Election Guide 2012: Chuck McConnell
October 17, 2012
Occupation: Retired chemical engineer
Prior political experience: Chairman, Routt County Republican Central Committee (2011-12); elected small-county representative to the Colorado State Republican Party Executive Committee (2011-12).
Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
Years in Routt/Eagle counties: Nine-plus years in Routt County
Family: Children, Lory, Jennifer and Chris (deceased)
Civic involvement: Senior lunch home delivery (2011); senior citizen Pig Roast Luncheon with Routt County Republicans (2008-12); past president of two Rotary Clubs; past member of advisory boards for Girl Scouts and the Salvation Army; past governor-appointed member of the state of Alaska's Private Industry Council.
Q. Do you think the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and state regulations are sufficient for protecting the health, safety and environment in Routt County? If so, why? If not, what would you do to change current regulations?
A. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and state regulations have produced rules for oil and gas drilling that protect heath, safety and the environment. These rules include some of the toughest hydraulic fracturing disclosure rules in the United States, including publishing all chemicals used in the fracking process. The COGCC has conducted open meetings across the state, some of which I have attended, to consider input from all stakeholders. The COGCC has recently initiated groundwater rule-making to further its mission of prevention of adverse environmental impacts. Colorado's governor has stated his belief that we can create jobs and promote energy security and protect our environment.
Q. Name your top three priorities if elected to the new House District 26 seat and how you would accomplish them.
A. 1) Job creation. In House District 26 we have the opportunity to take advantage of our energy resources — coal, oil and gas — and our forest resources to stimulate responsible job growth, which produces increased tax revenues to local and state government as well as our schools from economic growth. Technology infrastructure, which enables non-location-dependent small businesses, is another avenue for growth. I will work to foster continued development of energy resources and technological infrastructure.
2) Increased economic vitality. Job growth from resource and technology infrastructure development will stimulate our economy and help ensure the success of our existing small businesses. I will work to see that state government is a partner and not an advisory with small business.
3) Rationalize state regulations. Government's job is to create an environment where job creation can flourish while enforcing reasonable regulations without undue bureaucracy that kills the very jobs that make our economy healthy and robust. I will work to ensure we do not place duplicate regulations on businesses, do not require excessive paperwork, and that businesses are not saddled with outdated rules and regulatory delays.
Q. What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
A. I believe the biggest difference between me and my opponent is our occupation experience. My career has been in engineering and business with responsibly and accountability for profit and loss as well as the budgets for large and small businesses. I had to rely on common sense to solve complex business and engineering problems. Given the unacceptable level of unemployment in our district, my background is very well suited to positively impact our jobs and economic vitality as a member of the Colorado House.
Q. What are the three most important issues facing residents of House District 26, and how would you address them?
A. The three most important issues facing our residents are a lack of jobs, a slow economy and those state regulations that discourage job creation. My answer to Question 2 describes how I would address these issues.
Q. How will you vote on Amendment 64, which would legalize marijuana in Colorado for adults 21 and older? Why?
A. The ultimate decision on Amendment 64 will be in the hands of the voters. I have concerns that marijuana sale conflicts with federal law. I also have concerns that there is no consensus on measuring substance levels in the blood and for the potential of adding impaired drivers to our roads. Given those concerns, I do not support Amendment 64.
Q. How will you vote on Amendment 65, which would ask state legislators and Colorado's congressional delegation to push for federal campaign contribution and spending limits? Why?
A. The ultimate decision on Amendment 65 will be in the hands of the voters. Spending in national campaigns is too high, and reforms are appropriate. Amendment 65, however, is not the best way to remedy this situation, especially because it requires an amendment to Colorado's constitution.
Q. Colorado's fiscal woes, compounded by the conflicting nature of TABOR, Amendment 23 and the Gallagher Amendment, continue to have impacts on funding for transportation, education and other agencies. As a lawmaker, what steps would you take to address the fiscal situation?
A. I support TABOR, which placed the decision on tax increases in the hands of the voters. There is nothing stopping local school districts or governments from putting a question to the voters to increase their mill levies, fees or taxes. We are a local-control state on taxing issues and I appreciate that. Ultimately, a strengthened economy is the best solution to our fiscal problems.
Q. Identify an issue in which Routt County is negatively impacted by Front Range politics/interests, and how you would seek to address it at the Capitol.
A. I believe water management presents the greatest potential for conflict between the Front Range, Routt County and all of the Western Slope. I have spoken to other Western Slope House and Senate candidates and am confident we will work together to retain water on the Western Slope for our critical needs in agriculture, recreation and tourism needs.