Candidates for state, Congressional office address Craig voters
March 3, 2012
“My job as a federal representative is to be a representative of the people. If my Third Congressional District decides the best way to change our country, create economic development, fix our currency, and get rid of unconstitutional laws is to create a federal ban on abortion — I am not your candidate. Period.”
— Tisha Casida, Independent candidate for the Third Congressional District of Colorado
Congressional candidate Tisha Casida stood her ground Thursday night when pressed by local voters about how she'd vote on controversial social issues.
Casida, an Independent candidate for Colorado's Third Congressional District, spoke to the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots to outline her campaign platform and field questions from more than 40 local residents at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.
A debate was sparked when Craig resident Ken Wergin asked Casida if she would vote in favor of a law banning abortion if that was the position of the majority of constituents in her district.
Casida preceded the discussion by telling the audience she is anti-abortion.
But despite her personal views, Casida also told the audience she believes social issues, such as abortion, are moral questions and the responsibility of resolving those issues should be delegated to people in each individual state, not the federal government.
"My job as a federal representative is to be a representative of the people," Casida said. "If my Third Congressional District decides the best way to change our country, create economic development, fix our currency, and get rid of unconstitutional laws is to create a federal ban on abortion, I am not your candidate. Period."
Casida said she is running for office as a "Constitutionalist" to protect individual rights and civil liberties as defined by the Constitution, not to champion collective rights or interests of the masses.
Wergin told Casida he believed her answer dodged the question and he continued to press the issue.
"I'm asking, as a representative of the people, would you take their vote back to Washington even if you didn't agree with their views?" Wergin said. "Yes or no?"
Casida said issues will arise that she and her constituents will disagree on. She said it's unrealistic to expect to please all 614,000 people in the Congressional district.
She turned to Matt Winey, who was serving as moderator for the question-and-answer session, and told him it was the last time she would address Wergin.
"I have outlined my platform to the detail, which neither one of my competitors have done," Casida said. "I am putting myself out here in front of you to hopefully gain your respect as a person.
"I am trying really hard to answer this question in a manner that pleases you … there is no reason to attack me on any social issues until you look at what your current representative (Scott Tipton) has done."
After her speech and question-and-answer session, the 30-year-old Pueblo native and marketing professional briefly addressed the encounter with Wergin.
"I realize I'm young, but I don't claim to know everything or have all of the answers, and I never will," Casida said. "But, I believe in honesty and telling people how I feel, not what I think they want to hear."
Casida outlined her views on limited government, reduced regulations, state rights, the energy industry's role in economic growth, increased access to public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and individual rights to bear arms.
Winey commented on enthusiasm Casida was able to spark from the local tea party members.
"I think quite a few of you were fired up by this young lady," Winey said. "I would encourage everyone to put your money where your heart is because she needs our help."
Winey then walked over to Casida's information table and dropped a few bills in her donation jar.
Casida was the featured speaker of Thursday's meeting, but she wasn't the only candidate invited to address the Bears Ears Patriots.
Ron Roesener, a Republican candidate for Colorado House District 57, opened the meeting by outlining his position on regional issues such as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the BLM's obstruction of the energy industry, water, and environmental protections of species like sage grouse.
Roesener said he is opposed to the federal government's restrictive management of public lands through the BLM.
"Back East there is very little public land, but out here we are the BLM," Roesener said. "Everywhere skiers, campers, and backpackers go is on BLM land. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent is being used for oil and gas and coal.
"It's about we the people. We own that land. It's not the federal government's, it's not Kenny Salazar's and it's certainly not Barack Obama's."
Roesener is a fourth generation Coloradan and comes from a family experienced in public service. His great-grandfather, Richard Morgan, was a former Arapahoe County judge, state legislator, and owner of the Simpson Coal Mine.
"If you take a tour of the state capitol, when you get to the legislature you'll see three bullet holes in the ceiling," Roesener said. "That was my great-grandfather in 1903 and his way of expressing that he was not going to support the unions.
"I have that passion."
Roesener is scheduled to return April 5 to Craig for another Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots meeting. His Republican opponent in the HD57 race, Bill Rankin, is also slated to appear at the meeting.