House District 57 campaign a three-way race | PostIndependent.com

House District 57 campaign a three-way race

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The campaign season for the Nov. 6, 2012, election is here, and the Post Independent wants to make sure readers and voters have plenty of information before casting their vote.

In the next two weeks, we will publish question and answer articles with candidates for U.S. Congress, the state Legislature, University of Colorado Regent, Ninth District Attorney and the Garfield Board of County Commissioners, as well as an informative article about the Garfield Legacy ballot question.

Today we present interviews with the three candidates running to represent state House District 57, Democrat Jo Ann Baxter, Libertarian Dan Enright and Republican Bob Rankin. House District 57 takes in all of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.

An informative article about the retention of Ninth District judges was published on Monday, Sept. 10.

In early October, readers will hear again from candidates when they speak directly to voters in opinion columns. And later in October, the Post Independent Editorial Board will publish its endorsements of candidates and ballot questions.

The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 9.

For an archive of these stories, coverage of campaign forums and other election issues on the local, state and national level, please visit http://www.postindependent.com > News > Elections.

Q. What is your position on the proposal to increase gas rig setbacks to 1,000 feet?

A. On first glance, this idea seems reasonable. However, I do believe the setbacks depend upon the placement of the rigs. In some parts of the 57th District, 1,000 feet may be unreasonable, but in more populated or high use areas it may be a solution. I would like to wait until the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission finishes its recommendations around this issue to give a more definitive answer.

Q. Do you favor or oppose tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants?

A. If the children have attended a Colorado public high school for a minimum of three to five years and graduated from that high school, I would support tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants. Our state benefits with a well-educated populace, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

Q. What is your position on state government recognition of civil unions?

A. I support the concept of civil unions. State government has plenty to do in maintaining our road systems and infrastructure, promoting economic development, regulating industry, supporting education and helping our communities thrive. It should not have legislation held up because of some legislators’ personal views.

Q. Do you favor or oppose A-64 to legalize marijuana, and what argument supports your position?

A. Until the federal laws as they relate to controlled substances are changed, I would oppose any effort on the part of local or state governments to legalize marijuana. My reasoning here is based largely on fiduciary responsibility. Any initiative that might pass would cause the state to use scarce resources to defend the action in court and I believe that would be unconscionable.

Q. What are the top three issues facing the Legislature in the 2013 session?

1. The budget. Because the state constitution requires the state to have a balanced budget, the Legislature is challenged every year to meet that requirement. Without additional resources through better economic conditions that will increase the amount of taxes collected, the cuts to the general fund budget will continue.

2. Taxation. The issue of taxation centers around the constitutional restrictions placed on the Legislature. A solution to this problem continues to elude the leaders of this state, but it is one that is necessary to allow the state of Colorado to progress.

3. Transportation. Because transportation is an essential economic necessity for this district, it is important to improve the roads and bridges, rail, and air access and to support public transportation. Transportation funding does not come from the general fund, but is dependent upon the gas tax and registration fees.

As a legislator, I would work diligently in a bipartisan manner to find common-sense solutions to these issues or others that may present themselves.

Q. What is your position on the proposal to increase gas rig setbacks to 1,000 feet?

A. As in all industries, there should be a common sense and middle ground for determining what is right and what is not. Should a drilling rig be allowed next to a elementary school? Most parents with school-age children would say no. With horizontal drilling techniques, the 1,000-foot setback is a minor setback to a gas company. I favor a 1,000-foot setback for a school or hospital, but would keep the existing setback for residential.

Q. Do you favor or oppose tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants?

A. There is a disconnect with fairness in the immigration issue. For example, the Mexican government does not give equal treatment to undocumented Americans. In fact, there you will end up in jail. It is time for the federal government to do its job.

Q. What is your position on state government recognition of civil unions? 

A. The government has only placed itself in your private life for the purpose of taxation. A contract between two individuals should always be legal. For example, the right to common ownership, guardianship and interest within insurance, property and medical decisions. I favor getting government out of our private lives.

Q. Do you favor or oppose A-64 to legalize marijuana, and what argument supports your position?

A. I am the son of the former deputy director of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and director of the Colorado Parole Board. We discussed and agreed on this issue on many occasions.

Hemp has a history of successful medical and industrial usage for over 2,500 years, and was made illegal as an act of subterfuge by the industrialists of the 1920s and ’30s. This was a matter of financial protectionism. It is time to end this artificial war on the people of the state of Colorado.

 

Q. What are the top three issues facing the Legislature in the 2013 session? 

1. Colorado’s long-term fiscal stability

2. Colorado’s long-term energy policies

3. Colorado highway and transportation policies

Q. What is your position on the proposal to increase gas rig setbacks to 1,000 feet?

A. The 1,000-foot setbacks are appropriate for certain facilities such as churches and schools, but are not universally necessary. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is the proper agency to implement and enforce these rules.

Q. Do you favor or oppose tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants?

A. If by “equity” you mean tuition for undocumented residents equal to that paid by Colorado residents, I oppose it. We need to work on lowering tuition for all students. The only way many worthy students can go to a four-year university is to take on crippling student loans. The new bachelor’s four year program at Colorado Mountain College is a great example and a bargain.

Q. What is your position on state government recognition of civil unions?

A. The state constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Additionally, the Designated Beneficiary Agreements Act of 2009 allows individuals to define their relationship legally and financially. Recognition by the Legislature of a new agreement called civil unions is therefore unnecessary and I would oppose it. Since we have an amendment concerning marriage already on the books, we need a voter amendment to remove it.

Q. Do you favor or oppose A-64 to legalize marijuana, and what argument supports your position?

A. I oppose it. I believe legalizing marijuana while it is still illegal at the federal level is totally unworkable in Colorado. Despite claims to the contrary, the effects of marijuana, especially evolving varieties, are not well understood and are potentially dangerous in the workplace and while driving.

Q. What are the top three issues facing the Legislature in the 2013 session?

A. 1. Jobs and a recovering economy. Access to capital through bank loans, over-regulation, and lack of certainty for taxes, fees and health care are choking new business startups. Startups have fallen below bankruptcies for the first time in history. The Legislature should consider every bill for its impact on job creation.

2. Education reform. Our public school systems have fallen behind the rest of the developed world and are not offering the right opportunities to our next generation.

Over 2 million high-skill jobs are unfilled while unemployment remains high. There is no evidence that money alone will solve the problem. The Legislature should aggressively continue with measurable accountability and reform initiatives next year.

3. Constitutional restrictions on representative government. Past amendments to the Colorado Constitution are a major structural problem in state governance. TABOR needs to be revised but retained as a limit to government growth. Taxpayers should continue to vote on any tax increase. The Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23 should be revoked. A constitutional convention or sweeping overhaul amendment should be sponsored by the Legislature.


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