Believe it or not, election day is in less than two months. One of the decisions Jefferson County voters will have to make this upcoming election season is who will hold the House District 22 seat …
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Believe it or not, election day is in less than two months.
One of the decisions Jefferson County voters will have to make this upcoming election season is who will hold the House District 22 seat — a district that includes parts of south Jefferson County, Lakewood and Ken Caryl. South Jefferson County Republican Colin Larson currently represents District 22 in the Colorado House of Representatives and will face off against Democrat Mary Parker and Libertarian candidate Margot Herzl.
Larson, who beat out Republican Justin Everett in the June 30 primary election, has served in the Colorado House of Representatives since 2019. He is the owner of the Altas Coffees coffee shop and has served on numerous boards and organizations like the West Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson County Community Development Advisory Board. Larson is pro-life and says he opposes Obamacare and socialized medicine.
Parker previously ran for the House District 22 seat in 2016 and lost to Everett 60.46% to 39.54%. She has worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for neglected and abused children in Jefferson County over the past 13 years and has taught parenting classes to parents trying to regain custody of their children, according to her website. Parker is a member of Gifford’s Colorado Gun Owners for Safety and supports laws that keep guns out of the possession of dangerous people and children. She also owns HR Solutions, which provides audit support, compensation solutions and more.
Herzl lives in unincorporated Jefferson County and has four children who she homeschools. She has served on the board of the Jefferson County Libertarian Party as secretary and vice chair since 2019. Herzl has worked 12 years as a private music instructor and around 10 years as an administrator in a pediatric dental office. According to her website, Herzl hopes to decrease regulatory burdens on businesses to promote private enterprise.
All three candidates fielded questions from Colorado Community Media about the pandemic, issues facing District 22 and more. Here is what they had to say.
How has the state has responded to the pandemic? What would have you done differently?
There are many areas where the state legislature failed the people of Colorado with regards to the COVID-19 response. The two most glaring were the failure to direct funding to school districts to plan for and implement full-time in-person learning for K-12 students who wanted it this school year and the slew of anti-business legislation passed on a purely partisan basis over the summer that will severely weaken our economic recovery and cause further job loss.
What do you think is going to be the most important thing to do to help out local businesses survive through these times?
The most important thing the legislature could do is repeal the tax increases and mandates we placed on businesses earlier this year and pass additional legislation that would allow for more flexibility for businesses and individuals to adapt to the new restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
What do you see as the biggest issue facing your district right now? What can you, as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, do to address that issue?
COVID-19 restrictions have created a slew of issues dampening the economy and endangering our children’s educational opportunities. As a member of the general assembly, I have and will continue to push for policies that will help businesses recover and allow families to get their children access to an education that works best for them.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponents?
As the only candidate who has opened and operated a brick and mortar small business in the district, I have unique insight into what it will take for the business community to recover from COVID-19 and restore normalcy. I have a proven track record as an independent voice for the district and I look forward to continuing to serve in that capacity.
In general, I think Gov. Polis has done a pretty good job handling the pandemic. He has kept citizens up-to-date on the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. He has also communicated where testing is available and what steps he is instituting to contain the virus. I’m not sure that I would have done anything different at the state level, but the federal government should have done a much better job of obtaining and distributing ventilators, PPE, and test kits.
The most important thing we need to do to help local businesses is to realize that different business sectors face different challenges and that we must tailor our support accordingly. Retail businesses may be able to get by with online orders while others need loans and other financial support. Some restaurants with outside seating and robust take-out business can get by while others remain closed. Businesses such as movie and live theaters require long-term planning support.
The biggest issue facing my district right now is the successful re-opening of our schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education at all levels. Not only are schools struggling to find the safest way to re-open, but parents are struggling to determine what is best for their children while balancing their work obligations. As a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, I would work to ensure that schools have adequate funding and access to PPE and COVID-19 testing.
The biggest difference between me and my opponents is that I believe that government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, including access to affordable healthcare, quality education, safe neighborhoods and schools, and clean air, water and food.
Libertarianism is based on a few basic ideas:
The pursuit of happiness is best served when each person is free to make their own choices about their lives. The government’s job, therefore, should be limited to protecting individual rights to life, liberty, and property.
The reasons that liberty almost invariably leads to better outcomes than top-down control are:
Human knowledge is diffuse. Each of the 7+ billion people on Earth possesses a unique subset of human knowledge - and most people have at least a bit of knowledge that no one else has. Therefore, we should reject the idea of the “philosopher king,” because no individual, no matter how wise and intelligent, is smarter, more knowledgeable, and more competent than all of mankind. You could roll Socrates, Jesus Christ, and Einstein all into one, and even that man would be an idiot compared with the aggregate of all human knowledge, as brought to fruition by billions of individual free choices worldwide.
The choices that people make are typically motivated by a desire to make their tiny slice of the world better for themselves and the people they care about. Therefore, the aggregate effect of human free choice is good - so long as transparent information is available, and rights are protected.
All this is to say the following:
The right thing to do with regard to the Coronavirus pandemic has always been to facilitate the transfer of information, and leave people free to make their own risk assessments and act in the manner that they believe is best for their particular situation. We should never have had mandatory lockdowns, we should never have had mandatory masking. I believe the government’s proper role in this was to keep the most current information flowing to the public, and to make recommendations to the public based on that information. The only economic intervention that I think might have been appropriate would be to assist businesses with offering extended paid sick-leave to their employees, so that people wouldn’t be tempted to go to work sick. The obvious incoherence of the one-size-fits-all mandates which the government has employed in the face of coronavirus has actually increased public opposition to common sense precautions, and decreased public trust.
We need to reduce government regulations. I am talking about both the recent coronavirus related regulations, and the regulations which already existed prior to the lockdowns. Businesses should be free to take the precautions they think are reasonable, and business patrons should be free to take the risks they believe are acceptable. We should also have a temporary reduction in taxes and fees - I know the State is concerned about making up their budget deficit, but the way to do that in the long-term is to take a financial hit in the short-term. The government will ultimately make up its budget deficits on the back of a strong, fully operational economy - therefore the top concern of the government should be to get out of the way of human initiative and ingenuity, so we can get back to the robust economy we enjoyed prior to COVID lockdowns. If the government attempts to boost its income through higher taxes this year, it could dramatically slow our economic recovery, and ultimately lead to reduced government tax revenues, reduced government services, and increased debt.
Our district has a lot of close-knit communities - whether neighborhoods, churches, schools, or families. Yet our sense of community has been damaged this year, both by the pandemic, and by the caustic atmosphere surrounding political discourse. What we need to do - what I can do - is to return civility to public political discourse. People have gotten into the habit of seeing evil in disagreement, rather than reveling in the truth-seeking enterprise that is political discourse. Disagreement is the hallmark of a healthy, thriving democracy. We should endeavor to see the good in one another, and offer each other the benefit of the doubt. We also MUST give people back the freedom to conduct their interpersonal and community relationships without government intervention.
People keep looking to their politicians for messiahs, and modern politicians seem only too happy to cater to that desire, fancying themselves the saviors of mankind - omnipotent, able to fix all societal problems through the power of government. I do not. I recognize that no matter what or who has put you down, it is you who must stand back up. It is my job as your representative to leave you free to stand.
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