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  • Engineer, Army officer, systems engineer, corporate executive, non profit and small business chief executive. Six years in the Colorado House of Representatives representing district 57. Two years in the Colorado Senate representing district 8.  Six years and now the senior member of the Joint Budget Committee elected by first the house Republican caucus and then the Senate caucus.  Six years on the board of the Colorado Tourism Office.  

Why do you want this job?

  • Senate District 8 is the most economically and geographically diverse district in Colorado and is one of the largest. From sustaining an agriculture and energy production to being home to world renowned public lands and recreation opportunities, the issues facing SD8 often lead to unique challenges in the state legislative process. 

  • As your state Senator, and having served in the legislature for eight years, I understand these issues. I care deeply about western Colorado and I’m also committed to better government for all Coloradans.

  • As an engineering student, Army officer, systems engineer and corporate CEO, I learned that complex problems don’t have simple solutions. Humans in the age of technology and urban centralization have tended to create more and more complex solutions to problems of governance and then struggle to make them work by adding more complexity.

  • I chose early on in my political life to offer my unique experiences and talents to help tackle the most complex of government’s problems.  I soon found myself working on the state’s 30 billion dollar budget, and focusing on education reforms and health care affordability. Those interests and commitments have had the result of making a supposedly part time legislative job into a full time endeavor.  

Budgeting in tough times 

(Choose one to answer)

> What is one bill you plan to sponsor that won't cost taxpayers anything?

> What new ideas do you bring in a time of budget cuts?

  • Colorado’s revenue forecast took a disastrous turn between January and May of this year. The outlook continues to be uncertain going forward. As Colorado’s economy reels from the Governor’s stay-at-home order, the state budget’s recovery is realizing the effects of orders that severely limited the productivity of businesses and their workers. As we have attempted to look forward, difficult decisions have been made by the Joint Budget Committee and the legislature as we crafted a budget for next year. In fulfilling my role as the senior member of the budget committee I was guided by principles that are shared by the vast majority of Coloradans.

    • Pass a balanced budget without relying on gimmicks or games. 

    • Protect fee-based cash funds for their intended purpose. 

    • Prioritize spending to critical programs and services.

  • Our state Constitution requires the Legislature and the Governor to pass a budget that balances. That is to say, state spending on all programs matches revenues to the state from all sources including taxes, fees, fines, and money from the federal government. In the past, budget writers have passed budgets that spent too much, leaving inadequate reserves for downturns. We must not repeat these same mistakes. The Legislature and the Governor must agree to use responsible revenue estimates and build reserves as we recover and develop the state budget for each of the next several years. Times are tough, and it will take years to recover from this crisis. It would be irresponsible to commit to spend money that we don’t have.

Perennial budget issues

(Choose one to answer)

> How do we pay for education?

> How do we pay for transportation?

  • Most people like or even love their local schools and appreciate their teachers and administrators.  At the same time, the general public understands that the system of education from early childhood to adult retraining taken in its entirety leaves much to be desired.  The tax paying public is not happy with the value proposition of education, and in Colorado the public has resisted tax increase ballot measures dedicated to increased education spending.

  • I believe the educational establishment, including the legislature, should focus on a vision for the future of the education system from birth to retraining. Rather than piecemeal solutions and an obsession with more funding, the establishment should envision a future that provides opportunity and success for all students. The establishment should bring the public along on a visionary path to greatness.

  • Our K12 school finance system is broken and has to be fixed. Our system of local property taxes has evolved into a structure that is unequal and unfair to taxpayers. A part of our property taxes contribute to K12 funding through the state formula, but then added local mil levy tax overrides stay local. That system violates our stated principle of fair and equal opportunities for students. And after collecting state taxes, the funding formula that determines school finance is broken and must be revised.

  • I’m in my third year as the co-chair of the Education Leadership Council, a bipartisan council of education and civic leaders appointed through executive order.  I plan to continue in this quest to advance a vision for the future of our education system and be a spokesman for that vision. I will continue to support equal opportunities for all of Colorado’s citizens.

Issues of the pandemic

(Choose one to answer) 

> Is the state reopening too quickly or too slowly?

> Are health care reforms an immediate priority?

> What are the best steps to rebuilding the economy? 

  • The state of Colorado is in crisis. We’ve reduced spending for the next fiscal year by 25%. Some of the overspending from the past needed to be eliminated. However, we also cut education and vital services for the truly needy and disabled. We know from past recessions that it will take years to recover. We’re operating under an emergency disaster order that allows the governor to issue unlimited executive orders that override established law. The Legislature has used the crisis to pass new taxation with little direct input or testimony from the public in the Capitol, the people’s house.

  • So what can be done? What can I do? What will I promise to do as your senator for another term?

  • I’ll maintain a steady hand and experience that the Joint Budget Committee needs as we recover from the financial crisis. I’ll be the voice of western Colorado on the budget and every bill. I’ve successfully maintained funding for the senior homestead tax exemption and the reinsurance program during the crisis. I’ll insist that rural schools get the extra funding they need.

  • I’ll insist on the recovery of the economy instead of new taxes as we counter the recession. The progressive Legislature is intent on implanting new taxes to recover school funding and support their priorities. Our forecasters have predicted a 25% decline in revenue. Just a 5% faster recovery would produce more revenue than proposed new taxes.

  • I’ll work to reduce the cost and improve the accessibility of health care without growing government control, cost and bureaucracy.

  • I’ll continue as the co-chair of the Education Leadership Council, a bipartisan group of educators and citizens charged with setting a vision for the future of education from early childhood to adult retraining.

  • I’ll support economic development in rural Colorado and the rebuilding of jobs caused by the loss of the fossil fuel industry in our threatened communities.

Working together

(Choose one to answer)

> What is an idea or approach your primary opponent has proposed that you intend to take to the Capitol?

> Name a current or former legislator from the opposing party you admire, and why.

  • Senator Pat Steadman was a member of the Joint Budget Committee when I first joined it six years ago. He helped me understand the process and joined me in sponsoring several bills that changed and improved the budget process. He would actually help me with bills that he would then vote against. 


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