Candidates oppose state amendments

AARP hosts commissioner hopefuls at forum Monday

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Tom Gray says voters should elect the candidates they identify with philosophically.

If that's the case, anyone who opposes the proposed amendments to the state constitution will like at least three of Moffat County's four commissioner candidates.

At a candidate's forum sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons on Monday, commissioner candidates Gray, Terry Carwile and Saed Tayyara spoke against four ballot questions that would amend Colorado's constitution. Stan Hathhorn could not attend the forum.

The proposed amendments, which would make suing contractors easier, raise the cigarette tax, divide the state's electoral votes according to the popular vote and mandate green energy production, are inappropriate additions for the constitution, said Carwile, a Democrat running for the District 1 post.

Despite his philosophical opposition, Carwile said many of the amendments appeal to his gut. But these are issues that should be processed through the state Legislature, he said.

"It gives a huge block of voters in the Eastern Slope power to drive policy for the entire state," said Carwile.

Gray, who is running for the District 2 seat as a Republican, cautioned that many amendments are the work of special interest groups. When their proposals aren't approved by the Legislature, they take the amendment route, he said.

It's potentially dangerous to add amendments to the constitution, because it's so difficult to remove an amendment once one has been passed, said Tayyara, a Republican candidate for District 2.

The amendments also limit the Legislature's ability to write laws, Tayyara said. He described how the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which limits the state's revenue growth, has limited the Legislature during budgeting.

AARP member Bob Grubb asked the candidates how they have educated themselves on the issues in Moffat County.

Tayyara said he has been attending commissioner meetings for the past three years. But he insisted that three years ago, he was not planning to run for commissioner. He only decided to run in November, when he said several people encouraged him to do so.

Carwile said he attends city council meetings regularly, but can't make commissioner meetings because he works during the day, when the meetings are held. But he's a member of the Moffat County Planning Commission and Northwest Colorado Stewardship, which he called "pipelines" for information on the county. He also reads commissioner meeting minutes.

Since announcing his candidacy in February, Gray said he's attended 80 percent of the commissioner meetings. He's attended stewardship meetings and others so much that his wife jokes he's constantly at meetings, he said.

Each candidate called for controlled growth with public input that would preserve Moffat County's quality of life.

The election is Nov. 2.

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