House District 57 candidates roll out platforms in Craig
Incumbent Republican facing Libertarian, Democratic challengers
Three candidates for Colorado House District 57 were given the chance to speak to about 150 residents Tuesday night during the Craig Daily Press/KRAI candidate forum at Centennial Mall.
Incumbent Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, will likely face two challengers in the November general election — Libertarian Mike Kien and Democrat Steve Ivancie.
Each candidate was given five minutes Tuesday to address the crowd and outline why they should hold the position that represents Moffat, Routt, Grand, Rio Blanco, Jackson and Garfield counties.
Ivancie, a resident and former Steamboat Springs City Council member, spoke first.
He spent the first half of his speech discussing his background and reputation.
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“My reputation is someone who is prepared, listens objectively (and is) open minded, but I am firm in my convictions,” he said. “I seek common goals to resolve conflicts and find solutions.”
If elected to the legislature, Ivancie said he would advocate responsible, accessible and accountable government.
“In a word, smart government,” he said.
Ivancie said he supports responsible energy development and use of natural resources in the area.
“I worked in the coal industry,” he said. “I know what it means. I would not have voted for (Colorado House Bill) 1365.
“I will defend and protect Western Colorado water rights and resources. I will work to keep water rights here in Northwest Colorado, right here where God intended it to be.”
Kien, an Oak Creek resident who ran unsuccessfully for House District 57 in 2006 against current state Sen. Al White, spoke next.
“It is obvious no Democrat or Republican is ever going to stop the relentless growth of government,” he said. “They are the ones that created the mess we are stuck with today.”
Kien said the state and federal governments have forgotten “the real source of our rights” and residents are “suffering because of it.”
“It is our duty as citizens to rein in our out of control government,” he said. “I only want your vote if you are sick and tired of seeing the constitution and the Bill of Rights shredded, or seeing more and more of your liberties stolen from you.”
Libertarians, Kien said, believe the proper role of government is to protect individual rights “as outlined in the Constitution.”
“Both major parties think they know best how to run our lives and spend our money,” he said. “Neither will talk about our rights. Libertarians understand that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of everybody, not just those with the most money or the best connections.”
Baumgardner, who was elected in 2008, spoke last.
He gave an overview of his last two years in the state legislature and his voting record against tax increases.
“I can stand up here and paint you the prettiest picture in the world, but I want you to go online and look at my voting record,” he said. “A dozen tax bills — I didn’t vote for any of them.”
Baumgardner also discussed his voting record relating to the energy industry in his district.
“It is easy to say after the vote that (you) could have voted for or against (it),” he said of HB 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act. “I voted against 1365 to keep the coal industry in business over here. I am for gas and oil, don’t get me wrong … we need it all.”
If re-elected, Baumgardner said he would renew his promise to represent the people of his district and “do the best job — 110 percent.”
“I have always voted to keep your civil liberties, your private property rights,” he said. “I have voted for the people of this district. I have represented you as best I could.”
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Craig Middle School staff will continue to wear masks this week, and two other schools in the district are close to doing the same, according to numbers from the Moffat County School District’s COVID-19 dashboard.