Champion For The Freedom Of Ideas

"Our universities must encourage and nurture diverse viewpoints. My agenda is to promote the freedom of ideas and the freedom to debate all viewpoints. In my second term on the Board of Regents, I’ll continue to be a champion for intellectual and political diversity at the University of Colorado."

S u e   S h a r k e y

A Letter From Sue

“Champion for the Freedom of Ideas”
I have long supported the ideals our nation was founded on, the principles of freedom.  In order to provide a dynamic and rich education, our universities must encourage and nurture diverse viewpoints, and provide an environment for respectful debate.
 The University of Colorado in Boulder is offering an exciting, expanded-educational program titled The Center for Western Civilization Thought, and Policy, formerly called The Center for Western Civilization.  The highly successful Chair for Conservative Thought will be housed within the new Center.  
The Center will provide a forum for free and open discourse, study and research. It will seek to promote a lively and balanced exchange, ranging over both conservative and liberal ideals to maintain the full diversity of political, economic and philosophical perspectives on the CU ­Boulder campus.
My agenda, is a freedom agenda.  Freedom of ideas, the freedom to express ideas, freedom to debate all viewpoints, to have active, rigorous, engaged dialogue.  Isn't that what we as Americans believe in?  I think so, and I’ll continue to be a champion for the freedom of ideas, working to support intellectual and political diversity at The University of Colorado.
Sue Sharkey

Who Is Sue Sharkey?


Sue Sharkey is currently serving her first term on The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents.  She was elected to represent Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in 2010, and she is seeking re-election for a second term.  Sharkey has served in various leadership roles as a Regent.  She was elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Regents in FY 2013, and re-elected FY 2014.  In addition, she currently chairs the Academic Affairs committee.  She chaired and currently serves on the Capital Construction sub-committee, chaired the Awards committee, serves on the Strategic Planning committee, served on the Laws & Policy committee, Inter-Collegiate Athletic committee, and chaired the Social Climate Survey committee.  She also serves as the Regent representative to the CU Foundation Board of Directors.

Sharkey has long been involved in leadership and business in Colorado.  She is the mother of three adult children, two of whom graduated from The University of Colorado, and one from The University of Northern Colorado.  Sharkey’s husband David is also an alumni of CU Boulder.  They are a proud CU family, and look forward to the day their six grandchildren will walk CU’s campus as students.

In 2012 Sharkey was instrumental in getting House Bill 1350 passed, which extends resident student tuition to active duty military personnel and their dependents pursuing their education at CU.  Sharkey initiated this by initiating a Resolution to the Board of Regents with a statement of support, following a request to the legislature to bring forward a Bill to implement this into law.  

Sharkey was also instrumental in bringing forth a Resolution to the Board of Regents that added to the university’s non-discrimination policy a statement that does not allow discrimination based upon an individual’s political philosophy or political affiliation.  This achievement was recognized by The David Horowitz Freedom Center where Sharkey was honored with The Annie Taylor award.

Sharkey has been a resident of the 4th Congressional District for nearly twenty years, and has dedicated her time and energy to public service.  Her past leadership roles include President to the Larimer County Republican Women.  She served on the Larimer County Republican Party’s executive committee, was the Larimer County co-chair for the Women’s Coalition, Larimer County CORE/Placement board.  She served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2004, 2008, and 2012.  Sharkey was also elected by her fellow delegates to serve on the National Republican Party Platform committee.  She was chosen to participate in the Leadership Program of the Rockies, which develops, strengthens and trains emerging leaders.  She has recently been selected to participate in LPR’s newest program “Training the Trainers”.

Raised in a military family, Sharkey has lived both overseas and across the country, but considers Colorado her home.  After her father’s military career he became a small business owner where Sharkey learned the family business and enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside her parents.  When the business was sold, she went on to work at the El Paso County District Attorney’s office. She later embraced the world of marketing and public relations in banking.



Intellectual Diversity – In order to provide a dynamic education, our universities must encourage diverse viewpoints and nurture respectful debate. The Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy provides a forum for free and open discourse, study and research to maintain diversity of political, economic and philosophical perspectives on campus. Sue supports the Center and will be a champion for the freedom of ideas at CU.

Affordability  The cost of earning a college degree at public universities across the country has risen much faster than household incomes, making a university education out of reach for too many students. Students who use loans leave school with crushing debt. Sue understands this is the major obstacle middle class families face when considering higher education for their children; she voted against large tuition increases during her first term, and will continue to vote against them during her second term.

Accessibility – CU is working to expand its online education offerings, a critical move in making higher education available to students who don’t have access to one of CU’s four physical campuses. Sue has advocated for this expansion, and will continue to support this project, making CU more accessible for students across her district and the state.

Efficiency –  Through President Bruce Benson’s leadership, the university has eliminated  millions of dollars in expenses. Administrative staff positions have been reduced, and administrative policies have been cut to 86 from 210. As Regent, Sue will encourage improvements in efficiency, which save money for the university, and in turn keep down the cost of tuition.

