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Four years ago, I asked the voters of Northwest Colorado to trust me to represent their values in the Colorado General Assembly, values that include sensible development of our natural resources, supporting job growth, limiting the growth of government and protecting personal property rights. I was honored then, as I was two years later, to receive their votes and the confidence of my district to fight for those beliefs.
The past four years have been hard years fiscally for the state. Many hard decisions have been made to balance the financial needs of the state and the limited resources and revenues that were being generated through taxes and fees. In finding this balance, I always have taken the side of the taxpayers of Colorado, knowing that it is your money that we are spending. I never have voted to raise taxes, and I never have voted to raise fees. In fact, I sponsored a bill to repeal parts of Gov. Bill Ritter’s fee increase on vehicle registrations.
I am a fiscal conservative. You may hear during the course of this campaign that I voted against funding K-12 or voted against seniors, but the truth is I voted against this year’s budget because it raised spending over the previous year. This increase in spending is one of the reasons I decided to run for the Senate District 8 seat.
I voted for the House version of the budget. The House version kept spending within the limits of the 2011-12 budget. However, when a revised version returned from the Senate, spending had been raised 7 percent. I voted against members of my own party who thought that just because we had the money, we should spend it. I don’t know many families in Northwest Colorado who received a 7 percent raise, and I think the state should continue to operate frugally until the economy recovers. I am running to provide the leadership we need in the Senate to keep spending under control.
For the economy to recover, we need to support sensible legislation in the Senate that limits burdensome regulations and encourages private industry to invest in Colorado. We need to make Colorado the best state in the country to do business. This year, I was honored to receive the Legislator of the Year award from the Colorado Economic Development Council for my promoting a positive and healthy economy.
A healthy economy will need secure, affordable energy to fuel the recovery. I sponsored legislation that would allow our coal-powered power plants to produce more energy by burning their methane emissions, which helps them to meet clean air requirements and to burn more efficiently. I support developing all of our energy resources in a responsible way that creates jobs and protects our environment. As a rancher, I know how much we all depend upon the land, and in the Senate I will continue to seek a balance between energy development and environmental protection.
In my time at the Legislature, I have learned that it is not enough simply to vote for a Republican to have your values represented; you have to vote for the right person. My record proves that I have not compromised my values — our values — and I have always voted with my district in mind.
There is a sharp difference between me and my opponent. I consistently have been described as the conservative choice in the race. I am proud of that. There is much more work to be done to strengthen the state, keep our spending under control and promote job creation. I once again ask for your vote and your support.
Randy Baumgardner lives in Cowdrey in Grand County and is the Republican candidate for Senate District 8, which includes Routt County. He is the current state representative for House District 57. Learn more at www.randybaumgardner.com.