Colorado and Moffat County Elections Guide 2014 | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado and Moffat County Elections Guide 2014

Janelle O'Dea

Janet Locke, Craig resident of 15 years and lifetime voter, drops her and her husband's ballots in the ballot box at the Moffat County Combined Courts building Friday.

Election Day is Tuesday, and this year’s election cycle has brought heavy competition on many ballot items.

If citizens still need to vote, they can do so inperson at the Moffat County Combined Courts building or via ballots received in the mail. Ballots must be completed, signed and handed in to the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Even if they aren't currently registered, people can still vote. The new system allows for same-day registration and voting.

State races bring contention to Colorado politics

Governor

Although Colorado's U.S. Senate race will grip the nation until results come in Tuesday night, it's the gubernatorial race that interests many Coloradans the most.

Hickenlooper assumed office Jan. 11, 2011. Before becoming governor, he was mayor of Denver for eight years from 2003 to 2011. He is running with current Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia.

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The governor visited Craig in November of last year to discuss the state's economic plan.

According to his website, Hickenlooper has made an effort during his tenure as governor to make Colorado more business-friendly, promote renewable energy, make changes to Colorado's education system and overall make Colorado a healthier state.

He wants to make sure Northwest Coloradans know his gun control laws are only meant to make Colorado a safer state.

“It was never intended to diminish hunters’ rights or people who are using guns for the appropriate reasons,” Hickenlooper said in an interview with the Craig Daily Press.

The high-capacity magazine restrictions are a matter of public safety, he said.

“In every example of someone defending their home, it was never someone needing a high-capacity magazine,” Hickenlooper said.

The governor promises to keep Colorado's energy portfolio "diverse." He brought groups together to find a compromise on fracking regulations and encourages renewable energy development in Colorado. Hickenlooper has also toured Craig Station, and has plenty of praise for it.

“It’s the third or fourth cleanest coal plant in America,” he said. “It’s some of the cleanest coal mined in the U.S.”

The governor also said if the Environmental Protection Agency made an attempt to close Craig Station, he would fight it “pretty hard.”

“I think we’re in much better shape than people have given us credit for,” Hickenlooper said.

Beauprez was elected to the Colorado District 7 Representative seat in 2002 and re-elected again in 2004. He ran for governor in 2006 but lost to Democrat Bill Ritter. His running mate for this election is Jill Repella.

The Republican nominee takes a stance on several issues on his website, including energy and agriculture.

"But too often Governor Hickenlooper forgets that he represents rural Colorado as much as he represents Denver," states Beauprez's website.

In an interview with the Craig Daily Press, Beauprez said he has a ranch “just over the hill” from Craig in Jackson County.

“I can’t forget about it because I’m part of that part of the state,” Beauprez said. “Your water, your natural resources, your way of life and wildlife; those are all quite personal to me. it’s not just that I know about them, they’re a part of who I am.”

He wants to roll back Department of Agriculture regulations that he believes make Colorado farming and ranching tougher.

Beauprez supports an energy policy "where consumers choose which energy resources work best for them, rather than government choosing." He also believes clean air and clean water are vital to Colorado and wants to preserve them with a policy driven by "good science."

He said the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan would be “devastating to Northwest Colorado, and especially to your town of Craig. It’s my understanding that your power plant is one of the cleanest — we should be celebrating that, not penalizing it.”

Secretary of State

The Colorado secretary of state office is responsible for keeping a variety of public records as well as overseeing elections.

Coloradans can choose between Democrat Joe Neguse, Republican Wayne W. Williams, Libertarian Dave Schambach and Amanda Campbell, member of the American Constitution party.

Most Colorado residents interact with the secretary of state at some point throughout the year, but it's usually through a form or employee at the secretary's office.

At least once every two years, citizens vote for the secretary of state office.

Current Secretary of State Scott Gessler is not running for re-election. He began his term Jan. 11, 2011. Gessler was defeated by Bob Beauprez in the Republican primary for governor.

State Treasurer

According to the Colorado Department of Treasury's website, the treasurer is responsible for taxpayer funds:

"The Colorado state treasury is the constitutional custodian of the public’s funds. It is the Treasury’s duty to manage and account for the citizen’s tax dollars from the time they are received until the time they are disbursed. The treasury’s staff is committed to safeguarding and managing the people’s monies with the same diligence and care as they do their own."

