl and her dog.

Ganahl, 50, has family — she’s the mother of four who remarried after her first husband died in a plane crash in 1994.

But dogs have been a significant part of her life, as well. Ganahl and her late husband hatched the concept for a dog care company that came to fruition after his death. Camp Bow Wow was launched in 2000 before the publicly traded VCA Animal Hospitals acquired it in 2014. By then, the company had ranked No. 50 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of fastest-growing companies in 2010 and had more than 125 locations. Ganahl remains CEO of the company while residing in Superior.

Ganahl was in Aspen last weekend to raise funds for what her campaign calls “one of the most important races you never hear about.”

The race is for one of the two at-large seats on the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, which also has seven seats for each of Colorado’s congressional districts. Republican Glen Gallegos of Grand Junction represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Aspen and Pitkin County. Republicans hold a 5-4 majority on the board, whose members serve six-year terms.

A CU alumna, Ganahl has no political experience, unlike her opponent, Boulder Democrat Alice Madden, who was the state’s House majority leader from 2005 to 2008. The two are vying for the seat held by Republican Steve Bosley, who is leaving because of term limits.

Ganahl sits on a number of boards, including the ones for the Governor’s School Safety Committee and the University of Colorado Foundation. She also founded the nonprofit Moms Fight Back in 2014.

One of Ganahl’s chief priorities is to make CU more affordable.

“The cost has grown so much in the past five or six years,” she said earlier this week in The Aspen Times offices, noting that the “middle class is getting squeezed out” by the cost of tuition at CU. In the last decade, CU’s in-state tuition has gone up $5,000; it currently stands at nearly $30,000 a year.

Ganahl said she believes she can bring down the cost through private funding instead of relying on state funding. Her experience on the University of Colorado Foundation’s board gives her some insight for achieving that goal, she said.

Madden, too, wants to make CU more affordable, but in part by forming “diverse collaborations to support increasing state funding for in-state students,” according to her campaign website.

Ganahl’s other chief priorities include helping graduates land good jobs after college, maintaining a safe campus and not limiting free speech on the campus.

“Colleges and universities are places for learning more about oneself, others and the world; areas where anyone should be unable to speak their mind,” her campaign platform states. “I will work to return the debate and open discussion to our campuses. Let’s teach students how to think, not what to think.”

The CU campus is the state’s third-largest employer and pumps more than $7 billion a year into the economy. The board of regents chooses the university system’s president, approves the budget, establishes policy and determines degree programs.

CU, the state’s flagship university system, has nearly 58,000 students and four campuses. Its main one is in Boulder.

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