Rachel Zenzinger, incumbent candidate for Senate District 19
What makes you the best choice for this office?
The best quality I bring to the state legislature is my ability to collaborate. I have a 100% bipartisan record on all the legislation I passed last session. I make a point of working across the aisle to ensure everyone in our politically diverse district is represented. I am also an effective legislator, passing 47 bipartisan bills last session. And as a member of the Joint Budget Committee, I balanced the state’s budget, even in the midst of a pandemic. Lastly, I am highly accessible to my constituents, regardless of their positions. In sum: Bipartisan, Effective, and Accessible.
If elected, what would your top issue be?
My top issue will reflect the highest priority of our community, whatever that may be. After speaking with thousands of constituents at their doors, the most pressing concern that I’ve heard are the challenges we face as a result of the coronavirus. People are concerned about joblessness, housing, economic security, small business, their children’s education, and their overall health. The impact of this pandemic has left no aspect of our lives untouched. My top issue will be to work on legislation that will meet the needs of this moment and help our community recover from COVID-19.
If elected, what would you want to accomplish in order for you to consider the term a success?
In addition to the items that I have mentioned here, including legislation to help the community recover from COVID-19, I would like to spend the next four years solving some of the huge problems facing our public schools, including the lack of adequate funding and the shortage of teachers. I would also like to help untangle the issues connected to our efforts to fund improvements in transportation. And when I leave the office after another four years, I would feel most satisfied knowing that the environment inside the halls of the Capitol is more generally collaborative because of my presence.
Your view on TABOR reform efforts?
As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, I see both pros and cons. I agree with voter approval to raise taxes. I also favor the prohibition on the budgeting that the Federal government uses in which they go into debt. We can only spend what we have, which is good. Other elements of TABOR don’t work as well. It prohibits us from investing in vital services during financial boons. The biggest problem is the “population + inflation” formula that caps revenues and prevents us from funding critical items such as investment in economic aids or a rainy day fund.
The Red Flag law went into effect this year. Has it been a good law, and would you change anything?
So far, the law is working. According to data in August, 73 cases have been filed allowing a temporary seizure of firearms from people deemed a significant risk. The majority of cases were submitted by law enforcement. Eleven petitions for temporary seizure were denied; and in six instances of temporary seizure, extensions were denied. These denials demonstrate the law is not being abused. In 71 out of the 73 cases, the individuals admitted needing help and surrendered their weapons without objection. The law was challenged in court and its Constitutionality was upheld. I see no need for changes.
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