Nancy Cronk knows she's got some lost time to make up for, but she's hoping she can reclaim Spencer Swalm's House District 37 seat for the Democrats.Marlo Alston was the original name in play for the Democrats, but she dropped out due to a family emergency.“Everybody kind of looked at me and said, `We need somebody with a wide network who can throw their hat in today,' and then they just stared at me,” she said to explain her sudden appearance on the ballot.Cronk will face off against local businessman and Republican nominee Jack Tate, also a Centennial resident, in the Nov. 4 general election. The winner will replace the term-limited Swalm and represent the district that is primarily made up of east Centennial.She's been active with the party and in the community for years, serving as precinct chair and volunteering in her kids' schools in the Cherry Creek School District. She's currently serving her second term on the elected board of the Cunningham Fire District.She and her husband, Dr. Saul Greenhut, have lived in their Centennial home near Smoky Hill Road and Orchard Avenue for 20 years, and their kids are all now in college.“It's my community, it's my home, and think I can make good decisions based on knowing what families here want,” she said.Her first priority is safety, she said, especially in light of her home's proximity to several recent south-metro tragedies, including the shootings at Arapahoe High School and the Aurora theater.“You can't even talk about excellent schools and how much our jobs are paying if our houses are burning down,” she said. “Floods, wildfires, shootings — these things take money, and these things have to be funded first.”Next up are supporting teachers and funding for education.“We have to bring teachers to the table, and we have to listen to them,” she said. “They are the experts in education, and I'm personally offended when somebody who is not an educator tries to run the school system.”She also wants to focus on small business.“We need a level playing field to compete with larger business,” she said. “We need to encourage nontraditional business owners, like women and minorities, to set up shop in Arapahoe County.”Her social views generally concur with traditional Democratic values, but with a slightly nontraditional twist. Raised a Christian, she converted to Judaism as a young adult. Understanding the plight of other couples that couldn't marry in a church or synagogue, she became an ordained interfaith officiant and today performs ceremonies for all sorts of diverse couples, including civil unions for those of the same-sex variety.“I care about compassion and justice and equality,” she said. “I'm not so concerned about a label.”
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