Questions to the Senate Disctrict 35 candidates:
- What will be your first specific priority as a state senator, if elected?
- What are examples of the kinds of policy you would sponsor to benefit small business in Southern Colorado?
- What are the steps necessary to enhance, continue, and maintain the sustainability of family farming and ranching in Southern Colorado?
- Colorado is falling behind as a state in education and the school districts in your region have consistently failing schools. What is the path for improving education, and how if elected would you make real lasting change?
- In your opinion what are Southern Colorado’s most critical infrastructure needs?
- Do you support “deferred action for childhood arrivals” and “standard-rate” tuition for eligible Colorado residents? Explain why or why not.
- In light of the tragic shootings at Aurora and Columbine, under what circumstances should citizens be prohibited from carrying guns?
- What are your top three water priorities in Southern Colorado that need to be addressed, if you were elected?
- Do you think that a woman’s right to choose is her inalienable right?
1. My first priority is to ensure that Southern Colorado has a strong, independent Senator who will work to preserve our rural communities, values, traditions and lifestyle.
2. Access to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet will provide small business the opportunity to compete effectively in a global economy. I will support the improvement of our transportation systems so rural areas can more easily move goods to market.
3. Senate District 35 has an agriculture economy. By expanding markets, protecting our water and making it easier for farmers and ranchers to do business, we can continue the agricultural heritage that has sustained so many Southern Colorado families for more than a century.
We must fight to keep every drop of water that is in rural Colorado in rural Colorado! Our state and our nation depend on the success of family farming and ranching, which is one of the largest contributors to our Colorado economy. I will fight to ensure that our future generations will be able to continue farming and ranching and living the traditions of their families.
4. Regardless of what corner of Colorado our children live, they must have access to a world class 21st century education. Funding ratios need to reflect the additional costs of educating children in rural areas. Rural children must be given the same educational opportunities that urban students receive. Our future depends on the education of our next generation — when our children succeed we all succeed.
5. So often, rural communities are not prioritized for infrastructure improvement projects. We must stand in line after the metro areas and hope that our rural roads, bridges, facilities, telecommunications, etc are funded. Although our population isn’t as large as the metro area, our needs are just as important and deserve to be funded. Infrastructure improvements aren’t just physical improvements, they are about public safety, emergency preparedness, education, healthcare, tourism, economy, job growth and every other component of a thriving community.
6. I support comprehensive immigration reform.
The President’s Executive Order is now underway that defers for two years the deportation for those arrived here as children, and who through no fault of their own do not have citizenship. As part of this program, these kids must pursue a path that will make their immigration status legal. I believe that we should give this program time to work and then evaluate its effectiveness.
7. There should be no additional controls on the purchase or ownership of firearms.
8. The most important priority is to honor Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine. The second priority is conservation. We must learn to value this precious resource and use it wisely. My third priority is the continued development of water storage facilities.
9. I believe that the difficult decision to end a pregnancy should be up to a woman, her family and her doctor.
1. I would say the economy. With between 8, 14, 19 percent unemployment, we need to find ways to get people back to work. I’ll tell you right off the bat I am not interested in raising taxes on people who cannot afford them to start with, we need to get people back to work. I think we have some regulations that we need to roll back. For example, there is a lady in the district who opened up a clothing store, and through not only the federal but the state and county, the regulations before she could open the door was 7000 dollars. Today she’s stuck in her store working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week by herself until she accumulates enough capital to hire somebody. So it’s not only federal and state regulations, there is also the county and city. But you need to realize that there are other entities out there that need to be, and I am not saying that I would force them or mandate them to lessen, but I think we get to the point now that the entire government structure is under recovery.
2. What we need to do is lessen the cost of starting a business. I started my first business with a telephone and an idea, and you can’t do that anymore. So by the time you get to the state and local and federal, you need to get a lawyer to find out what you have done. We need to streamline the process.
