Aspen Times Editorial: Breaking down the Colorado races
As the country becomes more divided along party lines, the editorial board at The Aspen Times looked at the state races as a way to help close some of the divide.
However, with certain candidates coming out in favor of the acts and policies of the current administration, we struggled to put our support behind those who will not stand up to President Donald Trump and his continued lies, attacks and behavior unbecoming of the Oval Office.
While our picks might be somewhat telegraphed to the left-thinking, we feel the Trump administration and those who continue to back these repeated falsehoods are just as culpable.
There might be little we can do on a state level to enact change in Washington, D.C., but we can turn our focus on the race for Congressional District 3, where incumbent Scott Tipton should be replaced by a candidate more suited to our way of life and thinking in Aspen and the valley. Colorado has a chance to help turn the U.S. House of Representatives into a check and balance for the Trump administration, and we think that is a role we should support.
There are those in state races who align themselves with the Trump philosophies, and we cannot support that kind of thinking on a local level. To note, we met with some but not all of the candidates as they came to the valley to stump.
Jared Polis vs. Walker Stapleton
We see Jared Polis as a candidate who has spent time seeing what is wrong in Washington, D.C., and can bring forward-thinking change to the state based on those experiences. In our meeting with Polis, we found someone who can speak to many of the issues facing Colorado and mountain communities with confidence and a plan. He certainly will put a team around him that will help hear all the voices in our state before making decisions that will affect all of us.
Walker Stapleton’s glowing acceptance of Trump’s endorsement and Stapleton’s questionable ad campaigns are bothersome, to say the least. Do we acknowledge the attack ad on Polis and the police report? Yes. But that is an example of what we see as divisive in politics and a root of the problem. As is the same with his claims about Polis not paying taxes, which fact-checkers around the state found to be false or misleading.
Vote for Polis.
Phil Weiser vs. George Brauchler
This is a race of candidates with backgrounds that show two sides of the law profession and different approaches on how they would run the office.
Phil Weiser is steeped in policy working as a teacher and dean of the University of Colorado Law School, clerk for Supreme Court justices and a role in the Obama administration.
George Brauchler is a letter-of-the- law candidate who has an impressive background as a prosecutor running a large office as the district attorney in the 18th Judicial District and serving the country in the Army National Guard. In our meeting with Brauchler, we discussed how he became well known outside his district for his work and seeking the death penalty for the man who killed 12 people in the Aurora theater shooting.
We respect Brauchler’s past work in and outside of the courtroom, but we think Weiser’s approach is best to take on the administration’s random attacks on the Affordable Care Act and veiled threats of removing DACA for Dreamers, which is something near to the valley.
Vote for Weiser.
Secretary of State
Wayne Williams vs. Jena Griswold
Wayne Williams continues to run a state office that tries to stay clear of politics and ensures that our voting processes are safe and secure. As a Republican, Williams has challenged the president’s voter-fraud claims, and he is not afraid to keep alive the conversation about Russian hacking and how his office is working to fight off attempts to compromise the Colorado election system.
There is no reason to make a change in an office that has become an example for the rest of the country to look at as confident and poised.
Vote for Williams.
Brian Watson vs. Dave Young
In our meeting with Dave Young, we saw a confident candidate with a great background in education and public service. Brian Watson has drawn criticism for his business practices and choices as a real estate agent and his “get rich quick” attitude.
When the role of the state treasurer is to invest state tax money and serve on the board that oversees the state pension plan for government employees, we don’t see Watson’s background as a smart fit.
Young had years of experience as an educator before getting into state politics, and his time on budget-writing committees is in line with the conservative fiscal role we want the treasurer to take.
Vote for Young.
State Senate District 5
Kerry Donovan vs. Olen Lund
Kerry Donovan continues her work on a local level, representing everyone in a very expansive and differing district. Locally, Donovan’s engagement in the Lake Christine Fire this summer was encouraging, and she was in the briefings and a big part of the conversation and asked specific questions of fire officials. She was able to confidently relay any concerns with others in the state government.
We have had interviews and meetings with Donovan through the years and find her to be reliable, smart and informed. Her challenger has a proud Colorado history in Delta County, but we fail to see his effort to reach out to others in his would-be district.
Vote for Donovan.
State House District 6
Julie McCluskie vs. Mike Mason
We feel that Julie McCluskie will do the best job carrying on what Millie Hamner has done in her role as our representative in the House district before being term-limited.
To our point of public health and economy, McCluskie sees the issues of climate change. And her experiences in education as well as working for a former lieutenant governor give her knowledge of working under the dome in Denver.
Mike Mason has a strong knowledge of water issues facing western Colorado, but his denying climate change as an issue in Colorado is counterintuitive to the reason why we need a deep look at water shortages expected in the future.
Vote for McCluskie.
Congressional District 3
Scott Tipton vs. Diane Mitsch Bush
In the large western Colorado district, Diane Mitsch Bush has a long road ahead to beat the incumbent. She has to appeal to independent voters in such a large conservative base on the Western Slope. But if elected, she has the background on the state level to get our voice and views to Washington.
Our biggest disappointment on the federal level is Scott Tipton’s inability to challenge the president’s policies in the West and continued silence when the president sends out false claims. He is our connection to Washington, D.C., and in that he has failed. We were pleased to see Tipton come through the valley this summer and try to take a role in the wildfire near Basalt, but we heard barely a word after his appearance at the one large briefing for state and federal representatives.
Vote for Mitsch Bush.
The Aspen Times editorial board consists of the publisher, editor and members of The Aspen Times staff.
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Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to be a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.