Eagle County Republican considers run against White

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Muhammad Ali Hasan, at center with sunglasses and no hat, speaks to residents at the Routt Shootout fundraiser Sept. 15. Hasan might challenge state Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, for the Republican nomination to state Senate District 8 in 2008.

— A Republican primary could be in the works for the state Senate District 8 seat being vacated by term-limited Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs.

Eagle County resident Muhammad Ali Hasan - who has been traveling throughout Northwest Colorado sponsoring fundraisers for local Republican parties, including the Routt Shootout on Sept. 15 - confirmed Thursday he is considering a run for the seat.

State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, Taylor's ally in the state Legislature, announced his candidacy for the seat earlier this month. White, like Taylor, is term-limited in the state House of Representatives.

"I'm being encouraged here in Eagle County and by party leadership to run for something," Hasan said. "It's something I'm still thinking about."

Hasan, who said he expects to make a decision in November or December, said he has been encouraged to run for everything from Eagle County Commissioner to the U.S. Congress. Hasan said he doesn't believe he can add a lot to either of those positions, but thought he might be an asset to Senate District 8.

"I wouldn't run against anyone I think could be a better representative than me," Hasan said. "At this point, I'm not convinced (White) would be the best candidate."

Senate District 8 includes all of Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties, as well as parts of Eagle and Garfield counties.

Hasan stressed that he respects White as a person and his tenure in the state House, but said he has disagreements with White's policy decisions, claiming the representative has put Denver interests ahead of those of the Western Slope.

White said he doesn't think 27-year-old Hasan, who has never served in an elected capacity, is old enough to have developed the judgment and character necessary in an elected representative.

"I feel like he is not ready for the position," White said. "He doesn't have a lot of life experience to bring to the table."

White called allegations that he has put Front Range interests ahead of the Western Slope "hogwash."

"I have been looking out for Western Slope interests since I entered office," White said. "It's a totally fallacious statement and without justification."

Hasan was hesitant to mention specific names of people in the party leadership who are encouraging him to run. He said it was a collection of party officials and people who have served. He said Colorado Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams and former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis are two people who have encouraged him to consider elected office.

Wadhams and McInnis also are two people who White has counted in his corner, among others.

"The truth is, anybody who is in the Republican leadership is pretty much in support of me," White said.

Wadhams described Hasan as an "energetic, bright young man who I think we're going to hear a lot from in the future." Wadhams said he has encouraged Hasan to get involved in the Republican Party, but has not specifically encouraged him to run for Senate District 8, where White "would be a very formidable Republican candidate."

"I regard Rep. White as an outstanding elected official," Wadhams said. "I think Al would start out with a huge advantage if there was a primary situation."

McInnis was traveling and could not be reached Thursday. Susan Smith, a spokeswoman for the former congressman, said McInnis has "encouraged Hasan to consider public service opportunities in the state House and Senate." Smith added that McInnis believes there is a strong selection of candidates for the seat, including White.

Hasan said he was born and raised in Pueblo and that his parents bought a home in Eagle County when he was 10. Hasan's parents are from Central and South Asia and are, like Hasan, devout Muslims.

Hasan said he doesn't believe his ethnicity or religion would hinder him from being elected in District 8.

"I've worked with a lot of people on the Western Slope," Hasan said. "I don't feel they're racist."

Hasan is the owner and CEO of land development company Sangre De Cristo Capital in Avon. He is also an independent filmmaker, and he said he worked as a teacher in the Los Angeles public school system. While in college in California, Hasan said he worked for an environmental scientist. He believes that makes him well suited to address Western Slope issues such as water, oil and natural gas.

"I feel I can speak competently to those issues," Hasan said.

Hasan writes a bi-weekly column for the Vail Daily and is the founder of the political organization Muslims for America, formerly Muslims for Bush.

Should he choose to run, Hasan would face a daunting opponent in White. After first being elected in 2000, White has won the past three campaigns for House District 57. In November 2006, he won a strong victory against Democratic challenger Andy Gold of Tabernash, despite an election that saw widespread victories for Democrats across the country, state and nation.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 7 months ago

Bush said he only answers to a higher power (not the people) and only seeks advice from a higher power (not his Cabinet). Devout anything is usually a bad approach to governance...

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CoJustice 6 years, 7 months ago

After reading this article, the one thing that stands out the most is the statement "devout Muslim", puts you on guard. I have always questioned the intention and serviceability of a devout Muslim in regards of principles protected by the constitution. Stating the devout Muslim makes me wonder you he has allegiance to. Some devout Muslims still don't believe women should work in government offices, and some women to this day refuse to shake hands with a man.

I think the most important question would be personal beliefs in protecting the foundation of the American Constitution, and how can you be a devout Muslim and cooperative statesman?

Doing a soft political survey in an attempt to build an open and unbiased way to measure peoples political outlook? Probably not getting my vote.

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CoJustice 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't believe you can "Pledge Allegiance" to our flag and be an avid Muslim.