Republican incumbent Walker Stapleton recently visited Craig to discuss Colorado's public employee retirement system, education funding and energy industry.

Stapleton was elected in 2010 for his first four-year term as treasurer. During his tenure, he has worked on reforming the office's bond-issuing process as well as refinancing the state's unemployment insurance.

Democrat Betsy Markey and Libertarian David Jurist are running against Stapleton.

Attorney General

Republican incumbent and 37th Attorney General John Suthers is term-limited and cannot run for a third term.

Switching up his political career, Suthers is running for Colorado Springs mayor in 2015 against El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen.

Democrat Don Quick is vying for the attorney general seat and running against Republican candidate Cynthia Coffman and Libertarian candidate David K. Williams.

According to the National Association of Attorneys General's description of the job: "as the chief legal officer of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, the attorneys general serve as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies and also as the 'People’s Lawyer' for all citizens."

The Colorado attorney general serves a four-year term.

Local races bring to watch in Moffat County

U.S. Representative, District 3

Rep. Scott Tipton has served Colorado's District 3 in the U.S. House of Representatives twice, elected first in 2010 and again in 2012.

Democrat Abel J. Tapia, Libertarian Travis Mero and Tisha T. Casida, unaffiliated with any party, are running against Tipton.

District 3 encompasses Pueblo, Grand Junction, Durango and the Western Slope.

Before becoming a U.S. representative, Tipton was in the Colorado House of Representatives representing the 58th District for two years.

During his two years as a state representative and four years in the U.S. House, Tipton has worked on water quality, air quality and child protection through legislation mandating stricter punishments for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA from suspects.

State Representative, District 57

Incumbent Republican Rep. Bob Rankin has spent the past two years representing the Western Slope in Colorado's House of Representatives for District 57 and is running against Libertarian and Craig resident Sacha Mero.

Mero and her husband, Travis, are out to make a change to Colorado's politics. The two identify with the Libertarian party and aim to downsize government while expanding personal liberties.

Rankin visited Craig recently to talk about issues plaguing the Western Slope.

"The most important thing to me for Western Colorado is our relationship to the federal government and the management of public lands," Rankin said during his stop in Craig. He also discussed education funding and Gov. Hickenlooper's oil and gas task force.

During his tenure as legislator, Rankin has served on several committees and boards, including positions with the Joint Budget Committee, Joint Technology Committee and the Colorado Tourism Board.

State Board of Education, District 3

Colorado's State Board of Education "provides general supervision of public schools" and its duties are described in Title 22 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Republican incumbent Marcia Neal currently represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District in the State Board of Education.

She taught for 25 years and was then elected to the Mesa Valley School District 51, where she served for eight years.

Board members serve a six-year term. Neal was sworn in Jan. 13, 2009. On her website, she pledges to protect school choice, keep academic standards high and protect local control. Neal is known to be anti-Common Core.

She is running against Democrat Henry C. Roman. According to Roman's website, he started out as a principal and he has been a superintendent of school districts large and small. Roman supports Common Core.

County Commissioner, District 3

Republican Frank Moe is running unopposed.

County Clerk and Recorder

Republican Lila Herod is running unopposed.

County Treasurer

Republican Linda Peters is running unopposed.

County Assessor

Republican Chuck Cobb is running unopposed.

County Sheriff

Republican KC Hume is running unopposed.

County Surveyor

Republican Peter Epp is running unopposed.

County Coroner

Republican Kirk McKey is running unopposed.

Colorado Supreme Court Justices up for retention

The ballot asks (in two separate questions) "Shall Justice Brain D. Boatright and Monica M. Marquez of the Colorado Supreme Court be retained in office?"

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge

The ballot asks (in two separate questions) "Shall Judge Terry Fox and Judge Alan M. Loeb of the Colorado Court of Appeals be retained in office?"

14th Judicial District Judge

The ballot asks "Shall Judge Shelley A. Hill of the 14th Judicial District be retained in office?"

Moffat County Judge

The ballot asks "Shall Judge Sandra H. Gardner of the Moffat County Court be retained in office?"

