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Colorado’s chapter of the largest law enforcement organization in the country is standing behind the unaffiliated candidate vying for the state’s House District 18 seat.

Stephen Schulz, president of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, announced this week the organization’s endorsement of Maile Foster, one of the five state House and Senate candidates backed by Unite Colorado and Unite America, nonprofits formally known as the Centrist Project.

Foster is facing Democrat Marc Snyder and Republican Mary Elizabeth Fabian, who was selected last month by El Paso County GOP officials after the original nominee dropped out, citing health problems. The winner in November’s election will replace Colorado Springs Democrat Pete Lee, who is running for an open state Senate seat.

Representatives of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police endorse all shades of political candidates, said Executive Director Mike Violette.

Interviewing Foster, officials found she aligned with them on issues such as officer wellness, post-traumatic stress disorder, police suicide, police labor, sentencing guidelines and more, Violette said.

Her position is close to the political center, which also aligns with the organization, he said.

“Public safety is a top priority for my campaign and for Colorado Springs,” Foster said in a release. “I will work through the partisan gridlock to provide our law enforcement officers with the tools, equipment, and training they need to do their jobs effectively.”

The organization also endorsed independent candidate Adam Matkowsky, who’s running for Colorado’s Senate District 24 seat, Violette said. Matkowsky is not backed by Unite Colorado and Unite America. The organization also endorsed Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler.

But Foster’s endorsement sticks out as unusual, Snyder said.

“I’ve never been contacted by the Fraternal Order of Police,” he said.

Fabian said she has yet to speak with the organization as well.

In his experience with local governments, which includes stints as mayor of Manitou Springs and as an at-large city councilman there, Snyder said organizations typically speak with all the candidates before making an endorsement.

Several large organizations including The Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado back Snyder as well.

But the real support comes from knocking on thousands of residents’ doors each week, Snyder said.

“The trenches are where the elections are really won,” he said.

In addition, the Centrist Project supported incumbent Manitou Springs Mayor Nicole Nicoletta last year, but she still lost to Ken Jaray, Snyder said.

Foster has connections with local community members as well. She is a financial adviser and former president of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs. Mary Lou Makepeace, the first and only woman elected mayor of Colorado Springs, endorsed her in May.

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