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CoJustice 6 years, 7 months ago

Those were good questions! and no, those items do not apply to my thinking in general. I look upon everyone individually, not as a category. After reading some of the articles he's published, I came to cautionary conclusion that his beliefs are a driving force for him, and may take precedence in his decision making process.

My comments were not a religious test, nor racist, they are a principle based on preservation of the foundation that this country was built on.

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sickofitall 6 years, 7 months ago

Theres a lot of opinions as to what this country was built on. Diversity included! Also, that pesky freedom of religion.

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HasanDaddy 6 years, 7 months ago

Hi everyone!

This is Muhammad Ali Hasan

I was excited to read the article - although I remain undecided, I am very happy that press coverage is starting on political seats in the Western Slope because this is the most important area of Colorado, as of now, and it needs the necessary attention

To answer CoJustice's concern -

The Quran instructs all Muslims to honor one's country, obey its rules, work for it, and defend it --- the Quran clearly states that one should leave the country, if one does not believe in supporting it

America is where I was born and raised and it is my home and culture --- I deeply love and honor our country because we not only work hard to guarantee freedom and liberty for our own citizens, we have a deep history of doing it for other nations

I pray for America everyday and I am always thankful that the good Lord allowed me to live here - the people have always been kind to me, as well, and there really is no other country in the world I would rather be a citizen to - which is why I, naturally, have an inerest in doing something to give back to our country

If ever I find myself serving others, in a legislative capacity, I would certainly base my judgements on what is best for America, with my influence as the Constitution and our State Statutes

The Quran, Bible, and Torah are Holy Books in Islam and all three of them guide my morals and actions - my favorite Islamic figures, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and Job, as well as Mother Mary, also have a deep influence on me - certainly, they would affect any actions on my part, but I would never look to do what is best for Islam, but rather, what is best for Colorado and America, based on what constituents say and what my insight feels

As noted above, Jesus Christ, Job, and Mother Mary are major figures in Islam - the Christian and Jewish faiths are two that I love and honor deeply, as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share so much of the same history and traditions - the Quran commands me to read the BIble and Torah regularly and follow its guidance, which I always do

And no one is perfect, as I am still a sinner, but I do my best as a man of faith

Lastly, this is how any devout Muslim should serve in office

I hope that clarifies things --- Steamboat Springs is a beautiful place and I've always had a good time working with everyone there - I hope to bump into many of you soon

May peace and love be upon you all!

Muhammad Ali Hasan

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CoJustice 6 years, 7 months ago

Nice damage control. Thank you being an honorable man and responding.

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HasanDaddy 6 years, 7 months ago

No worries, CoJustice - I respect your opinion and appreciate your kind response

Hopefully, our paths will cross soon

Peace and love to you your family, my brother -

Muhammad Ali Hasan

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dundalk 6 years, 7 months ago

Co Justice: Perhaps some confuse "devout" with "radical". I believe there are plenty of honest, hard working people who are devout to their faiths or spiritual beliefs, whether it be Catholic, Christian, Baptist, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic, etc.

I also believe there are those who are fanatical about their spiritual beliefs, whether it be any of the aforementioned.

One example might be Randall Terry of the pro-life fanatics. He steps beyond the lines of life preservation and jumps right into fanatical.

There are other groups in this country who do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and although I think that the American Flag, and the Pledge itself are pretty terrific, there are some who's belief systems prohibit them from making such a pledge to a flag, and hold steadfast their pledge only to God. I may not agree with them, but this country was founded upon religious freedom principles as well as governmental so if "peaceful" silence is how one keeps their religious convictions intact, I'll take that over hate-filled protests against the Flag everyday and twice on Tuesdays.

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jack legrice 6 years, 7 months ago

I am presently working in the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan. Where there are devout Muslims. What do you have to say about the discusting treatment of women in the Muslim religion, that they still allow slavery, The exsessive corruption yet they pray as if they do nothing wrong. Sorry no vote from me. Also have heard very little comment from the Muslim community about the extreminists.

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id04sp 6 years, 7 months ago

Oneski,

I think Hasan's reply addresses the issues.

Most people don't understand that the slave trade back in the 1600s to 1800s could not have gone on without the black African raiders who helped to enslave their own people for a profit. White men bought slaves, but black men sold them out of Africa.

Ethnic Japanese people fought valiantly for the United States in Europe.

Not all Catholic priests are pedophiles or homosexuals.

Draw any extreme picture of a situation involving personal choice, and you will find that there are many choices.

Frankly, I have more doubts about Al White's purchase of over 200 acres of land from Paul and Tracey Epley for $10.00 while Paul was apparently involved in working for White's election. Why would anybody pay $120,000 for grazing land in 1989 and then deed it over for only $10.00 in 2003? The taxes on the land were minimal. At some point, it would have been quite an investment. Was this, in fact, a campaign contribution of some sort? Is White leasing the land for grazing and then diverting the proceeds to his election spending? What other "valuable consideration" was given back to the Epleys in return for the land, if any, and if so, did they report the transaction and pay income tax on it? These are all reasonable questions for a candidate to answer.

