John Kefalas

Infobox State Representative
name=John Kefalas

term_start=January 10, 2007
preceded=Bob McCluskey
date of birth=birth date and age|mf=yes|1954|12|26
place of birth=Piraeus, Greece
date of death=
place of death=
profession=Activist, Legislator

John Michael Kefalas (born December 26, 1954cite web |url= |title=Representative John Michael Kefalas |accessdate=2007-03-14 |format=html |work=Project Vote Smart] ) is a legislator in the U.S. state of Colorado. An educator and lobbyist before first running for the legislature in 2004, Kefalas defeated a Republican incumbent to win election to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2006. He represents House District 52, which encompasses the eastern half of Fort Collins, Colorado.cite web |url= |title=State House District 52 |accessdate=2007-10-21 |format=html |work=COMaps ] In the legislature, Kefalas has focused on health care and poverty issues, and he is seeking re-election to a second term in the state house in 2008.

Early career

Born in Piraeus, Greece,cite web |url= |title=Representative John Michael Kefalas |accessdate=2007-03-14 |format=html |work=Project Vote Smart] Kefalas earned a bachelor's degree in botanycite news |first=Nate |last=Taylor |title=Changing political landscape challenges HD52 contenders |url= |work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=July 3, 2008 |accessdate=2008-08-05 ] from Colorado State University in 1978 and then joined the Peace Corps in 1979, serving as an agricultural extension worker in El Salvador. After returning to the United States, he earned a master's degree in teaching, with a secondary science specialization from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1982 and taught in the Poudre School District. He has also worked as an employment counselor for Larimer County, Colorado, and as a health outreach worker.

From 1997 to 2004, Kefalas worked as a public policy advocate and community development coordinator for Catholic Charities until his departure amidst a controversy regarding his public support for "Roe v. Wade" and abortion rights during his 2004 legislative campaign.cite news |first=Ted |last=Olsen |title=Colorado candidate: Catholic Charities fired me over abortion support |url= |work=Christianity Today |date=August 1, 2004 |accessdate=2007-11-13 ] Before entering the legislature, he directed the Colorado Progressive Coalition's Tax Fairness Project.cite web |url= |title=About John |accessdate=2007-03-14 |format=html | ] He has served as a member of the Fort Collins Housing Authority and the Colorado Social Legislation Committee,cite web |url= |title=Representative John Michael Kefalas |accessdate=2007-07-13 |format=html |work=Project Vote Smart] and, in 2001, won the City of Fort Collins Human Relations Award.cite web |url= |title=John Kefalas |accessdate=2007-07-13 |format=html |work=City of Fort Collins]

From 1980 to 1994, Kefalas redirected a portion of his federal income taxes to charitable organizationscite news |first=Erin |last=Rosa |title=Caught in the question mark| url= |work=Rocky Mountain Chronicle |date=November 14, 2006 |accessdate=2007-07-12 ] as a protest against United States military actions in Central America. He has paid his income taxes in full since 1994, but continued to boycott the federal telephone excise tax as recently as 2004. As a result, Kefalas has had a lien filed him and has had wages garnished. Kefalas has paid his back taxes and considers his actions to be a conscientious protest. He has also written about his experience of "war tax resistance" for the newsletter of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.cite news |first=John |last=Kefalas |title=War Tax Resistance -- Part of the Complete Package | url= |work=More Than a Paycheck: News from the War Tax Resistance Movement |date=February 2001 |accessdate=2007-12-29 ] In both his 2004 and 2006 legislative campaigns, Kefalas was accused of avoiding his federal tax obligation, both by his Republican opponent and by independent political committees.cite news |first=Greg |last=Campbell |title=John Kefalas alleges dirty tactics | url= |work=Fort Collins Weekly |date=August 30, 2006 |accessdate=2007-12-29 ] cite web |url= |title=The Real John Kefalas |accessdate=2007-12-29 |work=YouTube ] Kefalas has also been an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, and has engaged in non-violent civil disobedience in protest of the war.cite news |first=Matthew |last=Benson |title=Candidate Kefalas skips taxes in protest |url= |work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=August 5, 2004 |accessdate=2007-03-14 ]

