5th Congressional District: Democrat Joe Reagan

Former Army Officer Joe Reagan is a first-time political candidate, after consulting consulting for years as an executive for non-profits.

Former Army Officer Joe Reagan is a first-time political candidate, after consulting for years as an executive for non-profits.

According to his campaign website, the father of two transitioned to Army intelligence work after serving two combat tours in Afghanistan. That work helped him develop a “deep understanding of the threats facing our nation including China’s growing influence on the world stage and Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states.”

Reagan has been endorsed by the relatively new “Welcome Party,” an organization looking to grow the Democratic party base by appealing to centrists turned off by the party’s progressive trajectory in recent years.   

“We need to focus on those independent voters that look at the polarization that's occurring in both parties and say, ‘we're done with this,’” he said. 

Reagan said his priorities include protecting abortion rights, advancing gun control legislation (such as universal background checks) and protecting funding for VA hospitals and clinics.  

Reagan spoke to CPR News about her positions on some of the issues that are most important to voters in the district.

On democracy and good governance

Reagan was not surprised to hear that protecting democracy emerged as a top issue for many voters in the Voter Voices survey.

He said he believes voters are tired of national parties blaming each other for voters’ lack of trust in the system. He also leveled criticism at what he called Republican legislators “extremely concerning” questions about the electoral process.

“Go out there and show us the evidence,” he said. “We’ve seen time and time again… all these investigations into this alleged fraud and they found none.” 

Reagan touts Colorado election laws as the “gold standard” for ensuring safe and secure outcomes.  

“Elected officials need to be the ones that are out there leading the charges saying, ‘Hey, whether I win or lose, I support this process,’” he said.

On the climate, environment and natural resources

“What's important to us as folks from Colorado is we want to preserve the natural beauty that exists in our community,” Reagan said when asked about his climate priorities. 

The Democratic Party is correct on the realities of climate change, he said, but has failed to adequately present the economic argument for aggressive investment into green technologies. Economic reasons for supporting the transition to clean energy are “almost as strong, if not stronger” than the moral arguments, according to Reagan. 

He advocates for leveraging Democratic connections to labor unions as a way to increase clean energy jobs for blue collar workers, an effort he believes would strengthen the local economy, help the United States stay globally competitive and protect Colorado’s valuable outdoor amenities into the future.

“The importance of the outdoor industry across the state of Colorado cannot be understated. We want to make sure that we're preserving that,” he said.

On the economy and cost of living

In addressing the housing concerns mentioned by voters, Reagan applauded efforts to house those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder. However, he said he wanted to work on finding solutions for those who make too much money for affordable housing programs, but who still struggle to buy property of their own. 

“It's those entry level homes, it's those first-time homebuyers that really are having a challenge of doing it,” he said, adding it’s often saving for a down payment that presents the biggest challenge. “Focusing on those middle income buyers is going to be something that's really critical locally but also nationally as well.” 

Reagan also mentioned that the fifth district, which is made up mostly of the city of Colorado Springs, needs to grow responsibly, by keeping water rights and other resource needs in mind. Those are issues usually handled by local governments, he conceded, but he believes the federal government can work on effectively managing forest resources and supporting wildfire prevention measures.