3. I am a rancher myself. To sustain that we need to is get the youth involved in agriculture. Some of the conglomerate farmers are not interested in handing their farms down to their children, some have no children. So what we have to do is get the youth involved and do it in such a way that we are promoting the farming lifestyle… I am not sure that education itself is directly involved in it… A lot of the farms are handed down to the children, which is great, but as farms and ranches continue to grow, the youth tend to want to move to the city, argucilture shrinks and ownerships shrinks.
4. What we need to is instill a drive into the students. It’s really easy to put the blame on the educators or the education system. But the reality is that it is all of us. It is the students, it’s the parents, and it’s the teachers. I am not sure that there is one thing you can do that I could think of that is specific. You can say test scores. Well test, well at some point it is somewhat misleading to say, because there is so much more to it than just test scores. If you think back to your education, everybody has a favorite teacher, and once you have that favorite teacher, you excel. So, I think that the biggest factor in education is a lack of role models. I think we need to instill pride and they [students] will want to excel. Until we get to that point, I am not sure that there is any one thing. You know we try to fund them and finance them the best we can, but beyond that I am not sure that there is a way to.
5. I am all in favor of having an index for transportation. But I think it needs to be equitable. I think Southern Colorado needs their share. I do not think all of the road building needs to be in Aspen or Vail. Right now Highway 287, which runs north and south out of Springfield, is in good shape. Highway 50 is in decent shape, but Highway 160 from Trinidad to Springfield is in terrible shape. I mean there is not a lot of population out there but we still need the roads for our economy. You have to realize not all of our goods are shipped by rail so therefore our highways are critical; they are directly connected to our education system, our economy, our daily lives.
6. I would like to talk to you about the tuition rate. I was basically opposed to a different rate for tuition. And, what we are talking about is kids who went through our education system and they basically were being charged out of state tuition. Well the thing about it, see I am also a veteran service officer and I know there is an alternative. The problem with the tuition as we know it is that the student who went through the system does not have basic funding avenues for him when he gets to college. He can go through four years of college and get a degree, but still he’s illegal. So since I have worked with the veterans and see that they have that path to citizenship, and also the ability to receive financial aid. So the individual does three or four years [in the military] and when they got out they had what they call their military discharge, then that was their path to citizenship. And they are also helped with their tuition, financially. And in my opinion, that is a far better way to go, not so much for the tax payer, but for that individual. And I am not trying to promote people going into the military, but it is an option we should look at… And what we are looking at is about 500 young graduates, not thousands.
7. Well I have to go back to, I am a veteran service officer, and in the VA system, if you are deemed incompetent you cannot own a firearm or if you are a felon. And those are the only situations [a person should be prohibited from carrying a firearm]. The Aurora shooting was a cowardly act but you have to realize he [the shooter] had contact with a psychiatrist who should have alerted somebody, that should have been enough to thwart any kind of issue. But the guy sat on it, so I do not believe that other than those circumstances you should be not allowed to carry a gun. If we did not, you know the reality is if we did not have a government that is considered tyrannical we would not have this issue. I do not believe that one person’s actions should affect the entire nation.
8. I am supportive of the super-ditch, but as far as priorities, there has been talk of expanding reservoir capacity, which is a great idea, but the thing about it is the extra billions went down to john martin, I was down there and it looks to me like he was 35 to 40 feet down. Exactly what that means, I do not know, I don’t know if it’s half or what but it’s 35 feet down. Pueblo reservoir has lost a lot, too. The estimation now is that they have two years of water supply in Pueblo reservoir. So, if some things don’t, the Arkansas Valley is… So we can have the vision of future storage, but that is decades away
9. To be honest with you, I have been able to think about this and what I believe is I will side with your mother. Inalienable right to me is god given right. Everything we do should have dignity and abortion is a serious issue. But whatever we do should have some pride in it, should have some dignity. I am pro-life. But I don’t see abortion going away. So I urge people to be responsible in their actions that way we would not have this discussion. But I am not going to condemn anyone.
