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Summers, Kerr heading back to state House

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By AJ Vicens

State Reps. Ken Summers and Jim Kerr, both Republicans, retained their seats in the state House in the Nov. 4 election.

Summers was challenged by Lakewood Democrat Camille Ryckman, a former teacher and a current stay-at-home mom who is active in the local PTA. Kerr faced a challenge from a familiar foe, Littleton Democrat Tom Dittemore, who has run against him twice.

"I'm feeling good," Summers said Nov. 7. "I'm pleased with the outcome, and it's exciting to have the opportunity to serve in the next session." Ryckman could not be reached for comment.

Summers, also a former teacher, won a second term representing House District 22. He topped Ryckman by 8 percentage points, more than 3,000 votes.

Education was the most important issue for both of the teachers, but they disagreed on the issue of vouchers: Summers supported them, and Ryckman did not. They also disagreed on universal health care in Colorado, with Ryckman pushing for it and Summers opposed to a mandate.

Summers said he will focus on what he calls "common sense" legislation in the 2009 session. He wants to pass a law requiring photo ID for voter registration, a bill he unsuccessfully pushed in 2008. He also wants to carry a bill that would extend in-state tuition benefits to students who move to Colorado because of a job transfer.

Kerr's race in state House District 28 wasn't nearly as close

The Littleton Republican won a third term by a nearly 16-point margin over Dittemore. Kerr got 21,473 votes to Dittemore's 15,111.

"I don't take anything for granted, but I thought I had a pretty good shot at winning," Kerr said Nov. 7. "Tom (Dittemore) is a nice guy, and I know he's got the people that support him."

Kerr is the ranking Republican on the Health and Human Services Committee. He said that health care is one of his pet issues and that his motto is: "Clean up, clarify or make go away." He had a $10,000 fund-raising advantage over Dittemore at the end of August, and said he could have raised more but didn't need it.

Kerr said he would probably serve on the audit, health care, appropriations and finance committees in 2009. He wants to work on legislation dealing with the way governmental entities in Colorado share information. He cited the situation in Aurora when an illegal immigrant killed three people in a car accident, all after he had been arrested 16 times.