Steamboat Springs In the final scheduled forum of the local election season, Colorado State House District 57 candidates Randy Baumgardner, Steve Ivancie and Mike Kien found something they could agree on: It comes down to dollars.
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, the three men had trouble coming up with an important issue facing their district, which includes Routt County, that doesn’t boil down to dollars and cents.
Asked about the top three areas to focus on to help solve next year’s state budget crisis, Steamboat Springs Democrat Ivancie said education is a top priority.
“Our Legislature has pretty much cut this budget to the bone. The cuts coming are going to be very painful,” he said.
He said he intends to look at almost everything when it comes to what could be cut next. Ivancie compared it to medical triage, saying that government has to make the least painful cuts possible and should consider any revenue-generating measures that could help.
Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican and the incumbent, made clear that the 2011-12 fiscal year budget still is very much up in the air.
“There are going to be cuts, that’s just the bottom line,” he told a packed room of about 100 Rotarians and their guests at The Steamboat Grand. “Where we’re going to save money or where we’re going to put more of the money, I have no idea.”
He said later that the Legislature should start looking at repealing “job-killing” legislation to entice businesses to come to Colorado.
“If we can give them an incentive to get here, we should do that,” he said.
Kien said the solution is simply spending less.
“All of the problems come down to one: spending. We have to cut spending,” he said. Kien, a Libertarian candidate from Oak Creek, said spending has gone up despite pledges to the contrary from Democrats and Republicans alike.
“We’ve spent years with supposedly fiscal responsible Republicans and Democrats. Every year, spending goes up,” he said.
Kien also said he would like to eliminate taxes and regulations on small businesses because entrepreneurs create more jobs than large businesses.
The candidates were asked about their stance on Amendment 62, which would define a person as any human being “from the beginning of biological development.” The amendment widely is considered a first step toward trying to make abortions illegal in Colorado.
Kien answered first and said he agrees with the idea but cannot support the amendment.
“I believe the words, I just don’t feel I have the right as a government representative to force my beliefs on you,” he said.
He passed the microphone to Baumgardner but grabbed it back to clarify, “I’ll be voting no.”
Baumgardner said he agreed with Kien.
“We shouldn’t be telling you how to live your life,” he said. “It’s between you and your maker what you believe or don’t believe.”
Baumgardner did not say how he would vote on the amendment. Later in the day, he declined to clarify the position.
“That’s my vote,” he said. “I haven’t decided how I’m going to vote about it. How I believe personally has nothing to do with how others should vote.”
Ivancie said he is opposed to the amendment because it would “essentially end” women’s right to choose and could limit medical care.
“The term ‘beginning of biological development’ is not a medical or legal term,” he said. “It’s bad science, bad medicine, and very poor and misguided legislation,” he said.
Another topic discussed was immigration laws, and whether the controversial Arizona law is appropriate for Colorado:
■ Baumgardner: “I don’t know if every bit of the Arizona legislation is appropriate for what goes on here in Colorado. However, I do think we need to be looking at illegal immigration.”
■ Kien: “Something has to be done. What’s right in Arizona might not be right with Colorado. We don’t have a border with Mexico.
“I would support Arizona-type legislation here in Colorado. I don’t think it’s necessary it be exactly the same, but we definitely have to do something.”
■ Ivancie: “First of all, it’s a federal issue and a federal responsibility, and I believe the federal government needs to step up and do a better job, and it’s starting to do that.”
“We cannot have 50 patchwork laws when it comes to immigration.”