Top Tier University – CU has many nationally-recognized programs and the university successfully competes for significant amounts of grant funding because of their top tier research capabilities. CU also benefits from 5 Nobel Laureate scholars, who bring excellence in teaching. Maintaining high standards and a strong reputation for excellence is important to the value of a CU education, particularly among employers.


"I sincerely hope that the voters of Colorado's 4th congressional district will re-elect Sue Sharkey to the Board of Regents.  Sue stands for excellence and integrity in higher education.  All of us who care about those values are grateful to her for the work she has done and we are eager to see that work continue."
Robert P. George
Professor Princeton University and founding Director of The James Madison Program

"Sue has done a terrific job for the Fourth Congressional District since her election in 2010. I am grateful for her leadership and dedication to higher education, and I strongly support her continuing service in a second term."
US Senator Cory Gardner

“Sue has been an advocate for military families and veterans in higher education. Her actions led to the creation and passing of legislation that grants in-state tuition for military dependents at Colorado universities. I look forward to Sue’s continued work as CU Regent in her second term.”
Congressman Mike Coffman
  • U.S. Senator Cory Gardner
  • Senator Bill Armstrong, President Colorado Christian University
  • The Honorable Hank Brown, former U.S. Senator and CU President Emeritus
  • Congressman Ken Buck, 4th Congressional District
  • Congressman Mike Coffman, 6th Congressional District
  • The Honorable Bob Schaffer,former Congressman 4th C.D.
  • The Honorable John Andrews, Director of The Centennial Institute and former State Senator
  • Scott Gessler, former Colorado Secretary of State
  • The Honorable Frank McNulty, Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • The Honorable BJ Nikkel, former State Representative
  • The Honorable Bill Jerke, former State Representative and Weld County Commissioner
  • The Honorable Ted Harvey, former State Senator and State Representative
  • State Senator and former Weld County Sheriff John Cooke
  • State Senator Chris Holbert
  • State Senator Kent Lambert
  • State Senator Kevin Lundberg
  • State Senator Vicki Marble
  • State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg
  • State Representative Jon Becker
  • State Representative Perry Buck
  • State Representative Steve Humphrey
  • State Representative Polly Lawrence
  • State Representative Patrick Neville
  • State Representative Kevin Priola
  • State Representative Kim Ransom
  • State Representative Clarice Navarro-Ratzliff
  • State Representative Lori Saine
  • State Representative Kevin Van Winkle
  • CU Regent John Carson, former Douglas County School Board member
  • CU Regent Glen Gallegos
  • CU Regent Kyle Hybl
  • CU Regent Steve Bosley
  • Regent Emeritus Jim Geddes, Douglas County School Board member
  • Regent Emeritus Norwood Robb
  • Regent Emeritus Tom Lucero
  • Meghann Campos-Silverthorn, Douglas County School Board member
  • Weld County Assessor Chris Woodruff
  • Jon Caldera, President Independence Institute
  • Amy Oliver Cooke, Executive Vice President Independence Institute and former radio talk show host
  • Mark Baisley, former Vice Chair for the Colo GOP, and Chair for the Douglas County GOP
  • David Horowitz, founder of The Freedom Center, and champion for Academic Freedom
  • Professor Robert (Robbie) George, founding Director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Chair for the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom
  • George Leing, Republican National Committeeman

Sue's Track Record

  • Initiated and passed a Resolution to allow in-state tuition for dependents of military personnel, which was ultimately taken up by the state legislature and passed into law.

  • Co-sponsored and Passed a Resolution adding to the university’s non-discrimination policy that states the university cannot discriminate based upon an individual’s political philosophy or affiliation.  This protects both students and faculty.

  • Received recognition and was honored with The Annie Taylor Award from David Horowitz and The Freedom Center for working on and promoting Academic Freedom.

  • Sponsored and passed a Resolution to have an in-depth Social Campus Climate survey to assist in evaluating the level of discrimination at the university, followed with serving as chair for the committee that implemented the survey.

  • Supported and testified to the state legislature on a Bill to provide transparency in higher education.  Although the Bill didn't pass, the university examined and implemented increased transparency and access through its website.

  • Invited for two consecutive years by a leading multi-national management firm to participate in a national dialogue on the topic of funding higher education, as well as on-line learning in higher education, with university leaders from both public and private universities. 

  • Recent tuition increases have made college unaffordable for many families, and have added an unmanageable burden of student debt on too many students. The result is a trillion dollars in student debt, which has become a national dialogue.  CU is ranked 49th in the nation for state funding of the University, but large tuition increases are not the answer.  The University has worked to become a more efficient institution without sacrificing quality.   In the last two years I have voted to support a modest increase, while in previous years I voted against the much higher increases.

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