Kefalas is married; he and his wife Beth have two sons — Harlan, an active-duty U.S. Army soldier who has served in Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan,cite news |first=John |last=Kefalas |title=Kefalas: War, Peace and Family Values |url= |work=Fort Collins Now |date=May 23, 2008 |accessdate=2008-06-13 ] and Timothy, a student at Colorado State University..] cite web |url= |title=About John |accessdate=2007-03-14 |format=html | ]

Legislative career

Infobox Colorado Legislation
Bill Number 1=HB07-1026
Bill Link 1=
Bill Title 1=Concerning health insurance at institutions of higher education
Bill Status 1=Signed by Gov. Ritter
Bill Link 2=
Bill Number 2=HB07-1131
Bill Title 2=Concerning standards for hemodialysis technicians as part of the state regulation of dialysis treatment clinics [...]
Bill Status 2=Signed by Gov. Ritter
Bill Link 3=
Bill Number 3=HB07-1162]
Bill Title 3=Concerning [...] creating a study group and pilot project on the use of instant runoff voting and other methods that allow voters to express preferences on multiple candidates
Bill Status 3=Postponed indefinitely in House committee
Bill Link 4=
Bill Number 4=HB07-1220
Bill Title 4=Concerning a preference for the purchase of environmentally preferable products by governmental entities
Bill Status 4=Signed by Gov. Ritter
Bill Link 5=
Bill Number 5=HB07-1260
Bill Title 5=Concerning [...] changing the sunset review dates for the state board of nursing and the Colorado state board of chiropractic examiners
Bill Status 5=Signed by Gov. Ritter
Bill Link 6=
Bill Number 6=HB07-1290
Bill Title 6=Concerning the requirement that the Department of Revenue report on the impact of tax policy in a tax incidence study
Bill Status 6=Postponed indefinitely in House committee
Bill Link 7=
Bill Number 7=HB07-1349
Bill Title 7=Concerning child support obligations, and making an appropriation in connection therewith
Bill Status 7=Signed by Gov. Ritter

2004 and 2006 campaigns

Kefalas first ran for the state legislature in 2004, winning the Democratic Party primary by only seven votes over Fort Collins councilman Bill Bertschy after a recount process that lasted for several weeks.cite news |title=Recount assured in Colorado legislative primary |work=Associated Press |date=August 25, 2004 ] Kefalas lost the general election by fewer than 500 votes to incumbent Republican Bob McCluskey in a race that also included Libertarian Party candidate Jassen Bowman. Kefalas ran unchallenged for the Democratic nomination in 2006, and narrowly prevailed over McCluskey in the general election.cite web |url= |title=Election Information |accessdate=2007-03-14 |author=Larimer County, Colorado |format=html |work=Larimer County Virtual Courthouse]

2007 legislative session

In the 2007-2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Kefalas sat on the House Finance Committee and the House Health and Human Services Committee.cite web |url= |title=House Committees of Reference |accessdate=2007-12-11 |format=html |work=Colorado General Assembly]

While in the legislature, he sponsored successful bills to encourage state purchasing of "environmentally preferable" products,cite news |first=Amy |last=Fletcher|title=Enviro purchasing bill gets preliminary OK |url= |work=Denver Business Journal |date=February 26, 2007 |accessdate=2007-03-14 ] to allow Colorado State University to require graduate student health insurance,cite news |first=Jason |last=Kosena |title=Graduate-student health insurance bill moves forward |url= |work=Denver Business Journal |date=February 23, 2007 |accessdate=2007-03-14 ] and to create licensing standards for hemodialysis technicians.

