King tops Alward in House District 54
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
The following article was originally published by Grand Junction Free Press on September 18, 2006.
Political season is in full swing. One poll showed Bill Ritter with a significant lead over his Republican gubernatorial opponent Bob Beauprez, but we suspect it will be all downhill for Ritter till November. The question is whether the trend lines will cross. If not, Democrats also hope to retain the legislature and thereby control the entire state government.
For the sake of the Western Slope and independent-minded voters across the state, we sincerely hope that doesn't happen. That's one reason why the state house races are so important. We sent a survey to candidates, and we've received answers for House District 54, in which Republican Steve King opposes Democrat Rich Alward.
We favor King. Most of his answers to the survey tend toward liberty, even though we disagree with him on several important issues. Relative to Alward, and especially given the threat of Democratic domination, we think King is the clear choice.
King described his philosophy to this newspaper as one of "less government, fiscal responsibility, protection of personal freedom and strong family values." He noted, "I have 25 years of law enforcement and investigative experience on the Western Slope."
Alward replied to our survey: "I have the breadth of experience to make the best informed decisions on the critical issues that will come before the legislature," such as natural resources, education, and health care. He adds, " I am an educator, scientist, and small business owner." However, we fail to detect an underlying philosophy in Alward's comments, unless you count seat-of-your-pants pragmatism.
King is solid on property rights. He opposes the use of eminent domain (the forcible taking of private property) for purposes of economic development. He also said he'd "support the repeal of the state-wide smoking ban" in favor of property rights. Alward also opposes eminent domain for economic development, but he sides with the Nanny Statists regarding the smoking ban.
King would support our right to keep and bear arms. He supports concealed carry and opposes new restrictions on gun ownership. We may part ways when it comes to background registration checks for private sales at gun shows. King said that he tends to oppose the repeal of such checks, though he's "open to debating" the matter further. Our position is that such checks are useless in stopping criminals, they impose higher costs and in some cases delays on those who need a gun for self defense, they waste police resources, and they establish registration records of gun owners.
Alward didn't comment about registration checks, but he said he opposes a concealed carry system in which citizens can either carry for noncriminal purposes without a permit or get a permit recognized by other states. And Alward supports legislation restricting the number of firearms that a citizen may purchase in a given time period. We think the government has no more business restricting the number of guns a person can buy than it has restricting the number of books a person can buy. Criminals will only be thwarted by solid investigative police work, not by restricting law-abiding citizens.
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..." King agrees with us that this provision properly bans corporate welfare.
Alward opposes "subsidizing individual corporations and businesses" but supports "some instances of state promotion of a broad industry (e.g., tourism, agriculture)." We think such subsidies violate individual rights over income and result in economic waste.
King opposes Amendment 42, regarding the minimum wage, "especially since it's tied to inflation." Alward also opposes it, but because it's not "an appropriate addition to the Constitution." Alward adds, "However, if elected, I will support increasing the minimum wage through statutes." Yet wage controls violate the rights of both employers and employees to freely negotiate. Minimum wages also throw some among the poor out of work entirely.
Both King and Alward oppose Amendment 44, which would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over. We argue that individuals have the right to control their own bodies. We had to correct King on one point. He referred to Legislative Council's "blue book" language, which unfortunately lies to voters by suggesting that transfers of marijuana to minors age 15 and over would be permissible. It certainly would remain illegal regarding those under age 18. Statute 18-6-701 provides felony penalties for any transfer to minors.
On some matters our views are closer to those of Alward. King is "pro-life," while Alward wants no additional restrictions placed on abortion. King opposes Referendum I, concerning domestic partnerships (of gay couples), while Alward supports it.
Yet we believe that the election of King would advance our rights of property, self-defense, and economic freedom, while the election of Alward could seriously threaten those rights.