SENATE DISTRICT 29: Carroll vs Ross

Morgan Carroll would try to help the state’s economy by working with state officials to launch a cell phone application that would allow residents to search for locally made or locally grown items. She’d also work on passing a bill that would require state officials to hire Colorado employees whenever possible in projects for bid. She supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but doesn’t think that law should extend to military assault weapons. She thinks the state government should play a role in educating people about the Affordable Care Act. “I think largely our role is making sure we help the public know what their options are,” she said. State lawmakers could do that by hosting town hall meetings, compiling a Frequently Asked Questions list, and promptly answering questions about the new health care law. She’d try to redirect some funding from the department of corrections to help fund higher education, and she’d support a civil unions bill.

If Bill Ross is elected, he said he’d start interviewing representatives of all major industries in the state to find out what fees, rules and regulations they are being charged and whether those are preventing them from operating to their full potential. “Then, I’d start slashing every one of those things that have no bearing on the industry other than restricting it for no good reason,” he said. He said he wouldn’t support a gay marriage bill but he would be in favor of a civil unions bill. “Individuals have the right to contractually bind themselves together any way they well choose.” Before state lawmakers can tackle the problem of funding for higher education, Ross said they should first work on attracting and retaining businesses to the state. He also said teachers in K-12 and higher education should put more emphasis on critical thinking skills. When it comes to gun rights, he calls himself a “staunch defender” of the Second Amendment, and he’s a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. He wouldn’t be in favor of proposing any new gun laws at the state level. “It’s not guns that kill people,” he said. “If that was the case nobody could go to a gun show and come out alive. It’s people who kill people.”

Carroll inspired by famous leaders and firey family


Staff Writer

The people who inspire Morgan Carroll are well-known political leaders who possess unwavering convictions. They are people with a passion, similar to her own, for making a positive mark on the lives of others: Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela.

“I was always intrigued by people who managed to find nonviolent ways to change the world,” said Carroll, an Aurora Democrat running to keep her Senate District 29 seat.

Morgan Carroll rides her bike Friday afternoon, Sept. 7 at High Line Canal Trail in Aurora. Carroll is currently a Democratic state Senator representing District 29. She previously served in the state House and is running for re-election in the Senate. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

But growing up, the names of Carroll’s idols were a bit more obscure. They included her mother, Rebecca Bradley, her father, John Carroll, and her grandmother, Sylvia Petrie Carroll.

Her grandmother was a brazen schoolteacher who became the superintendent of Gunnison Schools when that job title was largely filled by men.

Her mother, a lawyer, taught Carroll at a young age that she had an obligation to speak up if she was a witness to anything resembling injustice, tyranny, or oppression.

“She would use the example of the Holocaust as something that can happen when good people stand by and do nothing,” Carroll said.

Carroll followed her mother’s career path and graduated with a juris doctorate from the University of Colorado School of Law in 2000. After having spent a decade working with her mother at their own law firm, she currently works for the Sawaya Law Firm, which has offices in Denver and Greeley.

She also followed in the footsteps of her father, who served in the Colorado Legislature between 1964 and 1974 and championed bills to improve the lives of business employees and consumers.

“He was a very powerful idealist,” Carroll said. “He felt that if something was right, he’d pursue it no matter what.”

Carroll describes her parents as strong, cause-oriented people who advocated for “the little guy” — a trait that she has tried to emulate in her role as a state lawmaker.

This past Legislative session, she has passed several bills including one that requires county approval before a water or sanitation district can expand their current boundaries, and one that does away with the requirement for a court appearance for couples without children who want a legal separation. She’s also advocated for criminal justice and civil rights issues, civil unions, and more transparency in government.

Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or 

Tragedy ledd Ross to a career in understanding


Bill Ross’s interest in politics might have never fully flourished if it hadn’t been for a tragic airplane accident that took his father’s life.

Ross, Republican candidate for Senate District 29, was about 13 years old when his father, an instructor pilot in the U.S. Air Force, died in plane crash when he and a civilian pilot miscalculated how far away from the ground they were.

Bill Ross plays with his dog Yukon Sept. 21 at his home. Ross, a former shopping center developer and a U.S. Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam war, is the Republican candidate running for Senate District 29. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Ross grew up in California and he and his father had a close relationship. But his father wasn’t interested in politics, and preferred to abide by his own values and morals instead of attaching himself to political ideologies.

It wasn’t until Ross’s father died, and his mother and grandparents helped raise him, that the political bug bit him. His grandparents were precinct captains and his interest in government affairs grew more intense over the years. He majored in political science at the Air Force Academy, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1969. He was sent overseas to serve during the Vietnam war, and left the Air Force in 1974 to pursue other interests as a civilian. Those included working as a sales engineer, working for a commercial real estate industry, and eventually becoming a shopping center developer in California. During his time as a developer, he had to deal with unwieldy government regulations that would result in a waiting game of sometimes 12 years to get development permits. He said California’s regulations are similar to Colorado’s, and they need to change. “I understand where the danger is, and what needs to be done in order to get government out of the way and get business working again,” he said.

Ross moved to Aurora in 2002 with his wife and now lives in the Saddle Rock neighborhood. This year, he decided to heed his wife’s advice to become politically active instead of yelling at the television, and entered the race for Senate District 29. “I had no intention whatsoever to run for politics,” he said. “The real reason why I’m doing it now is because I’m scared to death about the direction of the country and the state. I don’t want to crawl into the grave and say I didn’t do my part.”

Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or