Kefalas proposed a bill to explore alternative voting systems,cite news |first=Kevin |last=Darst |title=New lawmakers make debut in Statehouse session |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=January 3, 2007 |accessdate=2007-03-14
] which was defeated in committee,cite news |first=Seth |last=Anthony |title=Defeated but unbowed |url=
work=Fort Collins Weekly |date=May 1, 2007 |accessdate=2007-07-12
] but which led to the creation of an 11-member multi-partisan task force to study related issues.cite news |first=John |last=Kefalas |coauthors=Rick VanWie and Julie Connor |title=New system would eliminate costly runoff elections |url=
work=Rocky Mountain News |date=May 27, 2007 |accessdate=2007-07-12
] Another of Kefalas' proposed bills, which would have required the Colorado Department of Revenue to regularly report on tax burdens across individual income groups, was also defeated in committee.cite web |url= |title=Accountability Report #3 |accessdate=2007-03-14 |format=html | ]

During his first year in the legislature, Kefalas also founded the bipartisan Common Good Caucus to address poverty issues, and was a member of the Hispanic Caucus and the Diabetes/Obesity Caucus.cite web |url=
title=Accountability Report #8 |accessdate=2007-07-12 |format=html |

2008 legislative session

In the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Kefalas sits on the House Finance Committee and the House Health and Human Services Committee.cite web |url= |title=House Committees of Reference |accessdate=2008-01-19 |format=html |work=Colorado General Assembly]

For the 2008 legislative session, Kefalas worked with other Fort Collins legislators, particularly Rep. Randy Fischer, on bills to increase scrutiny of proposed uranium mining operations.cite news |first=John |last=Kefalas |coauthors=Randy Fischer |title=Legislators acting on residents' concerns |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=September 18, 2007 |accessdate=2007-10-21
] cite news |first=Kevin |last=Duggan |title=Uranium mine faces mounting pressure |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=October 17, 2007 |accessdate=2007-10-21
] While one bill, which would require that groundwater quality be restored following mining operations, passed the state legislaturecite news |first=Rebecca |last=Boyle |title=Uranium Bill Moves Forward Despite Heated Debate |url= |work=Fort Collins Now |date=April 1, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ] cite news |first=Pamela |last=Dickman |title=Uranium mining bill goes to governor |url= |work=Loveland Reporter-Herald |date=May 6, 2007 |accessdate=2008-05-06 ] and was signed into law,cite news |author=Staff Reports |title=Gov. Bill Ritter signs uranium bill |url= |work=Greeley Tribune |date=May 20, 2008 |accessdate=2008-06-13 ] another measure, which would have created stronger public disclosure requirements for mining operations, was killed in committee,cite news |first=Andrew |last=Villegas |title=House Ag committee says no to second uranium bill |url= |work=Greeley Tribune |date=April 3, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ] but later revived in the state senate.cite news |first=Rebecca |last=Boyle |title=Inside Politics: Time is Running Out for State Lawmakers |url= |work=Fort Collins Now |date=May 2, 2008 |accessdate=2008-05-02 ]

With Sen. Ron Tupa, Kefalas was the house sponsor of legislation designed to reduce the cost of college textbooks by requiring textbook publishers to disclose costs and offer textbooks unbundled from additional materials,cite news |first=Brittany |last=Anas |title=Tupa backs curbing costs for books |url=
work=Boulder Daily Camera |date=November 18, 2007 |accessdate=2007-11-18
] and he sponsored legislation to allow outpatient surgery centers to establish peer review committees;cite press release | title=Bill Improves Quality of Care and Patient Safety | publisher=Colorado House Democrats | date=January 25, 2008 | url= | accessdate=2008-02-23 ] both bills were signed into law by Gov. Ritter.cite news |first=Rebecca |last=Boyle |title=Inside Politics: Lawmakers Take on Boating, Booze and Obesity |url= |work=Fort Collins Now |date=April 4, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-10 ] cite news |first=Brittany |last=Anas |title=Ritter signs textbook bill |url= |work=Boulder Daily Camer |date=April 8, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-10 ]

