Rich Alward Reply: The Armstrong Survey for 2006 Colorado Candidates
Please see The Armstrong Survey for 2006 Colorado Candidates for more information about the survey and a complete list of candidates who have replied.
Editor's disclaimer: I am posting the replies of all specified candidates who send them in, "complete and unedited," as stated in the survey. The publication of a candidate's replies here in no way implies support or agreement with that candidate's views by me, Linn Armstrong, the Colorado Freedom Report, or any other party. -- Ari Armstrong
Rich Alward, House District 54, Democrat
I have the breadth of experience to make the best informed decisions on the critical issues that will come before the legislature. I am an educator, scientist, and small business owner. I understand the special challenges of small business owners. I understand the need to protect our natural resources. I understand the importance of quality of life issues here in western Colorado.
The important issues that will immediately confront legislators in 2007 will include natural resources (e.g., energy development and water quality), education, and health care. I bring 20 years of experience in solving natural resource problems. I bring diverse experience within the academic community having worked in staff, faculty, and administration positions at the middle school and college level. I will bring a strong analytical approach to addressing complex problems with our health care system.
In my years in education, my role was to provide opportunity so that others could use their skills to achieve their goals and their successes. Colorado is poised to enjoy prosperity and to provide its residents with an ever increasing quality of life. As a legislator, I will continue to see my role as one to help others to achieve their individual successes, and in this way move all of Colorado to greater prosperity.
Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the use of eminent domain for purposes of economic development and/or generating tax revenues?
OPPOSE - Eminent domain should be used as the very last resort to achieve a clear public good (this does NOT include merely increasing tax revenues).
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation repealing the state- wide smoking ban (except in government buildings)?
OPPOSE - This is a public health issue: it's reasonable to have public health standards for food establishments and a statewide ban levels the playing field for all businesses in the state.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation prohibiting local governments from imposing smoking bans (except in government buildings)?
In Alaska, citizens can carry concealed weapons for noncriminal purposes without a permit, or they can get a permit recognized by other states. Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation creating a concealed weapons system in Colorado like that in Alaska?
I OPPOSE this. Although this may be appropriate in western Colorado, I don't think this is appropriate for all places in Colorado.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation to prohibit private citizens from ever carrying a concealed weapon?
I will SUPPORT the rights of law abiding citizens to own and carry hunting and defensive weapons.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation to allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon only with the permission and at the discretion of a law enforcement agent?
I SUPPORT registration or licensing for concealed carry permits after certain minimal criteria are met (e.g., knowledge and training).
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation to repeal background registration checks for private sales at gun shows?
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation forcing gun owners to lock up their defensive firearms?
I do not support "forcing" gun owners to lock up firearms (see next question).
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation adding legal liability specifically to gun owners who do not lock up their defensive firearms?
I SUPPORT personal responsibility and thus think it is reasonable to hold owners at least partially liable if they could have easily prevented misuse of their firearms.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation restricting the number of firearms that a citizen may purchase in a given time period? If you would sponsor or support such legislation, please specify the restrictions you favor.
SUPPORT. I think we need to bring people together to develop some restrictions or reporting procedures that would signal to law enforcement that criminal activity may be taking place, but that does not burden collectors and other law abiding citizens. For example, we currently have such laws regarding large cash deposits at banks.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation further restricting the types of firearms that a citizen may purchase? If you would sponsor or support such legislation, please list all particular restrictions you would support.
Article XI, Section 2 of Colorado's Constitution states, "Neither the state, nor any county, [etc.]... shall make any donation or grant to, or in aid of... any corporation or company..." However, according to the Economic Development reports available at http://www.state.co.us/ oed/edc/EDC-Reports.cfm, the state has offered corporate welfare to such corporations as Intel, Raytheon, Kodak, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation eliminating all corporate welfare to for-profit corporations?
I OPPOSE subsidizing individual corporations & businesses, but I SUPPORT some instances of state promotion of a broad industry (e.g., tourism, agriculture).
The state has also offered subsidies to such entities as the Limon Golf Course and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Will you SPONSOR, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE legislation eliminating all economic subsidies?
Same answer: I OPPOSE subsidizing particular corporations & businesses, but I SUPPORT some instances of state promotion of a broad industry (e.g., tourism, agriculture).
**Amendments and Referenda**
Please state whether you SUPPORT or OPPOSE each of the following measures:
Amendment 38 - OPPOSE. This would completely hamstring representative government and would allow, for instance, CU students to block any decision of the elected Board of Regents.
Amendment 39 - OPPOSE. This removes local school district control with a rule that may lead to drastic cuts in important programs like running school buses in rural districts.
Amendment 40 - OPPOSE. We need at least one branch of government that endures longer than lobbyists.
Amendment 41 - SUPPORT.
Amendment 42 - OPPOSE. I do not think this is an appropriate addition to the Constitution. However, if elected, I will support increasing the minimum wage through statutes.
Amendment 43 - OPPOSE. I don't think anything will be gained by adding this to the Constitution.
Amendment 44 - OPPOSE.
Referendum E - SUPPORT enthusiastically.
Referendum F - SUPPORT. These are something that should be moved out of the Constitution and into statutes.
Referendum G - SUPPORT.
Referendum H - SUPPORT. This provides for a penalty for businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. However, the government must develop an ID document that is easy for a business to verify.
Referendum I - SUPPORT. The US has a proud history of rectifying the wrongs of discrimination and extending rights to people who have suffered from it.
Referendum J - OPPOSE (see comments for Amend 39).
Referendum K - OPPOSE. I am concerned this will be just for show at taxpayers' expense.
Please describe which additional restrictions, if any, should be placed on abortion.
None. Countries which ban abortion but don't provide easy access to prenatal and neonatal care have higher abortion rates than the US. Countries which allow abortions but provide access to health care for mother and child have lower abortion rates. We should take steps to reduce abortions that include making sure mothers and children have access to quality health care during and after pregnancy.
Do you support more state spending on education? Vouchers? What do you think is the proper role of government in education?
The smartest investment the state can make it to provide a top quality education for all children. I am not satisfied with being mediocre. State government has an obligation to ensure that all students have an opportunity to gain a quality education. Graduates make positive contributions to society and to the economy. I am opposed to defunding our neighborhood public schools in order to fund new programs.
What do you think is the proper role of state government in medicine? Should state policies be different than they are now? If so, how? Do you support a "single payer" health system and/or government-backed "universal" care?
The state should work to bring together all affected parties (doctors, patients, and insurers (private, state, and federal)) to develop comprehensive health care reform that emphasizes the doctor-patient relationship. There are several groups and commissions in Colorado investigating this and I look forward to studying their recommendations as they come out over the coming year.
One of the important property rights issues that will need to be addressed by this legislature is that surrounding the "split-estate" issue. We have two property rights in conflict with each other. Currently, those who have surface property rights, but do not own the mineral sub-surface rights, are not treated as equal to those who own the mineral rights. This legislature must take action to protect the rights of the surface owner and make sure that losses to the surface owner are adequately compensated.
The next legislature must also act to reduce the risks to our most important natural resources during the extraction of energy resources. Water quality and water security can be threatened when energy development is given priority over the health and welfare of local communities. There is a need to understand risk and on-the-ground science to address this in a way that protects communities but still allows us to enjoy the benefits of energy extraction. My work as a biologist takes me into the gas fields of western Colorado and thus I am uniquely qualified to be the leader in addressing these natural resource and property rights issues.