Questions for the Colorado House District 47 Candidates:
1. What will be your first specific priority as a state representative, if elected?
2. What are examples of the kinds of policy you would sponsor to benefit small business in Southern Colorado?
3. What are the steps necessary to enhance, continue, and maintain the sustainability of family farming and ranching in Southern Colorado?
4. Colorado is falling behind as a state in education and the school districts in your region have
consistently failing schools. What is the path for improving education, and how if elected, would
you make real lasting change?
5. In your opinion what are Southern Colorado’s most critical infrastructure needs?
6. Do you support “deferred action for childhood arrivals” and “standard-rate” tuition for eligible Colorado residents? Explain why or why not.
7. In light of the tragic shootings at Aurora and Columbine, under what circumstances should
citizens be prohibited from carrying guns?
8. What are your top three water priorities in Southern Colorado that need to be addressed, if you were elected?
9. Do you think that a woman’s right to choose is her inalienable right?
1. My first priority will be to strengthen our region’s economy. I will work to get our fair share of funding for infrastructure projects and support the pillars of our economy: small businesses, healthcare workers, agriculture, and the renewable energy industry. I will also fight for the HIRE Colorado Plan, which gives Colorado companies the first crack at state contracts. This program will create Southern Colorado jobs while investing in transportation and water infrastructure, putting our tax dollars to work on projects that will benefit our region.
2. As State Representative, I will sponsor legislation to give tax breaks to small businesses that are starting up or trying to expand. This would not only ease the burden on these local companies while they get their feet on the ground, but it would also encourage entrepreneurs to invest in their ideas and get started. Small businesses are the backbone of our region, and these policies will help strengthen our economy and create jobs right here in Southern Colorado.
3. As a rancher myself, I know that the most pressing issue for farmers and ranchers in Southern Colorado right now is water. This summer’s drought really highlighted the importance of improving water storage systems in our region, to ensure that we can sustain our agriculture during dry seasons. We need to fight to protect our water and invest in solutions to manage it more effectively.
4. Colorado is 47th in the nation in terms of funding for education, which shows that we desperately need to rearrange our priorities. We should be investing in our children’s futures by putting funding directly in the classrooms, decreasing class sizes and focusing on early childhood education programs to give kids a strong foundation at a young age. I will fight for our fair share of education funding, so that local schools are receiving the same amount as schools in the Denver metro area and have access to the same technology that our kids will need to succeed in their careers.
5.Southern Colorado needs major infrastructure improvements in the areas of transportation and water. As I discussed in a previous question, we desperately need to improve water storage systems to help sustain our agriculture during dry seasons. Also, an improved transportation system in Southern Colorado will allow local businesses (especially in agriculture) to expand their reach, and will generally stimulate our regional economy. These infrastructure improvements are critical to our region’s success, and I will fight to make them a top priority at the legislature.
6. I believe that all Colorado kids deserve a fair shot at the American Dream. When students work hard to achieve in their studies, they should have the opportunity to pursue higher education and gain the tools to succeed in their chosen career. Immigration is largely a federal issue, but we should be supporting children’s education regardless of their parents’ actions so that Colorado kids can grow up to be successful contributors to our society and economy.
7. I am a fourth generation Colorado rancher, and hunting with my kids is a family tradition. I support our 2nd Amendment rights, and as State Representative I will protect gun ownership as part of our Southern Colorado heritage.
8. First, we should invest in water storage systems in our region to ensure access during droughts. We also need to improve water quality in rural areas; for example, some small towns in Otero County don’t have drinkable tap water. Many of these projects have been backlogged in the legislature, and I will make it a priority to get them funded and in action. Last but not least, I will fight to protect our region’s water and make sure that it doesn’t get sent to Colorado Springs and Denver. Our water should stay here, supporting our agriculture and our way of life.
9. I believe that women deserve the right to make private medical decisions with their doctor, without government getting in the way. I am a supporter of individual rights, including gun ownership and private property rights, and I feel that this is another area where the government should not interfere.
Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff did not respond to PULP’s questions.