Kefalas also sponsored a bill to authorize local pilot tests of ranked choice voting methods.cite news |first=John |last=Ingold |title=House bill allows voters to rank candidates on ballot |url= |work=Denver Post |date=March 25, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ] . Kefalas sponsored a bill to establish a Colorado Housing Investment Fund,cite news |first=John |last=Kefalas |title=Expectations high moving into new year |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=January 1, 2008 |accessdate=2007-12-02
] but withdrew the bill when proponents moved forward with a similar ballot initiative. He later expressed frustration when plans for the ballot measure were withdrawn.cite news |first=Naomi |last=Zeveloff |title=Affordable housing activists kill their own statewide initiative |url= |work=Durango Herlad |date=July 2, 2008 |accessdate=2008-08-05 ] Building on his 2007 bill to allow purchasing of "green" products, Kefalas also sponsored a measure to require Colorado governments to consider products' expected life and cost of ownership in making purchasing decisions,cite press release | title=Lawmaker Expands “Green” Buying Program | publisher=Colorado House Democrats | date=February 18, 2008 | url= | accessdate=2008-02-23 ] which was signed into law.cite press release |title=New Laws To Benefit Businesses and Consumers - Aug. 5 |date=July 31, 2008 |publisher=Colorado House Democrats |url= |accessdate=2008-08-09 ]

Among Kefalas' top priorities is restoring and expanding Colorado's earned income tax credit,cite news |first=Elizabeth |last=Aguilera |title=Working poor seek tax credit from state |url=
work=Rocky Mountain News |date=April 13, 2007 |accessdate=2007-07-12
] a move which met with resistance from legislative leaders in 2007 due to budget constraints.cite news |first=Jason |last=Kosena |title=Kefalas seeks to reinstate tax credit |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=June 14, 2007 |accessdate=2007-07-12
] Kefalas introduced a bill in the 2008 session to restore Colorado's EITC at ten percent of the federal credit,cite news |first=Brian |last=Park |title=Carbon Conqueror |url=
work=Rocky Mountain Chronicle |date=December 20, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-20
] cite news |author=Staff Reports |title=Kefalas bill would restore tax credit |url= |work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=March 14, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ] but the bill was defeated in a House committee.cite news |first=Perry |last=Swanson |title=Measure to restore state's Earned Income Tax Credit dies in committee |url= |work=Colorado Springs Gazette |date=April 2, 2008 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ]

2008 election

Holding office in a closely contested district, Kefalas is expected to be targeted by Colorado Republicans during his 2008 re-election bid,cite news |first=Jason |last=Kosena |title=Kefalas a Republican target in 2008? |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=June 27, 2007 |accessdate=2007-07-12
] which he formally announced in January 2008.cite news |first=Jason |last=Kosena |title=Kefelas announces re-election bid |url=
work=Fort Collins Coloradoan |date=January 9, 2008 |accessdate=2007-12-09
] Since taking office, Kefalas sought to maintain a dialogue with constituents by leading a series of monthly "community conversations" on topics ranging from health care to mobile home parks.cite web |url=
title=Accountability Report #8 |accessdate=2007-07-12 |format=html |
] cite web |url=
title=HD-52: John Kefalas running for re-election |accessdate=2008-01-09 |format=html |

Former Rep. Bob McCluskey has announced his intention to run against Kefalas, pitting the two against each other for the third time in as many election cycles.cite news |first=Jason |last=Kosena |title=Kefalas, McCluskey to square off again in November |url=
work=Fort Collins COloradoan |date=February 15, 2008 |accessdate=2008-02-15


External links

* [ John Kefalas profile, Colorado General Assembly]
* [ State Rep. John Kefalas]
* [ John Kefalas 2008 campaign]
* [ John Kefalas MySpace page]

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