SD 8 campaign a race in seven northwest counties
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.This week and next, we are publishing 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 two of the three candidates running to represent state Senate District 8, Republican Randy Baumgardner and Democrat Emily Tracy. Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis of Craig did not respond to the Post Independent’s request for information and answers.Senate District 8 takes in all of Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand and Summit counties. The seat is currently held by state Sen. Jean White, who lost her re-election bid in a Republican primary challenge by Baumgardner.An article about the retention of Ninth District judges was published on Monday, Sept. 10, and a Q&A package with the three candidates running for state House District 57 was published Thursday, Sept. 12.More Q&A packages will be published next week in the races for Ninth District Attorney, Garfield county commissioner and University of Colorado regents, as well as articles about the proposed Rifle sales tax and the Garfield Legacy open space sales tax.In early October, readers will hear again from candidates and issues campaigns 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. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) deferred action on setback rules several years ago. Since then, various communities have raised concerns, and some have adopted their own local rules. Early this year the COGCC established a Setback Stakeholder Group to look at issues related to well siting, including noise, pollution, health impacts, impacts to surface and mineral rights holders, local land use planning, and others. The Stakeholder Group continues to meet to gather information. I have talked with many voters who have substantial concerns about the potential negative impacts of oil and gas operations too close to residential areas. I would likely support new rules that would increase setbacks from residential areas, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, for example. However, I would first like to see the recommendations from the stakeholder group. Q. Do you favor or oppose tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants? A. I support Colorado’s recent ASSET bill, which would have provided a college tuition rate for undocumented students at roughly the in-state rate without the College Opportunity Fund stipend. Children brought to the U.S. by undocumented relatives should not be punished for the actions of adults in their lives. The ASSET bill proposed a reasonable approach to providing opportunity to young people who do well in school and want to improve themselves through a college education. Their advanced education will help them and their families, and work to improve our state’s communities. I am a longtime advocate for children and families through my child welfare, adoption and court-related work. Q. What is your position on state government recognition of civil unions? A. I support Colorado’s proposed civil unions measure, SB12-002. The bill would have established in law the rights, responsibilities and requirements to enter into a civil union, a legal framework provided for two unrelated persons regardless of gender. The bill would not have conflicted with the current definition of marriage contained in the Colorado Constitution. The law would not have required any religious institution to recognize that union or require any clergy to perform a ceremony. Q. Do you favor or oppose A-64 to legalize marijuana, and what argument supports your position? A. I support Colorado’s current medical marijuana initiative passed by voters in 2000. However I do not have a position regarding this year’s proposed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for general possession and use by those age 21 and over, which is proposed as an amendment to the Colorado Constitution. In general, I believe it is too easy to amend our state constitution, and as a result, we have a very lengthy and at times contradictory document. I am not convinced that regulations regarding the general use of marijuana belong in the state’s constitution. Q. What are the top three issues facing the Legislature in the 2013 session? 1. The severe revenue shortfall for the state budget. As the state’s funding role for K-12 education increases, and with budget demands due to the economic downturn, prioritizing the remaining state needs and ensuring that the Western Slope gets its fair share will be very difficult.2. Preserving Colorado’s long tradition of local control through robust citizen and local government input on important state policy issues.3. Many others could qualify as the third top issue, but continued implementation of health care reform will be one of the key issues.
Q. What is your position on the proposal to increase gas rig setbacks to 1,000 feet? A. I am opposed. With the rules that are already in place with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I feel that adding more rules and regulations to an already struggling economy and industry will further drive more business out of Colorado.Q. Do you favor or oppose tuition equity at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants? A. I believe that education is important to everyone, even to the parents and the children of undocumented immigrants. However, to allow children of undocumented immigrants to have an education at a cost less than a documented American citizen is not something I would support.Q. What is your position on state government recognition of civil unions? A. Marriage is defined as between one man and one woman according to the Colorado Constitution. I will continue to support the Constitution. If the Constitution changes by a vote of the people, I will continue to support the Constitution.Q. Do you favor or oppose A-64 to legalize marijuana, and what argument supports your position? A. A-64 is a ballot issue. It will go to the vote of the people. I will deal with the issue after it either passes or fails.Q. What are the top three issues facing the Legislature in the 2013 session? 1. Water storage2. Jobs and the economy. Getting government out of the way of business so businesses can hire more people to work in the state will help our economy and lower unemployment.3. Responsible energy development, which also means jobs.
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The Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit brought together water policy experts, decision makers and more than 100 students from Roaring Fork Valley middle and high schools to learn about and discuss water issues.