I'd like to see Mr. White's explanation of the details involving this transaction, how it was reported to the IRS, how it was part of his annual financial disclosure, etc. The questions go to Mr. White's own "judgment and character." It may be on the up-and-up, but if so, why hasn't one of the people involved already answered the question on the thread where I first raised the issue?

My first instinct was to distrust Hasan. Now, I'm not so sure. If he is as honest as he appears to be, and will be as responsive to his constitutents in the future, he may be our best choice.

White bought the condo in Hayden despite the fact he owns a much more expensive home and other considerable business interests in Winter Park. Is he doing this only to claim residency in Hayden so he can beat the term limit? If so, why? Is he that public spirited? Does he expect us to believe that he spent $160,000 for a second home just because he loves us and wants to serve us?

The seat Mr. White seeks in the legislature brings power. We all know where power can lead. I think he needs to be very open and above-board about his business dealings during his tenure in the legislature and show us that he has not used his position to increase his personal wealth. In fact, is that too much to ask of both Mr. White and Mr. Hasan?

The internet and public records posted there allow relatively unsophisticated citizens to get the facts for themselves. We don't have to just listen to what the candidates say anymore. We can look and see what they do, too.

Let's see some honestly and openness from the people who want to tax us. It's only fair.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 7 months ago

id Ten dollars is the standard language for conveying property without disclosing the actual sum. duh

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id04sp 6 years, 7 months ago

Well OF COURSE IT IS!

The IRS, however, goes by fair market value when the transfer occurs. Tax must be paid on any gain, period, unless there's a legal way to defer it.

The County Clerk and Recorder does not report such transactions to the IRS.

If the poor guy who caught Barry Bonds' record homerun ball was required to pay tax on the value of the ball before he sold it (and he was, which is why he had to sell it; to get the money to pay the tax on the gain), then a person who buys property way under fair market value has also obtained a reportable gain.

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jack legrice 6 years, 7 months ago

id I want to hear what he has to say. I feel you missed the point. Slavery is still practiced here,using there own people. Still don't trust him. When will the Muslim community in the US come out in force to denouse the radicals. I don't think you will ever see it. From what I read hear about them in the US.France,and UK. They are a demanding bunch of people. If they want to live in these countries you go by their laws. They are not doing this. He says that you are to respect the laws of the country they live in. I can't go out here and demand what they do. If Muslims want these things ,go to a Muslim country. Why is religion always the cause of conflict resulting in death?

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HasanDaddy 6 years, 7 months ago

oneski -

Thank you for your comments --- I think you brought them up intelligently and without hatred - I"m happy to address them

First off - I am completely against slavery and many other practices that happen in the Muslim World

The best answer I can give is that much of the Muslim World is abiding by cultural baggage that was very demeaning to women and others --- the kind of stuff that would make the Prophet Muhammad sick, if he were to see it today, because these are things that are clearly against Islam... sadly, the cultures of these countries are older than Islam and the Mullahs who control many of these countries, usually, have some sort of financial gain by enforcing such laws

There are some Muslim countries where human rights and liberties are greatly increasing (like Malaysia, Indonesia, Senegal, Turkey) --- now, those countries are not perfect either, but certainly, it would be unfair to say that one country's bad practices are representative of how all Muslims feel and think

If I deeply believed in those bad practices, then I'd be considering a run for Parliament in Afghanistan under the Taliban ticket --- not a Western Slope seat under the Republican one

As far as Muslim in America doing more to speak out against terrorism, I deeply encourage you to check out the websites for Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) --- although I don't always agree with both groups, they are the two most major American-Muslim political groups, and on their websites, you'll see many press releases condemning terrorist attacks

Terrorism is clearly AGAINST the guidelines of Islam and should not be practiced or supported by Muslims --- the terrorists of the Muslim World worship a religion of death, in which, they are obsessed with killing themselves and killing others --- this is nothing of the Islam that I know, which is peaceful and inclusive

Lastly --- what have I done, personally, to reject the terrorists???

I started MUSLIMS FOR BUSH in 2004 -

www.MuslimsForBush.com

That group eventually became Muslims For America -

www.MuslimsForAmerica.us

At Muslims For America, we have advised political candidates on issues dealing with Muslims and the Muslim World --- we have also worked with the FBI and CIA in helping them to recruit Muslims that can fight in the War On Terror

For me, the War On Terror isn't just about protecting America --- this is about ridding the world of these evil terrorists, which is good for the entire world, America, and all Muslims --- I am deeply invested in this effort, as such

I hope the above answers your question and feel free to ask anything else

Peace and love to you and your family (and good luck in your work in Pakistan - thank you for representing America abroad)

Muhammad Ali Hasan

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jack legrice 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for your very informative reply. I think this will help get rid of some of the gray areas of the Muslim religion that many of us do not understand. Also for the links. This has been a incredible experience. One I will cherish forever. Shukria.

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HasanDaddy 6 years, 7 months ago

No worries my brother!

May peace and love always be upon you

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