Independents wield same influence as party members | AspenTimes.com

Independents wield same influence as party members

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a letter that was published in The Aspen Times from Jeremy Rubingh (“Hamner for District 61,” Aug. 22, 2012).

Since I did serve one year in the House as an unaffiliated member, I would like to offer some facts. The writer states that as an independent I would “not be able to gain important seats on committees that could be truly meaningful for her district.” All members of the General Assembly are entitled to serve on at least one committee, and as an independent I served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and Appropriations Committee, both of which are important to this district. In addition, all members of the House are entitled to vote on all bills that come to the floor, regardless of affiliation, and all members are entitled to run up to five bills each session.

The writer states that my effectiveness in Denver would be “severely compromised” as an unaffiliated member. The Colorado House has 65 members, and last session the split between the parties was 33-32. It is likely that the margin will continue to be narrow, and my vote will be highly sought-after. My experience in 2010 backs that up – the line was out my door of both parties trying to get me to vote one way or the other.

Voting for a person just because they are in one of the major parties is no guarantee that they will be effective. Take for example the record of the Democrat who currently holds this house seat: In 2011 he ran four house bills as the prime sponsor and none of the four made it out of committee to the House floor. Then in 2012 he ran five house bills and one passed the House. As an independent in 2010, I ran seven house bills as the prime sponsor and four of those passed the House and went to the Senate, and of those four, three were signed by the governor.

The writer states that partisan bickering is limited to Congress and is not happening here in Colorado. Let me offer just one example of how policy and problem solving is taking a back seat to partisanship in Denver: on the second to last day of this year’s legislative session, the speaker of the House recessed the members early because he did not want the members of his party to be on record voting on legislation concerning civil unions. When he did that, over 20 important bills died on the calendar – including one that funded badly needed water projects in our state. The bill that the speaker didn’t want his members to vote on had the support of 70 percent of the citizens in Colorado. My focus as a non-partisan is on my constituents, and this year the voters will have a choice when they cast their ballot.

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And lastly, as a side-note, I am sorry to report that the negative campaigning has already started in this race. An out-of-state entity is doing a poll and providing false information about my record to the voters. Please visit my website or contact me if you would like to get the facts.

Kathleen Curry

Independent candidate for House District 61

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