State amendments and propositions bring issues to Coloradans

Amendment 67

Personhood USA, the advocacy group for Amendment 67, shares the story of Heather Surovik on its website.

Personhood USA also supports North Dakota's Measure 1, another personhood initiative.

Surovik was driving with her mother in 2012 while eight months pregnant when a drunk driver hit their car. Surovik and her mother sustained injuries while Surovik's 5-year-old son was unharmed. Surovik lost the pregnancy and decided to do something about it.

She filed the "Brady Amendment," or what others know as Amendment 67, named after her unborn son.

If passed, it will be added to the Colorado Constitution. The amendment reads:

"In the interest of the protection of pregnant mothers and their unborn children from criminal offenses and negligent and wrongful acts, the words 'person' and 'child' in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act must include unborn human beings."

More simply, the amendment would redefine one legal term in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. It would change "person" to "unborn human being."

Those that will vote against Amendment 67 are concerned about the language of the amendment opening doors to too many restrictions.

"There are a lot of unintended consequences if it goes through," said Craig resident Shannon Moore.

These unintended consequences could include restrictions on emergency contraception and abortions, including in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.

It could also restrict access to common forms of birth control, like the pill and intrauterine devices, commonly known as IUDs. It's thought that because these methods can prevent an egg from implanting in the uterus or stop ovulation, passage of this amendment could eventually restrict them.

Opponents are also concerned the language is open enough to leave pregnant women vulnerable. Some say this amendment could cause women who suffer miscarriages to be investigated for murder or manslaughter.

While the amendment does not state these unintended consequences, the No on 67 campaign's website states that the language is "misleading" and "far-reaching."

Amendment 68

One amendment on November's ballot could change the Colorado state constitution. It promises additional funding for K-12 education.

But some Coloradans are concerned about Amendment 68. To some, it seems like it should belong in the Rhode Island constitution.

Amendment 68 proposes to allow and tax limited gambling at horse racing tracks in three counties on the Front Range, with tax proceeds going directly to kindergarten through 12th-grade education.

Horse track casinos would have to make a single payment of $25 million to the state treasurer's office for deposit into the K-12 education fund within the first 30 days of operating limited gaming and 34 percent of gambling revenue per year thereafter, according to the full text of the amendment.

The other 66 percent of the revenue, though, could go to Rhode Island. Coloradans for Better Schools Inc., champions the campaign for Amendment 68. According to the political action committee's campaign finance reports on the Colorado Secretary of State website, most of its money is donated by Mile High USA, a subsidiary ofTwin River Casinos. Twin River Casinos is a company located in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Proposition 104

Proposition 104 would "require that local school boards or their representatives negotiate collective bargaining agreements in open meetings."

According to the Colorado Open Records Act, "Any meeting at which a state or local governmental body discusses public business or takes formal action must be open to the public, with certain exceptions."

Such exceptions can include personnel issues, security information or real estate transactions. In these cases, the body may call an executive session.

A collective bargaining agreement is the employment negotiations between employer and employee.

According to the final draft of the proposed statute change:

"Collective bargaining agreements between school boards and school employees address a variety of other terms and conditions such as curriculum, instructional materials and class size."

Proposition 105

Proposition 105 would require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. The new statute would also impose existing food mislabeling penalties in state law to food manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

The statute would prohibit citizens from bringing a lawsuit against food manufacturers, distributors and retailers for improperly labeling food.

It would also require the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop regulations and oversee labeling regulations.

According to Merriam-Webster online, a GMO is "an organism whose genome has been altered in order to favour the expression of desired physiological traits or the output of desired biological products. Genetically modified foods were first approved for human consumption in the United States in 1995."

Referred Measure 1A

The measure asks Moffat County residents if marijuana cultivation facilities should be allowed in the county.

Maybell resident Kris Brannan hopes for enough public support to sway the commissioners.

"We can get $2,600 a pound for marijuana, or we can get 10 cents a pound for hay," Brannn said. "It’s just economically feasible for us to do, and that’s why we’ve been trying to get it going."

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said the measure serves as a public opinion poll more than anything. The commissioners will make a final decision after the election is over.

"I stand by my commitment to go with the will of the people on this," Kinkaid said. "What the outcome will be in the end, I don't know."

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday